The Lebanon conference
The problem with the Lebanon conference (May 1944) was that the numerical representation of the left-wing guerilla and political groups (mainly of the EAM) did not do justice to their actual political and military influence in the Greek territory. Regardless of the ideological orientation of the organisation, its military, economic and social contribution to Greek life during the occupation period had invested the organisation with legitimacy in the eyes of most Greeks; especially at a time when the official government had retreated from the country.
The results of the conference did not satisfy the leadership of EAM back in Greece, which was aware of its increased influence amongst the Greek population and aspired to challenge more actively an exiled government which had no real popular legitimacy. Thus, upon the return of the EAM envoys from Lebanon, the official leadership of the organisation disagreed with a series of decisions, which had been adopted by the majority of the conference. In particular, EAM refused to place the large military forces of ELAS under unitary government control, insisted on the removal of Papandreou and demanded the redistribution of the ministries of the new coalition government.
Once again, the deadlock was apparent, but this time the prospects for
EAM were extremely auspicious. With ELAS controlling the largest part
of the Greek territory, and with the impending withdrawal of the German
occupying forces from Greece, EAM possessed both the military and the
political means to seize power before the exiled government returned to
Greece. From this point of view, it is very difficult to comprehend the
EAM leadership's sudden change of attitude in early August 1944. It is
certain that, on their own initiative, the EAM leaders would have never
abandoned the policy of headlong confrontation with Papandreou government
and the rejection of the Lebanon agreements.
At that time, however, the agreement between the British Prime Minister, Churchill, and the Russian leader, Stalin, for placing Greece within the British sphere of influence, must have changed Moscow's attitude to the Greek problem and the EAM's political ambitions for postwar Greece, even temporarily. It is also known that, in early August, a Soviet military mission visited Greece and held talks with the EAM leadership.