711.672/54: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Special Mission at Lausanne


143. Mission’s 340 of May 17 and 345 and 347 of May 18.59

With reference to request for instructions in your 345, point 3, the Department believes two courses of action are possible.
You might enter into informal discussions taking the Turlington draft treaty as a basis. The Department can later indicate to you certain changes, not in the subject matter but in the wording. See sixth section of this telegram. It would be important if you follow this procedure to maintain an article giving most-favored-nation treatment to the United States as in its present form the Turlington draft would not include all the details of the provisions in the conventions between Turkey and the Allies.
The alternative course of action is in substance that in the third point of your telegram 345, i. e., using the conventions and declaration as a basis for a treaty while adding clauses from the Turlington draft or from our general treaties of commerce to cover points in which the United States has a particular interest and which are not included in the conventions and declaration.
The Department is willing to leave it to your discretion to decide which of the two plans proposed you can most successfully adopt. I rather think that there are certain advantages in the second method of procedure.
… The Department realizes that the Turks will not be disposed to make concessions without resistance, and it has no illusions as to the difficulties of negotiating with them.
You may find it desirable on this account to obtain assurances directly from Ismet on certain points which are fundamental and without which it would be most difficult to successfully continue negotiations. The points are as follows:
That Turkey is ready to concede to the United States privileges no less favorable than those granted to the Allies. It would drag out our own negotiations indefinitely to haggle over issues which have already been settled in the negotiations with the Allies.
That Turkey should in principle accept reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment. You can call the attention of the Turks to the fact that the treaties between the United States and other powers are generally based upon the principle of most-favored-nation treatment and that the United States is ready to extend to Turkey without condition most-favored-nation treatment, provided Turkey reciprocates.
Reference your telegram 340, May 17, paragraph 4, subhead (b). The Department is concerned at the suggestion that Turkey plans to follow a system of special customs privileges which will be extended by particular conventions to particular countries. It is presumed that the basis for this proposal is the desire of the Turks to play off certain countries against others, granting special privileges as a return for possible political favors. The Department thinks that it might be advantageous for you to discuss this matter informally with the Allied delegates, calling their attention to the dangers of permitting any such attempt and suggesting that the United States and the Allies maintain in their respective treaties with Turkey the most-favored-nation principle to keep Turkey from successfully making special bargains. Turkey might be inclined to favor the United States, particularly at present, but that does not change the view of the Department that the program outlined by Cherif Bey in this respect has undesirable features.
A draft has been prepared by the Department for a commercial treaty with Spain which is soon to be negotiated.60 The Department is sending Hackworth of the Solicitor’s Office to Europe to assist our Embassy in Spain in starting these negotiations. He will go via Lausanne, reaching there about May 30, so as to leave with you a copy of this draft for your strictly confidential information. There are features in this draft treaty with Spain which would not apply with respect to Turkey, as will be explained to you in further detail by Hackworth. Yet certain articles in this draft may be useful in suggesting certain changes, not in substance but in form, in the Turlington draft treaty. In the Spanish draft the consular provisions are more detailed than in Turlington’s and might apply to the Turkish situation. You should not take this to mean, however, that you need necessarily wait until you receive the Spanish treaty draft before starting informal conversations based on the Turlington draft if you think this method more desirable than the one proposed in point 1 (b) above.
  1. No. 347 not printed.
  2. See pp. 832 ff.