The Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State (Dulles) to the Secretary of State

The Secretary: In view of the prospect that the Lausanne Conference will be resumed shortly, the following considerations in regard to American representation and the character of American participation may be pertinent:

(1) It is the Department’s understanding that the inviting Powers as well as the Turks have taken the position that the Lausanne Conference was not formally terminated in February last but temporarily adjourned. It is therefore possible that the Allies will consider that no new invitations are necessary and that the Powers participating in the Conference during its early stages will automatically attend upon the resumption of negotiations. The Secretariat General of the Conference might naturally be expected, however, to notify the interested Powers, including the United States, of the date and place of the resumption of the Conference. In this connection it should be noted that according to the Department’s information there have been representatives of the Secretariat General and of the Italian and Turkish delegations at Lausanne during the period of the Conference’s interruption.

As yet this Government has received no notification of a resumption of the Conference but as it is possible that the Allied Powers [Page 975] have not yet received or acted upon the Turkish reply, it is yet too early to state that they do not intend to send us a notification.

(2) A brief review of the events which have taken place subsequent to the interruption of the Conference on February 4th may be helpful.

On February 4th Lord Curzon (President of the Conference), left Lausanne with his entire delegation and shortly thereafter the other plenipotentiaries, including the American representatives.

Under date of March 8th the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Angora Government addressed to the inviting Powers a note containing their observations on the Lausanne draft treaty. A copy of this document was handed to Admiral Bristol in Constantinople on or about March 12th.80 (This document is now in the possession of the Department and is being studied. Further reference to it will be made below).

On March 17th Ambassador Child telegraphed80 that Curzon had asked for an Allied Conference in London for three purposes: (1) Examine Turkish answer, (2) Decide on course, (3) Determine another meeting place. In this telegram Ambassador Child confidentially called the attention of the Department to the possibility that the London meeting might “develop certain trades and agreements between Allies which might prejudice our interests.”

On or about March 19th the Allied Conference met in London to consider the Turkish proposals. In addition to the three inviting Powers it is understood that the Japanese representative was present and later Venizelos is understood to have been called in to present the Greek views on the Turkish-Greek reparation question.

On March 19th the Department telegraphed the Embassy at London80 instructing Ambassador Harvey to inform the Foreign Office “that in view of American interest in many of the matters which may be discussed in considering the Turkish reply” he would “appreciate being apprized of the course of discussions at the forthcoming conference.” Ambassador Harvey was also informed of Ambassador Child’s view regarding the possibility of side agreements being reached at the London meeting.

On March 22nd Ambassador Harvey telegraphed80 that the Foreign Office had volunteered the statement that the proceedings of the conference would consist very largely of technical discussions of experts. On the succeeding days Ambassador Harvey continued to telegraph brief summaries80 of such information as he could obtain regarding the meeting.

On March 26th Ambassador Herrick telegraphed80 that “the Allies are now hopeful of agreement as to the reply which shall be made to the Turkish counter proposals”, and added that “no details were furnished [Page 976] by the Foreign Office” but that he (Herrick) had been “promised all the information available upon the return of the French delegates which is expected to take place on Wednesday.” In outlining the proposed procedure, Ambassador Herrick indicated that the Allies would suggest a conference be called of the experts only, who will settle the details of the points in dispute, after which the plenipotentiaries would meet definitely to conclude a Treaty.

On March 27th Ambassador Harvey telegraphed82 that the Conference expected to terminate shortly and that a reply to the Turkish proposal had been drafted. He outlined the nature of the reply and indicated that there were certain differences of opinion between the French and Italians, particularly in regard to the treatment of the economic clauses which the French have proposed should be a matter for private negotiation between Angora and the concessionnaire companies, to which the British had agreed, but the Italians opposed on the ground that it would give France, in view of the conditions of the loan to Turkey in 1913–1914 and to the Treaty of Angora and annexes, a control for an indefinite period of most of the economic resources of Turkey.

On March 29th Ambassador Herrick telegraphed82 that he had endeavored to obtain from the French Foreign Office a copy of the proposed Allied reply to the Turkish counter-proposals but was advised that it could not be made public at the moment as it had to be submitted to the Italian Government for approval before it could be sent to Angora. In reply,82 the Department instructed Ambassador Herrick to inform the Department in case he encountered any further difficulty in securing a text of Allied reply, to which the Ambassador replied, under date of March 31st,82 that he “had again approached the French Foreign Office asking for a copy of the Allied reply to the Turks” and added “Massigli informs me he asked permission to give me a copy and was told it was impossible. He further stated text would probably be given out in Constantinople Tuesday or Wednesday of next week”. (Massigli is a Quai d’Orsay functionary who was Secretary General of the Lausanne Conference).

