867.602 Ot 81/393: Telegram

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


184. Our telegram 169 of September 17. Apparently American interests are making a belated attempt to take control of the Chester concession. They have asked the Department to secure an extension of the option for the Samsoun–Sivas line. Specifically they have asked us to authorize Imbrie74 to telegraph Raouf Bey75 requesting such an extension. They are in personal contact with Imbrie. The Department has refused to give the authorization requested, believing such action would be neither appropriate nor effective. The Department has, however, stated that it would take appropriate action through you and through Barnes at Angora upon receiving satisfactory evidence that a substantial American investment was involved and that the extension of the option would serve the best interests of American commercial enterprise in Turkey. The reply to this has been that, while it was hoped that substantial American interest could be proved shortly, it was not possible to submit such proof [Page 1244] prior to October 8 and that in order to secure substantial American participation it was necessary that the option be extended.

Report by cable whether you believe that in case the option is not exercised the Turks will denounce the Samsoun-Sivas contract and whether Turks regard October 8 or October 28, six months after contract was signed, as the date of expiration of the contract. Report also as to whether friendly attitude of the Turks in this matter or their desire to have American interests carry through this concession has been affected by the resignation of Raouf Bey.

If they really wish to have American interests carry through the concession, the desired result would probably be facilitated by an extension of the option.

According to the latest reports which we have received, Clayton-Kennedy is in Paris and is demanding $2,500 and expenses before going to Constantinople. It is also reported that an offer of $200,000 has been received for a one-tenth Italian share in the project from an Italian Commander Fago.

On the basis of the information in its possession the Department would not be justified in authorizing formal representations for an extension of the option. The above information may, however, be useful to you. Department desires to be kept informed as to developments and as to the attitude of Turkish officials.

  1. Vice Consul Robert W. Imbrie, formerly at Angora, on leave in the United States.
  2. President of the Turkish Council of Ministers.