File No. 763.72/10049

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page ) to the Secretary of State


10116. I communicated contents of your 7556, May 3, 4 p.m.,1 to the Foreign Office who have replied under today’s date as follows:

In reply to the inquiry which Your Excellency was so good as to communicate to me on the 8th instant I have the honor to state that in the considered opinion of His Majesty’s Government it would be desirable that war should be declared by the United States on the Governments of Turkey and Bulgaria.

The main reasons for this opinion are as follows:

So long as America treats the enemies of the Entente Powers as friendly neutrals the impression in southeastern Europe is inevitable that America has not entered whole-heartedly into the war and that she regards two of the powers who are fighting on the side of our enemy with feelings which are certainly not hostile and might easily become friendly. This naturally discourages our allies in these regions, and neither the Greeks and Servians, whose citizens in territories occupied by Bulgaria are being murdered and deported, nor the Armenians, who are threatened with extermination, find it easy to understand why the gigantic efforts now being put forth by the United States in the cause of freedom appear to leave their interests out of account.

But even more important than the discouragement produced amongst our friends is the encouragement given to our enemies by [Page 233] American neutrality. Bulgaria and Turkey joined in the war without provocation from the Western Powers. Both countries have suffered much economically and both look forward with apprehension to the increasing grip which Germany is gaining over their national resources. A full measure of victory would give them territory but not independence. A German defeat would give them nothing but would still leave them economically dependent. From these misfortunes they hope to be saved by American assistance and if they once clearly realized that they were counted among America’s enemies their confidence in the future would be profoundly shaken.

In addition to these arguments, based upon the encouragement to our friends and the discouragement to our enemies which would follow upon an American declaration of war against Bulgaria and Turkey, there is one other consideration which I venture to submit to Your Excellency. The part which America is to play in the labors of the peace conference must in any case be of decisive importance but it seems to His Majesty’s Government that there is no portion of the field of international controversy where it would be more valuable than in the Near and Middle East. If America abstains from declaring war against the common enemy in these regions the inference will certainly be drawn by friends and foes alike that she means the various phases of the eastern question which must come up at the peace conference to be settled without her active intervention. His Majesty’s Government would regard this as a great misfortune. From the point of view, therefore, of peace, as well as from the point of view of war, they are [desirous] of seeing the United States adopt the same policy towards Turkey and Bulgaria as has been already adopted by the other great belligerents who are fighting to free the world from German domination.

  1. Ante, p. 222.