867.602 Ot 81/407: Telegram

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


264. Your telegram 184 of October 3.

It is the wish of the Turkish Government that the Chester concession be carried out by [garbled group]. The resignation of Raouf Bey does not change the situation at all. The Turks generally, as well as the Government, are disillusioned and skeptical regarding the carrying out of the Chester concession. I am convinced, however, that the higher Turkish officials are still hoping against hope that the Chester project will be carried out as the prestige of the Government is seriously involved. They will, therefore, probably go as far in accommodating the Ottoman-American Development Company as the temper of the Assembly and public sentiment will permit.
If reasonably satisfactory evidence is forthcoming as to the financial backing of the company, I believe that the Turks will extend the Samsoun-Sivas option for three months and maybe longer. The Government would have to defend such an extension before the Assembly and general public opinion and would have to have material for this purpose.
Clayton-Kennedy arrived here October 5 and leaves today for Angora. He plans to place the following proposition before the Turkish Government:
He will ask that the Samsoun-Sivas option be extended for three months and that certain minor technical changes be made in the definitive contract and specifications. It is hoped that interpretations of the contract by the Ministry of Public Works will secure these changes.
If Clayton-Kennedy can secure the extension and changes desired, he will offer as proof of good faith to deposit immediately the 20,000 Turkish pounds which the contract requires in two years time. Also he will undertake to present to the Turkish Government within one month a certified list of subscribers to be transmitted through the Department of State.

Apparently Clayton-Kennedy worked out this proposition in consultation with Cromwell76 and Farnham77 at Paris. These two men put up the money for deposit or at least it comes through them. It is Cromwell who has undertaken to produce the list of subscribers. While the names of the subscribers are not known to Clayton-Kennedy, he declares that all of them will be Americans. He made a categorical statement that no attempt will be made to enlist non-American financial backing, for the present at any rate. He added, however, that Cromwell might admit French capital later on. Clayton-Kennedy informs me that prior to the elimination of the Chester group Cromwell has refused to be openly identified with the Ottoman-American Development Company. Cromwell recently found in his office at New York the securities of the old Chester Company which apparently belong to the Moore estate.…

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I will report fully to the Department with respect to Clayton-Kennedy’s [activities?]. I would like to receive information from the American end regarding the situation of the Ottoman-American Development Company at present, especially as to the position of the Chester group.

  1. William Nelson Cromwell, New York lawyer.
  2. Roger L. Farnham, New York banker.