George Blanksten, Irma Edelman, Robert Eisner and Dr. Nicolas Pedritis discuss economist Andreas Papandreou's imprisonment
BROADCAST: Apr. 1, 1967 | DURATION: 00:52:28
Mr. Blanksten, Ms. Edelmen, Mr. Eisner and Dr. Pedritis, all educators, talk about economist and Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou's imprisonment.
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Studs Terkel Who is Andreas Papandreou? Andreas Papandreou, a man who, whose name we've seen in the news lately. It's interesting, you see somebody's name in the news, it may or may not have an effect upon you since human life itself, the world, seems up for grabs in this wild age in which we live. Andreas Papandreou is the son, we know this, of the former Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou. Both are now in prison. And I thought perhaps the value of human life was pretty important. But it becomes doubly important when people know who the man is who might die within a week. And around the microphone are seated colleagues and a former student of Andreas Papandreou, George Blanksten, head of the Political Science Department at Northwestern University, Robert Eisner, the head of the Economics Department at Northwestern University, Professor Irma Adelman, teacher, professor of Economics at Northwestern, formerly a student of Professor Papandreou, and Dr. Nicolas Pedritis, who was a colleague of Andreas Papandreou in the formation of a new university in Athens. Where do we begin? Who is Andreas Papandeou, Mr. Blanksten? Dr.
Dr. George Blanksten I remember Andy Papandreou as the man with whom I drove out to the West Coast when I [striking match] was invited to be a visiting professor at UCLA in Los Angeles in the summer of '19, summer of 1951. We made that trip together, we spent practically the whole summer together. I was at his wedding on the West Coast that summer of '51 and we came back together and we were very close friends ever since. I haven't seen him since his return to Greece I think early in the 1960s, but the Andy Papandreou I knew was a very close and warm friend, a man who enjoyed living and a man who was a wonderful personal friend.
Dr. Robert Eisner Well I probably did not know Andy as well personally as George Blanksten did. He did spend a year at Northwestern shortly before I came and left an interesting mark in the economics department. The economics department was in a state of growth and development, and I think Andy did a good bit as a young professor then to set it on a path which I think has been very helpful and wise professionally. Andy, of course, is an author of a number of books in economics, of articles, he really has an excellent reputation in the profession. He taught at Northwestern, a good number of years at the University of Minnesota, was a very successful chairman of the economics department at the University of California at Berkeley some years ago. And I last saw Andy and his wife Maggie and their children actually in Athens last spring when I was giving some lectures at the Center for Planning and Economic Research in Athens, which Andy was the original founder of.
Dr. Irma Adelman Not really. He came to Berkeley which is where I got my degree and where I taught for a while, just around the time that I had finished all my work for the degree. And I knew him during the first three years that I taught as a young assistant professor at Berkeley and he was department chairman. My memories of him are quite warm. He is a very charming individual, a very complex person as well. He shares many of the Greek qualities and vices. He is, in terms of personality, somewhat of a romantic and an optimist which is a quality which many Greeks share. He is romantic in the sense of not being completely aware or of the constraints upon the kinds of policies that he wants to pursue. He is a romantic in believing at any particular moment of time whatever happens to be the most optimistic possibility. He also shares another Greek quality, namely a fair amount of volatility in terms of character and tends to see things both on a personal level on a rather black and white scale with very rapid changes in between. He's a very warm person and tends to form very intense friendships with various individuals. Mostly these friendships tend to break up because the kinds of expectations that he imposes upon these friends are so hard to maintain within the present pace of
Dr. Irma Adelman His standards are so high that, you know, parties cannot quite live up to it. His contribution to the economics department in Berkeley was extremely good. The primary thing he did is apply his personal magnetism and charm to restoring peace in a very war-torn department and setting it upon a very good professional path.
Studs Terkel That's fantastic. I was just thinking as Dr. Adelman was painting perhaps the picture of an archetypal Greek. I ask Dr. Nicolas Pedritis, you were probably the last one to have seen Andreas Papandreou?
