File No. 763.72/3754½

The Ambassador in Turkey ( Elkus) to the Secretary of State


2599. In an interview with the Grand Vizier to-day I stated that the American Government had no reason for any controversy with Turkey, that it desired to maintain and continue the friendly relations between the two Governments, and that the controversy was in reality only with the German Government. I sounded him again as to Turkey’s intentions in case of a declaration of war between the United States and Germany. He replied that for the present the relations are friendly but when questioned as to whether they could continue so, he stated that of course the United States Government knew that Turkey in the present war was an ally of Germany. What Turkey would do in the event of a war between the United States and Germany had not yet been taken into consideration either between Turkey and Germany or among the Turkish ministers themselves and he could therefore give no definite reply. I dwelt at some length on the possibility and the advantages of not severing diplomatic relations with the United States. He asked me whether Congress would decide to declare war against Germany or would simply decide that a state of war existed between the United States and Germany. I replied I did not know. He stated that it made a difference for them and that their work would be easier if Congress without a formal declaration of war decided that a state of war existed. Germany is pretending publicly it does not wish Turkey to break with the United States while it is believed that secretly it is urging the break.