Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin bluntly rejected a Russian demand today for the summary withdrawal of British troops from Greece, countering with a charge that Moscow propaganda and Communist attacks on Britain constituted the "greatest danger to the world."
Trygve Lie, Norwegian foreign minister, was elected secretary general of the UNO by a vote of 46 to 3 after the stormy session of the Security Council at which Bevin and Soviet Delegate Andrei Vishinsky hurled bitter charges at each other.
The Council adjourned until Monday without taking action on the Soviet charge that the presence of British troops in Greece threatened world peace.
Bevin challenged Russia's right to bring the question before the Security Council in view of her refusal to join the other United Nations in supervising the forth-coming Greek elections.
At the same time, he reminded Vishinsky that both Generalissimo Stalin and Foreign Commisar V. M. Molotov had expressed the Soviet Union's "satisfaction" with British policy in Greece.
The he leveled his charge against the Communist propaganda technique and demanded that the Security Council give a blunt yes or no answer to the Russian accusation that the presence of British troops in Greece was endangering world peace.
"I am asking the Security Council for a straight declaration -- no compromise," Bevin said.
"We want a straight verdict. Have we who have dug into our meager surpluses to help the world -- do we endanger the peace? I want a straight answer."
Bevin commented heatedly that the Russians persistently refused to approach the brough through normal diplomatic channels on the Greek problem and that Vishinsky built his case against Britain largely on unofficial reports and news dispatches.
"We are in the dock today without a single official communication from the Soviet government -- our ally," he said.
Bevin told the council that the British had been accused of protecting Rightist factions in Greece and that likewise the Rightists had accused them of protecting Left-wingers.
He said the British troops were sent into Greece when the civil war began there -- "and according to our information it was started by the Communists" -- to prevent wholesale massacres by both sides.
Bevin charged that the Communist party in Greece made a determined effort to seize power and establish a minority government.
"We decided to allow trial and error in Greece," Bevin said. "We could have done what Mr. Vishinsky did in Romania and set up a minority government. We had the power, but we didn't because we believe democracy should come from the bottom and not from the top."
Britain, he said, wants only to insure free elections in Greece so that British troops can be brought home.
"We don't want occupying forces there, but the Greek government over and over again has said they must have fair and free elections first."
Bevin derided Russian charges that Greece was threatening war against her neighbors. He said he had proposed a four-power commission to investigate frontier incidents there, but got no response from Moscow.
Vishinsky opened the council meeting with a cold, dispassionate denunciation of the British policy in Greece. He said the presence of British troops there was "entirely unjustified" and that the Soviet government "insists" on their prompt withdrawal.