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes. I first met him, Andreas, in Greece in 1962. At the time he was a manager, a general director of the Center of Economic Research in Greece, a foundation which was established by Andreas himelf as an attempt to study the Greek economy and send, and set the foundations of Greek economy on a scientific and democratic basis. And later, I worked with Andreas later after he entered the politics. I worked with Andreas in the planning and establishment of the new universities in Greece which were part of the general educational policy of the Centre Union. This policy was to reform the Greek education, educational system. Andreas' attention was mainly concentrated in the higher education where he had more experience. And I, I worked with him in this planning. I-We had a very hard time in introducing the new ideas. As probably you know, the old Greek universities were based on the old German systems and Andreas tried to introduce the American ideals in higher education. At that time, Andreas was accused by the Communist Press and me, myself and the whole organization committee, we were all accused as being sold out to the Americans. It happened that the majority of the organization committee for the new universities consisted of people educated in United States. And this gave them a reason to accuse us, that we were sold out to the Americans. This is the kind of accusations which the political parties sometimes use, especially in Greece, according to their convenience. Sometimes they accused him as being a leftist and sometimes he will say
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Exactly, exactly, exactly. And exactly because of the fact that Andreas was accused by both extremes, once as being sold to the Americans and as being a communist, this captured the imagination of the young intellectuals and professional people considering Andreas as the figure who, as the person, who was promising to give the reformation of Greece we all wanted. To make Greece a modern European state and take it out of the [semi-failed?] level it was up to that time.
Studs Terkel It seems we're, as four, our four guests talk about a man they know, I say they know this man who, at the moment, perhaps the audience is unaware or prob-obviously aware of a military coup in Greece that seems quite strange indeed. And one of the victims of this coup, this military coup, is Andreas Papandreou who is now, at last we heard in a, under house arrest I take it in a hotel room.
Studs Terkel Yeah, official. That, there is something that Irma Adelman said that hits me very much, it was "he repaired a war-torn department". It's almost as though it were a parable for Greece itself.
Dr. Irma Adelman Yes I would think that his experience with the economics department in Berkeley was very good training for his future activities in Greece. There's something about Andreas which I think is necessary as a background for understanding both the decision to go back to Greece and his subsequent activities there, and this is the nature of his personal life. He was the son of George Papandreou and his first wife.
Dr. Robert Eisner He
Dr. Irma Adelman I'm sorry, yes, the son of George Papandreou and his first wife. They were divorced and his father remarried and his mother educated Andreas mostly in Swiss boarding schools and he saw his father during summers, and so forth. Then during the war period, the World War, he was in the United States as a student and his, in his subsequent return to Greece, one of the things that he certainly had to live down was the fact that "Where were you when we were in the barricades?" and establish his position as a Greek rather than as an American, politically, in terms of his orientation and so on. Part of, I suspect, his personal decision to return to Greece was involved in the fact that he, in a way, had to make his personal mark in the same kind of environment which, in which his father had.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes, yes. Well Karamanlis invited Andreas to go back to Greece and establish the Center of Economic Research and study the economy of the country in the modern scientific ways. And while being in Greece and seeing how the situation was there, seeing the, I should say, corruption of the majority of the political leaders, leaders, his patriotic feelings were challenged to stay there and help in more active ways, the development of the country. It was the time then that we had the general elections in Greece, and his father was the leader of the Centre Union. In the first elections which were held in 1963, the Centre Union did not gain the absolute majority of the votes. It was the majority party but it did not, it could not establish a self-supporting government. So Andre, Papandreou had to choose between establishing a government which should rely partly on the votes of the communists or asking the King to proclaim new elections with the purpose of obtaining an absolute majority. This is an indication that Papandreou never thought to cooperate with the communists. He did not want to rely on communist votes and thus having a kind of influence of the communist to his policies. So after a few months in February 1964 we had new elections and the Centre Union had a landslide win in these elections, and
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes, it is. Yes, we've had at least four parties. And then Papandreou established the Centre Union government which was supported entirely by the Centre Union votes and did not have to rely on communist support.
Dr. George Blanksten I think it's, I think it's important to point out in this connection that I have not seen anybody charge either Andreas or George Papandreou with being a communist. Even their, their, their most extreme enemies, their most bitter opposition have not made this charge against them. I have not seen it made anywhere by any Greek source.
