The Under Secretary of State ( Grew ) to Senator Charles Curtis

Dear Senator Curtis: In accordance with your request, I am sending you enclosed a statement of the outstanding reasons why we believe the Treaty with Turkey should be ratified. I have endeavored to make it as brief as possible without sacrificing a clear presentation of the situation.

If you desire to have this statement mimeographed and will send me a telephone message as to how many copies you wish, I can have them struck off and sent to you immediately.

Sincerely yours,

Joseph C. Grew
[Page 980]

A Statement of the Outstanding Reasons Why the Treaty With Turkey Should Be Ratified

Our old treaties with Turkey do us no good now. They cannot be effectively invoked to protect our interests in Turkey at the present time. They are incomplete and out of date. Every American working in Turkey knows this and has said so.
There is no use talking about retaining the Capitulations unless we are willing to go to war with Turkey to enforce them. Their abolition has been recognized by all the other countries which have concluded treaties with the present Government of Turkey, including all of the great Powers except the United States.8
All the Americans in Turkey, representing religious, philanthropic, educational and business interests, want the new treaty ratified. They see no reason why the work to which they and their predecessors have given many years of effort should be lightly thrown overboard by the failure of ratification.
The rejection of the treaty will not help the Greeks and Armenians in Turkey. On the contrary, it will simply mean that American influence in Turkey will be reduced to zero and any opportunity to exert moral support in behalf of the Minorities will be entirely lost.
It is impossible, except by going to war, to detach from Turkey any territory for an Armenian home and we are under no obligations, legal or moral, to do so. The Treaty of Sevres was never ratified and we were not even a signatory.9 President Harding, according to the American Committee opposed to the Lausanne Treaty, said no more than “What may be done (for the Armenian cause) will be done.” The Committee has never given out the full text of the letter.10
Our new Treaty with Turkey gives to Americans and their interests in Turkey exactly as favorable treatment as is accorded to any other foreigners the Governments of which have concluded treaties with the present Turkish Government. Twenty-seven Powers have concluded such treaties.
Opinions regarding modern Turkey may differ but this has nothing to do with ratification of the Treaty. If there was no ethical impropriety in our having formal treaty and diplomatic relations with the Governments of Abdul-Hamid and of the Young Turks, why should this impropriety be considered to exist now? Certainly, the Turkey of Mustapha Kemal Pasha is not worse than the Turkey of Abdul-Hamid and of the Young Turks. Even Mr. Morgenthau as late as April 5, 1917 urged that diplomatic relations with Turkey should not be severed.11
  1. See letter of May 5, 1924, from the Secretary of State to Senator Lodge, Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. ii, p. 715.
  2. For text of treaty signed Aug. 10, 1920, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxiii, p. 652.
  3. For full text of the letter referred to, see letter of Nov. 10, 1922, from President Harding’s secretary to the chairman of the American Committee for Independence of Armenia, post, p. 991. The extract from the letter which the American Committee Opposed to the Lausanne Treaty printed in its publication entitled The Lausanne Treaty: Turkey and Armenia (n. p., 1926), p. 118, reads, in full: “… Everything which may be done will be done in seeking to protect the Armenian people and preserve to them the rights which the Sevres Treaty undertook (Wilson award) to bestow.” For the Wilson award, see Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. iii, p. 790.
  4. Henry Morgenthau, retired as Ambassador to Turkey in July 1916; see telegram No. 3495, Apr. 6, 1917, to the Ambassador in Turkey, Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 2, vol. i, p. 11.