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Historical “Wikileaks” or what do declassified diplomatic archives show

16 April 2011 / 13:04:19  GRReporter
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Nikita Khrushchev cried when he learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The information came to light after the declassification of diplomatic archives in the U.S.. It is confirmed by the telegrams of the Greek ambassador in Moscow at the time. This and many other unprecedented events can be found in the collection of articles by the historian Fotini Tomai entitled "Diplomacy created history."

When the director of the diplomatic and historical archives of the Greek Foreign Ministry began publishing articles in the Sunday edition of the newspaper Vima it immediately provoked scathing reactions of many people who condemned her for it. The reason lied in the fact that Fotini Tomai wrote her articles on the basis of the diplomatic correspondence between the ministry and the Greek diplomatic representatives around the world, the content of which, according to some commentators, should not be made public.

Despite the attacks, that she had no right to use documents from the diplomatic archives she continued to write and today she presented her collection of articles.

"I do not open locked documents to write. As a source of my information I use the archived documents that are provided free to historians and researchers", said Fotini Tomai. "I do not choose the subjects just like that. For example, the last article with the headline came out spontaneously. If our country had not been afflicted by this bad economic situation probably I wouldn’t have paid as much attention to this document. It states that the first governor of the free Greece Ioannis Capodistrias had to explain the Troika at the time, comprised of representatives of the major powers, how much tax it will raise. He collected the landowners to discuss the situation. The Council decided that it was not possible within a year to introduce a tax system. So they decided to use the system used by the Ottoman system. They introduced it, and when the time came for control they found that wily Ali Pasha has collected an amount of taxes, but he has submitted a quite different amount to the Triple. So they decided to expose him, but found that this money sank into the pockets of the middlemen - Spahis that were Islamised locals. Well, tell me now isn’t this tax evasion a heritage from our Ottoman past, the results of which we see today? That is why I put the title "tax evasion a la Turco".

As far as it goes to the small stories of the protagonists from the telegrams of Greek ambassadors, which Fotinit Tomai often places in her articles, she said that among other things, they are the new trend in international history, and they reveal many traits of the characters of people". She said that she "subjected to interrogation" the former Ambassador of Chile in Athens, Sofia Prats - daughter of General Prats, Minister of Defence in the government of Salvador Allende before I wrote the article on the assassination of the Chilean president.

Having described the manner in which she writes her articles Fotini Tomai reproached the historians who complain that the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the hands of diplomats. They believe it should be given to historians and academic researchers. "I would like to ask them in which country is applied what they require to happen here? Why don’t they recognize that in Europe only the UK has implemented this change, but only partially. In the U.S. on the other hand the diplomatic documents are made available to historians within some contracts they sign so as to write the history of their country, but always after being "refined" by diplomats. She pointed out further that in Denmark and Luxembourg a judicial decision is needed for some citizen to be given access historical and diplomatic archives of the country.

The collection contains articles that present unknown details for many events of global significance, such as the meeting in Yalta, the crisis in the Gulf of fever, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, as they were seen by the Greek ambassadors. The majority of articles, however, is devoted to events from the Greek history and their impact in different countries.

Tags: literature collection articles diplomatic and historic archive Fotini Tomai history
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