The United States Army Military Group–Greece, which was part of the U.S. Mission for Aid to Greece, was established on May 24, 1947, and was placed under the command of James Van Fleet, after the personal intervention of General Marshall. Translating the Truman Doctrine into practice, the U.S. Mission was charged with providing operational advice to the Greek National Army. Later in 1947, the Joint Military and Advisory and Planning Group (USJMAPG) was created, “with the mission of providing the Greek military with aggressive assistance in operations and logistical support,” as described by Paul Braim, Van Fleet's biographer (Braim 2001: 162). The USJMAPG had an initial staff of ninety-nine officers, eighty enlisted men, and a number of advisors who were assigned to all branches of the military, at the level of division headquarters. According to Braim, Van Fleet acquired almost complete control over military operations of the Greek Army, to the extent that, when Van Fleet visited Makrónisos in 1948 and was shown repentant Communist soldiers by General Bairaktares, the latter said, “General, here is your army.”
Braim's biography of Van Fleet ought to be taken judiciously in matters that have to do with the situation on the ground in Greece before the emphýlios and Van Fleet's involvement. For instance, Braim mentions that “near the end of the war the Communists concealed their identity under the title National Liberation Movement, or EAM” (2001: 158), whereas EAM was established in 1941, the first year of the war, a scant six months after the Axis forces occupied Greece. Furthermore, he mentions that with the beginning of the emphýlios the Greek National Army had an added disadvantage over the DSE, the fact that it “was worn out from years of fighting the Germans” (2001: 161), when there had been no National Army to fight the German occupation and the brunt of the resistance against the Axis had been carried largely by the military branch of EAM, ELAS, largely the same army that the newly reconstituted Greek National Army was now fighting. But his material pertaining to Van Fleet is largely taken from Van Fleet's personal notes and is indispensable for documenting Van Fleet's personal disposition toward Greece and the emphýlios.