The Special Mission at Lausanne to the Secretary of State
[Received 8 p.m.]
293. The activities of the conference during the past week are summarized below:
An attempt is being made in Constantinople to settle the economic questions by direct negotiation, and results are awaited here before taking up consideration of economic clauses of treaty. Apparently the Chester concession is not to be touched upon for the time being.
Whenever the question of reparations presents itself, the Turks insist that it has been already settled, a view which the Allies do not expressly admit. It is proposed by the Turks, therefore, that the question be taken up at once by the finance commission.[Page 1003]
The Allies have conceded the abolition of the capitulations, but reject contention of the Turks that the abolition is to date from 1914. We have again set forth the view of the United States Government that the Turks cannot annul the capitulations by their own sole authority.
It is probable that privileges contemplated in the declarations and conventions will be conceded also to the United States without the least objection from the Turks. Moreover the Turks are anxious to begin negotiations with us for a treaty of friendship and trade. We have already the Department’s authorization to begin conversations with that end in view. In order that one side may not use us against the other we are moving with circumspection, and have let it be understood that until the peace treaty is definitely agreed upon we will not formally bind ourselves.
Yesterday a sharp dispute arose over the form of the Turkish declaration concerning their juridical system. The declaration is unacceptable to the Allies, but the Turks have declined to consider alterations. The massing of Turkish troops along the Syrian border is also causing difficulties, and the French are making veiled threats to quit Lausanne, although the threats are somewhat discounted. It is commonly expected that the negotiations will end in less exacting terms.