711.672/57: Telegram

The Special Mission at Lausanne to the Secretary of State


357. A meeting took place today between Shaw, Dolbeare, and Turlington, representing the American delegation, and Mustafa Cherif, representing the Turkish. Our minutes of the meeting follow:

Mustafa Cherif Bey was informed that with the object of giving a clear exposition of our views we had prepared certain notes which we would take the liberty of reading to him, as follows:61

“After one or two conversations and an exchange of letters between His Excellency Ismet Pasha and Mr. Grew it was decided that a comprehensive survey of the relations between the United States and Turkey might be made with a view to ascertaining whether the views of the representatives of the two countries offered a basis for the negotiation of a new treaty.

I will only touch upon the fact that the United States and Turkey are not and have not been at war and that under international law the treaties between the two countries cannot be considered suspended or terminated. Nevertheless the Government of the United States is not unwilling to revise its treaty relationship with Turkey and in the event of receiving satisfactory assurances regarding the several matters described in general terms below, it is ready to recognize formally the abolition of the capitulations and to assure to the citizens of Turkey a treatment as favorable as that accorded by it to any other peace convention [power’s citizens?].

It is obvious that the United States confidently looks for a willingness on the part of Turkey to give to American nationals in all respects treatment as favorable as the Turkish Government is willing to give to nationals of the Principal Allied Powers. We expect you to be willing to sign with us conventions substantially similar to those to be signed with the Allied Powers on “établissement” and regarding commerce. The declaration concerning the administration of justice would by its terms apply to the United States. Regarding schools and other American institutions in Turkey we presume that a letter substantially the same as the one to be addressed to the Allied chief delegates by His Excellency Ismet Pasha, would also be addressed to the appropriate representatives of the United States.

There are several other matters in which we are greatly interested and which would naturally require consideration in connection with provisions for the resumption of diplomatic relations and the revision of existing treaties. Among these I may mention naturalization, claims, and the functions of consular officers. To show more definitely the sort of provisions which we have in mind as appropriate for incorporation in new treaties or conventions relating to these matters, I will hand you certain extracts from treaties which we have made with other countries concerning the same matters. You will of course understand that I am not suggesting the use of identical provisions in treaties or conventions between the United States and Turkey.

In conclusion let me state that this description of the American view is not made with a thought of finally accepting something less. We think that neither our position under international law nor our position in world affairs nor our proven attitude in Turkey permit us to discuss whether we would abstain from [accept] something less than you are willing to accord other nations.”

After listening to the reading of the statement the Turkish representative asserted that there was no disposition on the part of his Government to deny the United States as favorable a treatment as will be accorded to the Allies. But the idea which the Turkish delegation had in mind was, he said, to build up a series of new treaties, inasmuch as the revision of existing treaties might present difficulties since those treaties were in part, at least, capitulatory.
He asked us to explain more precisely the meaning of the statement that the United States would accord Turkey most-favored-nation treatment, remarking that the American doctrine on the subject differed from that of European countries. The American practice, he understood, was to grant particular privileges only to those countries which granted similar or equivalent privileges to the United States. In reply we explained that the United States had recently modified its doctrine of most-favored-nation treatment, and that it was now possible to assure him that the United States could accord unconditional most-favored-nation treatment to Turkey on the basis of reciprocity between the two countries. An exception to the above statement was Cuba, toward which the United States holds a special relationship.
The view was expressed by Mustafa Cherif Bey that the text of the proposed treaty could be taken at once under consideration. We replied that in order to avoid any misunderstanding with regard to the present conversation, we felt that we ought not to reply to his proposal until we had communicated to him the minutes of the present meeting.
As regards the Montagna formula,62 Mustafa Cherif expressed the hope that we would be able to support the Turkish view. To which we replied that this question should be referred to the consideration of the plenipotentiaries and that Mr. Grew would be informed of Mustafa Cherif Bey’s observation.
The proposal was made by Mustafa Cherif Bey that our negotiations might commence with an examination of the provisions for établissement and commerce in the conventions with the Allies. Special questions such as the resumption of diplomatic and consular relations would also have to be considered.
It was explained to Mustafa Cherif that our negotiations were the subject of inquiry by representatives of the press, and that a statement to the press might now be advisable since our preliminary pourparlers seemed to have reached a satisfactory stage. This was of course a matter to be decided upon by His Excellency Ismet Pasha and Mr. Grew, and we offered to submit a draft statement for the consideration of His Excellency Ismet Pasha together with the present procès-verbal.

Proposed communiqué to the press (for release 24 hours after mutual agreement):63

Informal conversations have been proceeding between Ismet Pasha and Mr. Grew and between the experts of the American and Turkish [Page 1069] delegations with a view to finding a suitable basis upon which formal negotiations for the revision of the treaties between the United States and Turkey could be commenced with the prospect of a satisfactory result.

It is envisaged that such a revision while preparing the way for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, would entail the conclusion of instruments regulating the commerce between the two countries, as well as the situation of the nationals of each country in the territory of the other. It might also involve the conclusion of agreements in regard to naturalization, claims, and consular functions.

These informal conversations are progressing favorably and have furnished ground for the belief that formal negotiations can be entered upon at an early date.

  1. Statement not paraphrased.
  2. Ante, p. 995.
  3. Communiqué not paraphrased.