667.003/90: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the High Commissioner at Constantinople (Bristol)

86. Your 542, October 27, 6 p.m. In refusing to entertain either of the proposals framed by the Allied Commissioners you may informally state somewhat as follows: [Page 766]

My Government learns with surprise that the continuance of the consumption taxes beyond the period of formal military occupation is being considered. These taxes upon four of the prime necessities of life impose an inhumane burden upon the poorest classes in Turkey and add to their acute poverty and misery. That they are in fact discriminatory against the legitimate interests of certain non-Allied nations, the United States in particular, is tacitly recognized by all concerned. Finally, the increase in revenue which will result from a reversion to the uniform 11 per cent destroys the revenue argument upon which they were purported to be based.

With the removal of the interference in the application of the Capitulations my Government asserts its right to take up directly with the Turkish Government any proposals to vary that regime. It takes this occasion to state that, if the revenue from the uniform 11 per cent actually falls short of the fiscal requirements of Turkey, it would entertain a proposal to resume at an early date the negotiations initiated by Turkey in 1914 looking toward an increase in the uniform rate to 15 per cent.