On March 31st the Department telegraphed the Embassy in London,82 referred to difficulties experienced in obtaining a copy of the Allied reply, and added “in view of American participation at Lausanne, Department hardly believes that Allied Governments would desire to take the position that this Government could only be informed of Allied decisions if and when it was decided to make them public.” To this Ambassador Harvey replied82 that the efforts of the Embassy to secure the text of the Allied reply were met with the statement [Page 977] that it had been agreed between the Allies that the text should be approved by all the governments represented at the Conference before being given out.

The full text of the Allied reply was given to the Press in London on April 2nd. As yet the Department has only the Associated Press summary from which to judge of its contents.

According to press reports, this reply has already been handed to the Turks, who are understood to have replied accepting the proposal for the resumption of the Conference at Lausanne on April 15th. A telegram from Paris83 indicates the date might be April 12th, and this same telegram reports that the representation of the various countries will probably be as follows:

Great Britain: Rumbold, Fountain, Payne, and Forbes Adam.
Italians: Montagna, Nogara, and Arlotta.
French: Bompard, or Laroche,
Secretary General, Massigli.

If this report is accurate, no one of the Allied Powers will be represented, when the Conference resumes at Lausanne, by their principal delegate at the first meeting.

On March 31st, in reply to an informal inquiry of the British Embassy, the Department addressed a memorandum to that Embassy84 outlining in some detail certain possible objectionable features of the Economic and Financial clauses of the Lausanne Treaty to which Ambassador Child had adverted in a letter of February 4th to Lord Curzon.85

(3) From the above outline of events, it appears that subsequent to the interruption of the Lausanne Conference the Allied representatives had not fully taken this Government into its [their] confidence or showed an inclination to welcome counsel or participation by this Government in their deliberations. The Department, on the other hand, sufficiently indicated its interest in these discussions to have given the Allies an opportunity to consult with this Government should they have desired to do so. The explanation of this is probably to be found in the fear, particularly of the French, that our economic interests in Turkey will conflict with their own and to their desire to consolidate their economic position as far as possible without giving this Government information as to their plans. Press reports indicate that the French are apprehensive in regard to the negotiations for the Chester concession which would apparently conflict with certain claims which the French advance under negotiations of 1913–1914 [Page 978] and under the Franklin-Boullion Agreement with Turkey of October 1921.

I cannot escape the impression that the Allied Powers are loath to abandon their projects which date back as far as 1916 in the Sykes-Picot Agreement and which were carried on under the Tripartite Agreement of 1920. Under these various arrangements France endeavored to consolidate a position of economic predominance in Northern and Eastern Anatolia, Italy in Southwestern Anatolia, and England to secure a free hand in Mesopotamia, together with a predominant position in Constantinople and the Straits. It is not to be overlooked that it is quite possible that some side agreement of this nature has teen reached at London and that the formal and public reply of the Allies to the Turks will not tell the whole story of their London decisions. Ambassador Child’s telegram of April 2,86 received while this memorandum was being drafted, indicates that the Ambassador has received a somewhat similar impression.

In the light of the situation described above, it is suggested that it would be well to consider addressing a note to the Allied Powers before the Lausanne Conference reconvenes, to inquire whether any further arrangements, agreements or understandings between the Allies had been reached than are outlined in the published reply to the Turkish note. The inadequate information received regarding the London Conference would furnish a natural basis for such an inquiry and might help to clear the air. At the same time it might be desirable to outline to the French and Italians, the Department’s views regarding concessions as already indicated to the British Embassy in the note of March 31st.

(4) Assuming that the United States will be represented at the Lausanne Conference if it reconvenes, it is important to decide, as promptly as possible, what instructions should be prepared for our representatives. In considering this point it may be helpful to review briefly the exact status of the negotiations between the Allies and the Turks.

