711.672/490a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the High Commissioner in Turkey (Bristol)


43. No action will be taken by the Senate upon the American-Turkish treaty before adjournment. The Department has drafted the following instructions in order that you may meet the situation which will be created when Turkey finds out that the Senate has adjourned without taking action on the treaty. If you believe that these instructions should be supplemented or modified in any way, immediately telegraph Department stating your reasons. If these instructions as drafted meet with your approval, they will become effective the day following the adjournment of Congress. The Department will inform you regarding the date of adjournment as soon as it has been set, and also the date in December when the treaty will be taken up. The Department’s instructions are as follows:

You should go immediately to Angora and confer with Ismet Pasha12 and Tewfik Rouchdi Bey.13 You will say to them that Congress adjourned on . . . . . without being able to consider the American-Turkish treaty. Before the Senate adjourned, however, it agreed that the American-Turkish treaty should be taken up as unfinished business on December … You should lay special emphasis upon the definite and fixed character of this date, pointing out to them that, for the first time, a place on the calendar has been given to this treaty. You will explain that the Department of State believes that the treaty stands a very much better chance of being ratified in December than now since public opinion is growing stronger in favor of the treaty and of the friendliest relations with [Page 982] Turkey. You will emphasize the Department’s natural desire to have the treaty considered only at a time when its chances of receiving the advice and consent of the Senate are greatest. You will add that the Administration will do all in its power to further ratification.

If you think that offensive-defensive tactics would serve any useful purpose, you may say to Ismet Pasha and to Tewfik Rouchdi Bey that since the Grand National Assembly adjourned on June 10 without taking any action on the American-Turkish treaty and will not reconvene until November, that fact embarrassed the Department at the last moment in urging immediate action on the treaty to the Senate, especially in view of the large number of important domestic measures pending in the Senate, most of which have received no action because of lack of time. If you so desire, you may also add that the fact that the Allied Treaty of Lausanne was ratified on August 23, 1923, seventeen days after it was signed,14 while the Assembly failed to take affirmative action on the American-Turkish treaty over a period of almost 3 years, and the fact that the Assembly has adjourned, have given rise to a situation which the Department was obliged to take into consideration and one which has not been conducive to a rapid development of normal relations between the two countries, which this Government so earnestly desires to see established as quickly as possible. You will state emphatically, however, that despite this situation, the Government of the United States wishes to approach the problem of the relations between the two Nations in a constructive and positive manner, and it would sincerely regret any change in the friendly character of the relations which have existed since you have been the representative of the President of the United States in Turkey. You should say that it has always been your feeling that the Government of Turkey held similar views in this regard and that the recent sending of a Turkish consul general to New York has confirmed this opinion.

You should emphasize in appropriate terms the fact that Turkey has an interest from the economic standpoint in maintaining cordial relations with this country. For example, you should point out that should our fig and tobacco markets be open to the products of Turkey on less favorable terms than at the present time, the economic consequences in Turkey could not fail to be other than unfortunate. If you should think it wise, you may refer more directly to the powers given to the President to impose additional duties or to forbid importation under sections 316 and 317 of the Tariff Act of 192215 to enable the Government of the United States to meet discrimination against American products. You should not convey the impression that a threat is being made, but, rather, that you are exploring the future in order to bring out frankly and objectively every latent possibility. The foregoing is sent to you by way of preface to the principal result which it is hoped you will be able to achieve through your interview with Ismet Pasha and Tewfik Rouchdi Bey, that is, the renewal for an additional period of 6 months from August 20, 1926, of the modus vivendi of February 18, 1926.16 If it were not [Page 983] for the Turkish law of December 12, 1925, which seemingly provides that the maximum duration of provisional commercial agreements shall be for 6 months, the Department would prefer to have the agreement renewed for a period of 8 months, for under the most favorable circumstances the American-Turkish treaty can hardly enter into force prior to April 1927. The Department realizes fully the delicacy of this negotiation and therefore does not wish to impede you by giving you too precise instructions as to how to introduce this subject into your conversations at Angora. It would be best for you to make it clear when you discuss the matter of renewing the modus vivendi that you are doing so in your personal capacity and not acting under instructions from your Government. You might say that the renewal in your opinion seems to be clearly in the interest of both countries and that you should like to make recommendations to your Government in that sense. Article I of the law of December 12, 1925, appears specifically to authorize the Council of Ministers to renew provisional commercial agreements, at least once. (See Law 691, page 49, volume IV, part 2. Turkish legislation published by Rizzo.) Without doubt you will be able to make good use of this provision of the law.

If, during the conversations at Angora, the question of the attitude of the Government of the United States towards the abolition of the capitulations should come up, you will say that this question as a practical matter has not arisen during the past few years.

The following is for your information and guidance. At the present time the Department does not desire to consider the matter of resuming diplomatic and consular relations with Turkey and appointing an ambassador. We fear that if Turkey should propose to appoint an ambassador to the United States, we should be obliged to do the same, which procedure might affect adversely the ratification of the treaty, because certain Senators now state that they can see no reason why we should not resume diplomatic relations immediately and proceed under the old treaty which they claim is still in effect. Although it is not likely that Turkey will propose such resumption, you should keep in mind the possibility of this embarrassing situation. The United States desires to avoid any overtures from Turkey which would bring up the matter of resuming diplomatic and consular relations.

  1. Turkish Premier.
  2. Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. The treaty was signed July 24, 1923; League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxviii.
  4. 42 Stat. 858, 943, 944.
  5. Post, pp. 9991000.