Studs Terkel But of course this, isn't this one of the horrors, one of the madnesses of our day when you bear the banner of anti-something rather than, I take it, being an affirmative man like Andreas is, it must lead to a madness of this sort.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis May I mention another example of how much Papandreou leftist is. It was the time of liberation. It was in 1944 when the Greek, Greece was liberated from the Nazis, and then there was the danger. In Greece we had an organized communist army and the British rushed Papandreou to Greece to fight the communists. And Papandreou fought the communists, he defeated them, and Papandreou saved Athens from the communist takeover.
Dr. George Blanksten Yes.
Studs Terkel You know, you know that, I hate to use a comic story, may be inappropriate, but did you hear that humorous story, there was a demonstration and the police rushed out and they started clubbing the people. The man says they thought they were all communists and the man said "No, I'm an anti-communist". And the cop "I don't care what kind of communist you are, get in that wagon". So in a sense this is a reflection it seems to me, that's a comic story, of a kind of madness once you have a, a, a fear, overwhelming fear of an idea, you see.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis I'll tell you another example. I'm coming from the island of Crete. Crete is considered as the stronghold of the more, of the Democrats. However, Crete has the lowest percentage of communist votes. It is a fact that in the last elections among 20 congressmen elected in Crete, 19 were for Centre Union and one was for the extreme right party and none was given to the communists. And in Crete we never had a guerrilla war as it was in mainland during the communist guerrilla war. And this is another indication of how, of what kind of people are supporting Papandreou.
Dr. Robert Eisner Yes, I was just going to refer to the people attacking him, because I've visited in Athens to give some lectures. I was there for a good number of days last spring. And it was quite clear from the people I spoke to then, including the Papandreous as well as from everything I've read, that there was a rather vicious right-wing group that was opposed to any efforts to reform Greece to get it on a modern path. Apparently they were very much concerned with their own privileges and they had, were working very closely and were essentially a group in the army that a lot of people felt the King was unfortunately working very closely with himself. And I know that the Papandreous were very much concerned that somehow United States officials seemed much more willing to work with the right-wing group, with this army clique, would have nothing to do with the Papandreous, would avoid them, would try to discourage them in every way. And what's now happened is so monstrous it's hard for anybody to look at it with a straight face. I've just been reading the New York Times of this past Sunday which sums up, in it's news of the week section, the, some of the things that this military clique has been standing for. Of course they put anywhere from five or six to eight or nine thousand people in jail, some of them on islands, I gather, in the Aegean. And they've been, they've closed down the newspapers first and now they only appear censored. They came out with rather vague, strange appeals to the heritage of the Greek race emphasizing the word race.
Dr. Robert Eisner They have insisted that everybody must go to church in compulsory fashion. They've banned miniskirts and long hair. And the New York Times ended the article, and this isn't my word, I don't throw the word around loosely, but to many, it looked very much like fascism. I'm afraid that's the sad fact. It's done in the name of anti-communism and in the name of all kinds of other things. But that is always the rallying point. They have arrested, of course, lots of communists and I don't believe in arresting them or throwing them in jail and shooting them either. But they've also arrested all kinds of martyrs. They even arrested, I gather, the manager or owner of the Athens Hilton, quite a wealthy man I believe, on the report that he had contributed some money, contributed some money to a left-wing party.
Dr. Robert Eisner What, is that the name? I'm afraid I don't recognize the Greek names as well as you do. There has been I should say, this may interest you, a tremendous lot of activity by friends of Andreas Papandreou among economists in the profession, that's rather fantastic. We've been on the phone to each other all last week all over the country, and calling each other and checking on to whom we can speak that we know in the State Department or in the Defense Department or anywhere where there would be any kind of contact we can make. And I can tell you that contacts were finally made as far as the President himself who indicated that the United States government was attempting to safeguard the interests of, the physical safety, of the prisoners, the political detainees.
