The High Commissioner at Constantinople (Bristol) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7:28 p.m.]
117. Department’s 49 of March 23,98 paragraph 8. I talked with Ismet Pasha yesterday before he left Constantinople to attend the conference. He stated that the Montagna formula,99 if agreed upon at Lausanne, will require the Turkish Government to select its judicial advisers from among nationals of powers which had not participated in late war, and that jurists from Allied and Associated Powers, as also from Central Powers, would be disqualified by this rule.
Opposition by the French to the Chester concession and particularly their view of it as a political issue drew from Ismet some expressions of disapproval. He maintained that it is a question which should be left to the Turkish courts, as being susceptible of legal decision. And he stated that he intended to refrain from any discussion of it at the conference.
Ismet said that the concessionary companies had been invited to name representatives to negotiate their claims separately with the [Page 987] proper authorities at Angora; but that the Turks did not have in mind a general conference with these representatives. As the questions to be considered were very much involved Ismet did not regard a general conference as either practicable or desirable. He said that in Angora they do not look upon the revision of concessionary contracts as a business to be dealt with politically or diplomatically, as it is a domestic concern.
Ismet is very much puzzled by the way the Lausanne Conference is being resumed. He finds it incomprehensible that so few delegates are accredited, and he questions whether Allies are sincere in desire for peace.