The British Embassy to the Department of State
Copy of Telegram From the Foreign Office to His Majesty’s Ambassador at Rome, Dated December 13th
While in London the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs communicated a memorandum containing the following statements:—
- That a strong contingent of the Italian 35th Division should be despatched to Constantinople in accordance with the agreement for [Page 278] the International occupation of that town which was settled some time ago.
- That if Turkey continues non-compliance with the terms of the Armistice regarding Tripolitania, Italy will on her own account proceed to occupy some locality in Anatolia to which she is entitled, in accordance with the Inter-Allied agreement regarding Turkey.
As regards 1. You should inform the Italian Government that there has never been any agreement for the international occupation of Constantinople, and that the Armistice does not provide for it, and enquire as to the meaning of the Minister for Foreign Affairs’ reference to this.
As regards 2. You were instructed on November 29th to point out to the Italian Government that the failure of the Turks to comply with the Armistice terms regarding Tripolitania offered no sufficient ground for action in Asia Minor without previous consultation with the Allies. In view of the Minister for Foreign Affairs’ announcement that the Italian Government intended to proceed to occupy Anatolia without such consultation, you should point out again that such action on the part of the Italians will certainly provoke similar steps by the Greeks, and that His Majesty’s Government in such an event would find it impossible to oppose the Greek claims to follow the Italian example. You should add that His Majesty’s Government see no objection to Italian troops proceeding to Turkey and Thrace, and that the necessary arrangements to this end are being made by General Franchet d’Esperey.