Certain of the questions in which this Government expressed an interest at the time of the original Conference have now been settled, or at least will not be a subject of further negotiation at Lausanne. The most important of these subjects are: (1) Freedom of the Straits; (2) Protection of Minorities. On both of these points the Turks have accepted, without modification, the proposals contained in the Lausanne Treaty. It is further understood that a substantial agreement has been reached in regard to the terms of the Turkish declaration as to the judicial safeguards for foreigners through the employ by Turkey of foreign judicial advisers.

[Page 979]

The most important questions left for reconsideration at Lausanne will be the Economic and Financial clauses and the annexes to the Lausanne Treaty which relate (1) to the regime applicable to foreigners in Turkey and (2) to the commercial regime in Turkey.

As regards the Economic and Financial clauses, our interests are negative rather than positive; that is, we desire to prevent the incorporation by the Allies of provisions which would be detrimental to American interests,—which would constitute a recognition of incomplete rights claimed by the Allies or which would result in the establishment, directly or indirectly, of zones of influence or particular privilege in favor of any of the participating Powers. As far as this Government is concerned, any general provision which would carry with it the respect for vested rights and provide for an impartial arbitration of disputed questions relating to such rights would presumably be satisfactory.

As regards the two Conventions annexed to the Lausanne Treaty, mentioned above, our interests are more immediate, as the provisions of these Conventions will define the rights to be enjoyed by foreigners in Turkey after the abrogation of the capitulations. It is not likely that the Allies, in negotiating regarding these Conventions, will be in a position to take any action harmful to our interests. The question is rather whether, by actual participation with the Allies in the formulation of the Conventions we might not help to secure more favorable provisions than if the Allies were left to negotiate alone. I feel that our participation in drafting these Conventions would be helpful and that it is reasonable for us to share in working out provisions of which we may desire to take advantage in the future. It is important to reach a decision on this point, as the decision will influence the instructions which we might send to our delegates.

(With this memorandum I am attaching the British Blue Book regarding the Lausanne negotiations,87 where the Conventions are to be found on pages 790 and 840 [804], respectively. There is also attached the text of the Turkish reply88 on the Lausanne Treaty, which contains suggestions which vitally alter and take most of the punch out of the Conventions in question).

(5) The question of American representation at Lausanne should also be given early consideration. Since, as indicated above, the Allied Powers will probably not be represented by their first delegates at the previous meeting, it might be inappropriate for Ambassador Child to attend the Lausanne Conference, at least in its early stages. Various reports indicate that the first part of the Conference will be [Page 980] largely a technical discussion among experts.* If so, Ambassador Child might be held in reserve until or in the event that questions of general policy are discussed. In this case it seems clear that Mr. Grew is the man who is indicated to head the American delegation and, as he will need some assistance to enable the Department to have a representative at the various commissions and sub-commissions which may be formed, it would seem desirable that Belin, who acted as Secretary General of our delegation at Lausanne, should be sent from Paris, and, in addition, I would suggest that Mr. Dolbeare, of the London Embassy, or Shaw from Constantinople, be included in the American delegation. Both of these men are particularly suited for the task because of their personal experience with Near East conditions and questions.

I have not attempted to discuss in this memorandum the action which might be desirable in the event that the Allied Powers should desire to exclude American representation from the so-called technical or preliminary discussions with the Turks of the Lausanne draft treaty.

A[llen] W. D[ulles]
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Not printed.
  11. Not printed.
  12. Not printed.
  13. Not printed.
  14. Ante, p. 972.
  15. See telegram no. 244, Feb. 7, from the Special Mission at Lausanne, p. 968.
  16. Not printed.
  17. Great Britain, Cmd. 1814, Turkey No. 1 (1923).
  18. ibid., pp. 837 ff.
  19. Mr. Dwight has told me that when the Allies desired to limit the participation in the discussion of certain questions to the Allied representatives, the approved method was to arrange meetings of technical experts or of the inviting powers. This method was used to exclude the Russians from certain of the discussions relating to the Straits—and may be attempted at the next Lausanne meeting to keep “within the Allied family” the consideration of the financial and economic clauses of the Treaty. Another possible method of securing the maximum of secrecy in dealing with these questions is that indicated in the concluding paragraph of a telegram just received from Paris:

    “Tomorrow the principal representatives of French finance industry and commerce in Turkey will meet to designate their representatives who in accordance with the allies reply to the Turkish counterproposals will negotiate directly with the Turkish Government as regards their concessions and affairs in Turkey in the hope of being able to eliminate from the peace treaty some of the clauses concerning economic matters.” [Footnote on original.]