Studs Terkel Well this leads to so many questions. Professor Adelman, you were talking before, I remember other aspects of Andreas Papandreou in your thoughts and reflections. What comes out clear so far here, quite obviously a remarkable man. You see, we're talking about a human life but this is a man who is known to the four people around this table and in that it becomes almost a parable to me of all human life. This is a distinguished scholar and educator seeking to start a new university. Also, I take it fairly close in spirit to the Greek people as against, say, a hierarchy in charge which also may be a reason for his arrest too. Irma Adelman you were talking about the nature of this man, to other aspects, do you recall what you were saying earlier, about Andreas Papandreou? George?
Studs Terkel Well,
Dr. George Blanksten Well I'd like to say something though. I imagine that most people's lives, maybe every man's life, divides into chapters. And I would imagine that this would probably be especially and dramatically true in the case of Andre-, Andy Papandreou, because there was an early Greek chapter to his life.
Dr. Robert Eisner Excuse me, what amuses me is that we Americans speak of him as Andy and our Greek friend speaks of him as Andreas which sort of indicates the two chapters, at least two major chapters in his life.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis And I should say this, usually in Greek, Andreas is the only politician, as far as I know in Greek history, that he is called by his first name which is an indication of familiarity.
Studs Terkel The
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis I should even mention Venizelos. He is one of the great, the greatest political figures in Greek history. But even Venizelo, Venizelos was called by his last name, Venizelos. Andreas is the only one who is called
Dr. George Blanksten John,
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis I remember, I remember during the huge gatherings and demonstrations we had in Greece because of the unconstitutional actions of the King after July 15, 1965 when Andreas appeared to speak to the people, the people was acclaiming Andreas as "Hello, Kennedy of Greece". This, they never called him Khrushchev of Greece or something like that. This is an indication of the, how the people were seeing Andreas.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes, I should say that they consi-the radicality of Andreas consists of a combin-no more than a combination of the New Deal and New Frontier which, in the eyes of the extreme right, was dangerous communism.
Dr. George Blanksten Yes. I wanted to say something about, well let me call them in the last few pages of the American chapter in the life of Andy Papandreou. [striking match] When he was trying to make the decision whether or not to return to Greece, and I don't remember now the exact year that he finally went back, early in the 1960s, but this decision was very, a very difficult one for Andy. He had been happy and successful in this country and there were many reasons why he wanted to stay here. And I had the very definite impression that it was with some reluctance that Andy returned to Greece in the early 60s. As I say, he had his professional life which was succes-a successful one here. Other aspects of his American life were successful. But there were a number of, well I suppose perhaps all big decisions are difficult ones to make. His father, George Papandreou, had for some years been wanting Andy to return to Greece and had exerted various types of influence on him to make this decision. And I think the father in many ways is a very wise man. He knew how to influence decisions. Andy had married an American girl. And I think the father realized that if Andy were to return to Greece, the way, or an important part of the way of bringing this about, would be to persuade Andy's American wife that Greece would be the place she would like to live in. And so as I remember there were one or two occasions in which Andy Papandreou and his wife were invited to Greece on vacations, essentially, and during that time I've always thought largely because of the effectiveness of George Papandreou, Margaret Papandreou, Andy's American born wife, got to like Greece very much and I guess she decided she would like to live there. And I said I've always thought of, well Irma calls it a coalition between the father George Papandreou and Maggie, Andy's wife, that finally, and I don't know all of the components that went into that decision, but I, I had the feeling that it was with some reluctance on Andy's part that he closed the American chapter.
Dr. Robert Eisner I might add that Andy's wife Margaret, or Maggie as many of us call her, is an very attractive, interesting woman. I understand she was a secretary to Hubert Humphrey at one time in, during the political campaigns in Minnesota.
Dr. Robert Eisner Yes.
Dr. George Blanksten Yes.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes.
Dr. Irma Adelman In order to understand some of the resistance to his proposed reforms in the educational system, one should make, take note of the fact that even now in the scientific publications in Greece in economics, the first paragraph and the last paragraph of any scientific paper starts with a eulogy to ancient Greece. And there is a very strong feeling that any kind of reform is questioning the glories of ancient Greece. So it does not surprise me at all that his proposed reforms of the educational system in Greece would meet with tremendous opposition from both academicians, primarily from the established academic community.
