Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Barbour
BARBOUR: We didn't know, we weren't sure what our interest was. This was 1967, Johnson was President. We didn't really know what to make of it, or him, or the situation in Greece. We were not comfortable with the Colonels; Constantine had had a good image in Washington, but we didn't know what to make of him and this may have been the first time that we ever had anyone who spent long hours with him while he talked. For somebody in my situation it was quite interesting.
Q: Was his mother, Queen Frederika, around, was she a factor?
BARBOUR: She was there when he arrived. He arrived with his mother, wife, two children and his sister, and Ambassador—I have forgotten his name—who was his Grand Chamberlain. The King wanted to talk about Greek personalities who were rather far off my screen at that time; but fortunately everything is phonetic, at least I could write down the sounds. It was an interesting period, interesting but I don't think very important.
Q: You continued this until the time you left in 1972?
BARBOUR: Yes. He moved out of the Embassy where the Ambassador was extremely uncomfortable having him as a guest; he moved from there to a hotel, another hotel, into a house on the Appian Way and then into a house in the country. I saw him, of course, with less and less frequency.
Q: Did you find a change in this relationship when the Nixon administration came in?
BARBOUR: Yes, there was a change because we no longer had any doubts. Kissinger came in with realpolitik, one hundred percent pragmatism exactly; the Colonels were in, the King was out, so be it.
Q: What did this do to this connection that you had?
BARBOUR: It had never been easy for him to establish a direct, substantive relationship with people in Washington at the highest levels, but there had been a semblance of interest and that semblance ended.
Q: I was consul general in Athens from 1970 to 1974 and that was a time when we were trying to deal with the Colonels straight on.