The distribution of lands

The following excerpt is part of a longer report by G. Phessopoulos, director (and first organizer) of the Greek Intelligence Service, or YGAK, (General Security Service of the State). It was dispatched to the office of the General Army Staff on 3 September 1936. It is included in 'Meionotites kai propaganda sti Voreia Ellada kata to Mesopolemo', edited by K. Skordylis, Histor, issue 7, December 1994.

The General Security Service of the State, having operated for eight months in 1926 in the area of Defence, in its report of October 1926 reported the following concerning the settlement of farmers:

The unsuitability in most cases of the used tools and the haste required due to necessity caused major problems in the settlement of refugees, making not only them but natives unfavourably disposed towards the state, and caused such a virulent hatred between them that even today we very often hear of clashes with bloody results.

In Macedonia and Thrace, where the majority of refugees expecting to live by cultivating the land had settled, the issue of the definite distribution of lands is not yet resolved.

Who could have imagined that after a full decade this very serious issue is still barely addressed? Who would believe that the distribution of lands started many years before in northern Greece, proceeds so slowly that today still barely 8% of the thousands of families entitled to title-deeds should possess same?

And yet, such slackness is criminal, since it has destructive results in many respects. Rural populations, being aware that the land they cultivate does not belong to them, are very unlikely to possess the required psychological peace of mind; not having the sense of ownership, they easily follow the path of subversion and listen attentively to the instruments of foreign propaganda that promise them so much; not knowing if the land they possess today will be theirs tomorrow, not only do they not engage in its improvement, but they cultivate it without enthusiasm.

The uncertainty of the farmer, creating a latent state of inertia and indifference, has a direct impact on production, to the immeasurable detriment of himself and our national economy.

Always, but especially today, the stomach affects all issues. If the state hastens to supply the farmers of northern Greece with lands and makes the required effort to improve living conditions, it can rest assured that soon the results will be miraculous, from both the national and public finance points of view.