Dr. Irma Adelman Yes.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis But he had the tremendous support of the students of all our higher institutions. And nobody doubts that Papandreou, especially in the masses of young scientists, was considered a kind of
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Messiah.
Dr. George Blanksten I remember in April of 1966 right outside of our hotel, the King George Hotel which is in Constitution Square or just off it, there were hundreds of students, perhaps thousands, marching one morning, yelling "Papandreou, Papandreou".
Studs Terkel I take it too, Dr. Pedritis, in view of what Professior Adelmen was saying, even though he's for reforms in new Greece, he still, I suppose, respects heritage as such. I'm sure he doesn't cut off.
Studs Terkel So obviously, in this brief time that my four guests are around the microphone, the portrait of a remarkable man has been painted, a man they know. And the question is now what? This man, the news dispatches tell us that this man is under arrest. And the government indeed seems to be, well government is not the word for it, the coup right now in charge of Greece at this moment, seems quite, to put it mildly, irresponsible. It's a horrible word to use it's, I think Dr. Eisner used a word perhaps closer to the truth, using the New York Times as an example. His life is in danger now. What is the suggestion? You say many economists, including Dr. Galbraith I know are all
Dr. George Blanksten Yes.
Studs Terkel concerned.
Dr. Robert Eisner Yes well almost an amazing number of major economists have intervened personally on behalf of associations all over the country. Really, there have been statements, most thus far have been private, I don't know if I should list all of the names of people, but prominent economists, utterly regardless of political persuasion, I might add, on the right and left in all cases have been
Dr. Robert Eisner Dr. Friedman has been among those sending cables on behalf of members of the American Economic Association. I wonder if it's clear to everybody that while many of us are much concerned just as believers in democracy, and the fate of the democratic institutions of the country with which you were allied and with which we have so much influence, that Andreas Papandreou was so much the pivotal figure. Indeed it's really generally believed that the coup was undertaken essentially to get Andreas Papandreou out of the way. Of course they've arrested maybe eight thousand people, but he was the one they had to get. The big question in Greek politics, as I've read about it and Dr. Pedritis is undoubtedly closer to it, was whether elections could be held just now, elections which the Centre Union Party was widely expected to win. And George Papandreou, Andreas' father, is of course 78 or 79 years old, and the real question was can they get rid of Andy? And they had some charges, very ironically, that he was apparently working with army officers who might stage some kind of a coup, presumably a left-wing coup. So this group has now gone ahead and staged a coup, and our great concern was that they would immediately simply shoot Andy Papandreou before anybody had a chance even to protest. They have been anxious to stage a trial for high treason of Andreas Papandreou, and I understand that, according to the New York Times, the thing that triggered the coup was that the right-wing prime minister, who was still in office before the coup took over, had decided, finally, not to attempt the trial at this time, to postpone it. And that triggered the military officers simply to take over. And this they did, four days after the Prime Minister indicated that he would not at this time arrest Andy Papandreou.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Well I would like to say this, that the recent events prove who was conspiring in the army. Was it the radic-the Centre Union conspiring in the army or the extreme right was conspiring in the army. I would like also to mention the origin of these accusations against Andreas Papandreou. It's well known in Greece, we all know, that these accusations originated from General Grivas. General Grivas is the Commander of the ar-of the Cypriots, of the Cypriot army in Cyprus. And in 1964 there, there was a conflict, a dispute, between Grivas, General Grivas and Makarios who was the political leader and premier of Cyprus. The dispute was because Grivas was struggling to take the control of the Army in Cyprus. At that time, Andreas was handling the Cyprus issue on behalf of the government, and he supported Makarios. And later on, Grivas, General Grivas, struck back by accusing Andreas as being, as conspiring against the throne. And of course this was a good excuse then, from the extreme right, to
Dr. George Blanksten But there were, there were divisions, as you pointed out yourself, within Greece about attitudes and policies toward Makarios, and I'm, I'm trying to understand the implications of Andy's position in this.
