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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

378 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

28 April 1941

With reference to my telegram of 22 April (No. 374), the following is a translation of the Greek Government's document summarised in the first paragraph of that message:

While expressing to the British Government and to the gallant Imperial troops their gratitude for the aid extended to Greece in her defence against an unjust aggressor, the Greek Government are obliged to make the following statements:

After having for more than six months conducted a victorious struggle against strong, superior enemy forces, the Greek Army has now reached a state of exhaustion and, moreover, finds itself completely deprived of certain resources, such as munitions, motorised vehicles, and aeroplanes, which are indispensable for the pursuit of the war—resources with which it was, in any case, inadequately supplied from the outbreak of hostilities. These conditions make it impossible for the Greeks to continue the struggle with any chance of success and deprive them of all hope of being able to lend some assistance to their valiant allies. At the same time, in view of the importance of the British [contingents ?], of the aviation at their disposal, and of the extensive front heroically defended by them, the Imperial Forces have an absolute need for the assistance of the Greek Army, without which they could not prolong their own resistance for more than a few days.

In these conditions, while incapable of producing any useful effect, the continuance of the struggle would have no other result than to bring about the collapse of the Greek Army and bloodshed useless to the Allied forces. In consequence the Royal Government is obliged to state that further sacrifice of the British Expeditionary Force would be in vain and that its withdrawal in time seems to be rendered necessary by circumstances and by interests common to the struggle.

The release of this document for publication in connection with the evacuation is being discussed with the Greek Government.1

1 The Greek Government agreed to the publication of the text of this document.