On October 9, 1944, Churchill arrived in Moscow for an urgent "meeting of minds" with Stalin.
British troops had landed in Greece to insure order in the wake of the retreating Nazis. Two resistance groups ruled the country, each administering the parts under its sway-most of the left wing being led by Communists. The British brought the two groups under the same roof in a "government of national unity," gave it authority, and prevented Left and Right from clashing in civil war. But the leftist resistance and the right-wing guerilla forces accepted temporary unity only in order to take part in the control of the distribution of emergency supplies the British were unloading for the famine-threatened population. Both groups watched jealously that this aid should not favor the rival territory.
Greece was the Balkan country at war whose rugged shores reached into the Eastern Mediterranean, a zone of vital interest for Britain. The impoverished country seethed with hatred of the king and the dictatorship he cloaked under royal authority. The people held him responsible for the hardships of foreign occupation and war, and the great majority supported the left-wing resistance. If left alone, the Greeks would have set up a pro-Communist government, but Churchill was not inclined to tolerate a Soviet outpost which would place British Middle East interests in jeopardy. Stalin alone, he thought, was able to impose