Studs Terkel His, from what I understand from what Dr. Pedritis said, that he he heard the causes and he felt, as I take it most Greeks feel, that the right of self-determination, this was Makarios' viewpoint, was the one that was more fair, than say, a military view, that of General Grivas.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes, well the dispute was on the control of the army in Cyprus, which normally belongs to the government elected by the people. But Grivas wanted to have that control, so that to influence the whole
Studs Terkel Because this now puts it up to what now? Here we have the question of the life of a man, a remarkable man, at, at, in jeopardy. It sounds incredible as I say it now, talking to four of his colleagues, you know. The listeners, what do you suggest?
Dr. Robert Eisner Well I guess, I hope many people can be made aware of it and do what they can by way of communicating with the usual story, congressmen, senators, State Department, newspapers. But what in a way is so agonizing to those of us that are involved personally knowing Andreas is, and it's a rather hard thing to say, it must be common knowledge that the Army group that took over, took over with American tanks, with American weapons, they are, I imagine, are entirely American paid. We have a very substantial military mission there. The first reports in the newspapers said that the one thing the colonel in charge was desperately anxious to know, and he kept trying to find out was, was the United States going to cut off military aid. What was the attitude. So it would seem that if the United States wished, it has great opportunites to exert pressure, to see to it that the political prisoners are freed and that the Greek constitution is restored to to to real action. And while I generally hate, don't want the United States to interfere in any other country, in a situation where the coup has been carried on with American weapons, where it's widely believed that it could not possibly have been done if the United States had not acquiesced, it would seem the most reasonable for the United States now to say you don't go any further with our aid and support. And it's hard to believe that wouldn't stop this bunch.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes, that will be, that will collapse the junta. And it will be a very effective step, and I think a great service, to the ideas of democracy, and United States we believe is leading.
Studs Terkel So we would say, it would seem then, letters, letters to the President for that matter too. It would seem letters to the White House, it would seem to me as well as to the senator, the senators.
Dr. Irma Adelman While, while I think that U.S. pressure could be, through the military assistance program, could be very effective in trying to secure the release of the prisoners and in introducing some reforms in the present government, I do not quite see the mechanism by which this would generate a democratic Greece or a fall in the present regime. In order to do that, you must be able to mobilize some opposition in a way which, in which it can make itself felt. And simply the removal of additional support from the military government, in the way of either monetary or legal resources, I don't think will do enough. What is your read on this? As
Dr. George Blanksten I am, well I am disturbed by what seems to be the slowness or reluctance really of the U.S. government to act even along the lines we've been discussing here. There are certain things that are sometimes, I think, used as slogans and that work on American public opinion and even the U.S. government. The new junta which has taken power has, it seems to me, made a number of wild and irresponsible statements, and some of these have been mentioned here. They have proclaimed a number of policies, some of which Professor Eisner has mentioned, that sound very familiar and understandable to us. But there are also two slogans that are used. One is the whole question of Greece's participation in NATO, and this military group knows, in a sense, which buttons to push to get certain reactions out of the United States. And one is that, while we made this coup to abolish mini skirts and long hair and so on, it's also to keep Greece in NATO and it's also to fight off communism, and these are the magic words which I think work in the United States and American public opinion and to, to me, a depressing extent on the government of the United States. And I think there is, because of this, a lot of unnecessary and in many ways shocking and shameful tendencies for the United States to pull back and to go slowly and to pussyfoot with respect to this situation because, as you people here have, have certainly pointed out, if there weren't these things holding the U.S. government back, I think we would be a lot less worried today about whether or not they're going to kill Andy Papandreou.
Studs Terkel It would seem that Dr. Blanksten is, and Professor Adelman, indeed all four of our guests, Dr. Pedritis and Robert Eisner have touched upon perhaps one of the malaises of our day. We go along, along with the slogan "We found the devil", the devil theory and in following through on this devil theory, irrationally, good men will die unless it is stopped now. Unless we feel the devil lies in irrational behavior and in vested interests that represent very, very few. Obviously Andreas Papandreou has attracted many of the young of Greece which is a very significant point, it occurs to me.
