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27/10/2021, 28/10/2021

The diplomatic front: 1946-1947

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  • The diplomatic front: 1946-1947

Greek governments were forced to wage a difficult diplomatic struggle in order to ensure the permanent and official incorporation of the Dodecanese islands to the Greek State. The fate of the islands was formally linked to the broader scope of the peace negotiations between the victorious and defeated nations of World War II. However, politically, it depended upon the fragile balance of forces and the interests of the main protagonists of the Cold War era, which was just coming to the fore.

 

From the end of the war until summer 1946, Greece was consistently faced with procrastination and vague promises on the part of the victorious forces regarding the issue of the Dodecanese islands. Α turning point was reached during the Conference of the Foreign Ministers of England, France, USA and USSR on 27 June 1946 in Paris. During the meeting, in a sudden change of stance by the USSR, Vyacheslav Molotov lifted his reservations, according to which the status of the islands was linked to that of the Strait and the former Italian colonies. The road to the union was now open.

 

The news was greeted with enthusiasm and filled with optimism the Greek delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. It was in Paris, on 21 September 1946, that the Union of the Dodecanese with Greece was unanimously approved. Nevertheless, the remaining claims that the Greek State had brought forward during the Conference, regarding Northern Epirus, the Greco-Bulgarian borders and the amount of war reparations, were not satisfied. Some issues remained open with regard to the Dodecanese, such as the exact delimitation of the territory’s borders and the degree of demilitarisation, as well as the fate of the property of the Italian State and settlers.

 

The Peace Treaty was signed in Paris on 10 February 1947, while the Foreign Office announced that the procedure for ceding administration to the Greek authorities would be immediately initiated. Greece ratified the Treaty on 22 October 1947 and officially approved the Union on 9 January 1948, retroactively transferring its entry into force to 28 October 1947, in a symbolic gesture.