The Secretary of State to the Special Mission at Lausanne
139. Referring to Mission’s 325 relaying Bristol’s telegram of May 12, and to Mission’s 326 of May 13.55 Before authorizing you to proceed to negotiate with the Turks at Lausanne, the Department had carefully studied the advantages and disadvantages of that step, and it does not feel that the considerations brought forward by Admiral Bristol would furnish ground for altering the course already laid down. As regards the draft treaty sent to Lausanne with Turlington, it should be clearly explained to Admiral Bristol that it is to be held as strictly confidential and that it is only tentative.
Telegraph the following as Department’s 98 to Constantinople:
Your May 12, 3 p.m. The Department recognizes the weight of your reasoning, but it had carefully examined the situation before it authorized Grew to meet Ismet’s advances by suggesting that an effort be made through informal discussions to discover a satisfactory basis for negotiation.
The Department is not at present disposed to conclude a treaty with Turkey before the virtual conclusion of the Allied negotiations. Should these negotiations break down over questions in which the United States is also interested it is presumed that our own negotiations would be dropped for want of a proper basis. If they break down over questions which do not particularly touch this country’s interests, we will be at liberty to choose our own future course.
The Department believes that by our present close cooperation with the Allied delegates at Lausanne we can defeat any effort the Turks may make to play us off against the Allies. Simultaneous negotiation by the United States and the Allies should tend to demonstrate that we have a community of interest with the Allies in defining the status of foreigners hereafter in Turkey.
The Department does not anticipate that our treaty arrangements will in any way obstruct efforts now being made by direct and practical understandings with the Turkish authorities to safeguard our interests in Turkey. A sound basis for American enterprise should be found through a practical interpretation and application of general treaty provisions. It is the Department’s belief that if this Government had declined to assent to the Turkish suggestion for a careful examination of the relations between the United States and Turkey with a view to negotiating a treaty, such action might have made an unfortunate impression, as seeming to imply that this Government does not sincerely wish to regularize its relations with Turkey, despite the fact that on fundamental points the Turkish [Page 1064] Government is prepared to meet this Government’s views. Moreover, if we should make no effort to settle our differences with the Turks, while on the other hand the Allies conclude a peace and resume diplomatic relations with them, the consequence might be to render American interests liable to unfavorable discrimination and to leave the United States in a position of disadvantage which it does not merit under present circumstances. But if in any case and in spite of our best endeavors we fail to regularize our relations with Turkey, the Department does not wish to be charged with having neglected to take timely action, but desires that responsibility for the failure shall be placed squarely upon the Turks.
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