Studs Terkel The American educated, yeah. So again we come to the question of, true, Professor Adelman has raised the point that this alone, freeing the political prisoners, won't change the Greek government, by the implication was the junta by its very nature, the Emperor does have no clothes, you know.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Right.
Dr. Robert Eisner Yes, I also would be, I think, rather more optimistic than Professor Adelman as to what the United States government could do if it wished. [striking match] And that all of the reports indicate that the junta had no support whatsoever. It started actually merely as a group of colonels. Even the leading generals were not involved. Apparently while the King had been working with the right-wing group, even he was not in on the actual coup at the moment. Some of his aides were arrested. The junta couldn't find no reputable politicians, right, center or left generally to take it's offices. It tried to get a minister of information and one report I read was that it approached two conservative journalists, right-wing journalists, but they would not serve under those circumstances. One of them was put under house arrest and the other fled out of Athens to his native village. And the fact, realistically, is that there are responsible people in Greece and the army itself is anxious, the generals, most of the colonels and officers, are anxious to continue to get paid, to continue to get support. It, I suppose would have to be done judiciously so that the first enraged action of these colonels is not to murder 5,000 political prisoners. But the power of the United States, for good or for evil, we all know now is quite great. And in a country where we have been equipping, training, paying for the army, when the army engineers a coup, to say that we cannot do anything about it I think is, is a bit hard to believe, and I have noted, by the way, the beginning of appeals to this effect. Walter Reuther and his United Automobile Workers has precisely asked the American government to do just this, to cut off military aid, military and economic aid, but there's very little economic aid until
Studs Terkel I notice that Clayton Fritchey, an occasional columnist in The Sun-Times had, perhaps you've seen, a very perceptive piece on this very point, that U.S. indeed is aware and has been for a time, and
Dr. Robert Eisner Yes. It will be a terrible black eye to the United States, of course we have many. But to have our chief NATO ally, you know, in that por-major NATO ally in that part of the world, such an extreme right-wing undemocratic group is a bit rather hard to square with the notion that NATO is intended to protect freedom.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis democracy in Greece cannot be restored unless this junta is condemned and all the participants in this coup are removed from the army and we proclaim free elections. But really free elections, not just using the name of free elections, and having the army controlling the voters,
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis As far as the relation of the junta and the political world is concerned, I would like to mention that the persons which compose the new government established by the junta are well known to the Greeks. They did not appear all of a sudden out of this coup. All of them, each one, is well known as being strongly pro-royalist persons. If I can take separately name by name and mention his, their activities for many years, and everybody in Greece know, knows that they are, they were, the beloved guys of the palace.
Studs Terkel I suppose it's, we come back again to the theme of life, human life and this is the key really, in suggesting, urging listeners to write to obviously their congressmen, the senators, and the President on the matter of intervening, freeing, first of all impelling the coup, that indeed is our creature, to free Papandreou and the other prisoners immediately, to create the climate that would make for a free and democratic election. So this is what we can do specifically here.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis What I am afraid they might do is, because they are afraid of Andreas Papandreou mainly because he, as I said, he is considered as the bearer of the new ideas, of the American idea, ideas for democracy, they will be satisfied if they remove Papandreou from Greece and then have a kind of semi-free elections with the sole purpose to having Papandreou out of the political scenario of Greece.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Yes.
Dr. Nicolas Pedritis Exactly.
Studs Terkel Well, gentleman and lady, any further comments you care to make, personal or otherwise, before we say goodbye? I know that Dr. Blanksten and has a class to make at Northwestern, but are there any further comments anyone cares to make about Papandreou, about the theme? Then I just repeat the, the obvious moral, the obvious request is letter, letters to your congressman, senators, to the President concerning life, Greece, but you might say concerning ourselves as well. Thank you very much gentlemen and lady, lady and gentlemen.
Studs Terkel Our four guests, I should, our four guests were Dr. George Blanksten, the head of the Political Science Department at Northwestern University, Robert Eisner, head of the Economics Department of Northwestern, Professor Irma Adelman, a member of the faculty of the Economics Department, and Dr. Nicolas Pedritis, who worked with Andreas Papandreou on the formation of the new university in Athens. All four know the man. Thank you very much.