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It took many long months of negotiation but the United States finally reached an accord with Greece permitting the US to operate its military bases there for another five years. This is good news for NATO, seeking to keep up strength on its southern flank in the wake of the fall of the Iranian Shah. Socialist Greek Prime Minister Papandreou, who had promised to end the base arrangement, says he can still ask the US to leave at the end of the five years. But such tough talk seems intended primarily for domestic consumption.

Mr. Papandreou, in fact, seems to be pursuing a far more moderate course than his early political rhetoric would have suggested. Doubtless a hefty increase in US military aid for Greece helped bring the present negotiations to fruition. Socialists are socialists, but they often bargain like capitalists.

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