May 7, 1959

MARKEZINIS ON USSR: Progressive Party leader Spyros Markezinis gave a press conference following his return from Moscow where he had talks with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and other officials. On Greek-Soviet relations, he stressed the friendly feelings on the part of the Soviet Union toward Greece and referred to the many historical and religious ties between the two peoples. «Our membership in NATO is a shadow over those relations as has been the virtual cessation of intellectual and cultural relations in recent years, something that is unjustified, given that the Soviet contacts with the United States are steadily increasing,» he said. With further regard to NATO, Markezinis said that while Greece’s participation in the alliance was purely for defense purposes, the Soviet Union considers Greece’s membership a given. This did not apply, however, to the installation of missile bases, which they could perceive as a threat against the Soviet Union and could lead to atomic warfare. The Soviet Union claims that Greece is not threatened by any other state and therefore, instead of building missile bases, it should call for guarantees from the Great Powers regarding its security, independence and territorial integrity.