711.672/552: Telegram

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


5. (1) From your telegram No. 3, January 27, 10 a.m., it appears that the Department wishes, if practicable, to resume diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey involving the appointment [Page 780]of Ambassadors as soon as possible and to avoid the delay involved in waiting for the exchange of ratifications of a treaty.

(2) From my conversation yesterday evening, January 29, with Tewfik Rouschdy Bey, I am led to the belief that possibly he will agree to an exchange of notes providing for the resumption of diplomatic and consular relations. In connection therewith there were tentatively developed the following points: (a) An exchange of notes; (b) a renewal of the present commercial modus vivendi for 6 months; (c) the immediate negotiation and signing of a treaty of amity; (d) a further extension of the commercial modus vivendi by a new Turkish law; (e) the appointment of an Ambassador after the 1st of next June; (f) resubmission of the Lausanne Treaty to this or the next session of Congress; and (g) negotiation of conventions which will cover all necessary future relations between the United States and Turkey.

(3) With reference to the above points:

The Minister for Foreign Affairs was agreed that an exchange of notes would afford a satisfactory basis for the resumption of diplomatic relations, but was in doubt whether it was possible under international law to accredit Ambassadors by means of a simple exchange of notes. In reply to my opinion that there were precedents for that, he consented to study the question and to make known his decision at our next meeting. Thus far I have found no pertinent precedents, and I urgently request the Department to telegraph references which may be cited as examples where this procedure has been followed in the past.
After consulting the Turkish law of January 1926, the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the present commercial modus vivendi can be renewed for another period of 6 months, but that no further renewal would be possible after August 20 next, under existing statutes.
I was given to understand by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the concluding of a treaty of amity before the present Assembly goes into recess, probably in April, [will be] co-essential to the procurement from the Assembly of the necessary authority to conclude a new modus vivendi, which would remain in force after the present [one] expires and until a definitive commercial convention is concluded.
He told me confidentially that if a treaty of amity is concluded well before the Assembly adjourns, he is virtually certain of being able to safeguard legislation referred to in point (c).
I was told by the Minister that it would not be advisable to send an Ambassador to the United States until after the 1st of next June, at which time the new fiscal year commences and before which time credits cannot be made available.
He told me that if the Government of Turkey were to be furnished with a formal statement to the effect that the action of the United States Senate on January 18 does not constitute a final disposition of the Lausanne Treaty, and, further, that if the treaty will be resubmitted to the United States Senate during the present or the next session of the Congress, the treaty will not be withdrawn from the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Grand National Assembly. That conditional upon such assurances, and when it is deemed desirable to present the treaty to the Assembly, it can be submitted with no modifications. However, he stated his rather strong conviction that inasmuch as the Lausanne Treaty was negotiated in a hasty manner and as economic conditions have changed since that time, it would be to the mutual interest of both Governments to have the treaty modified before it is definitely accepted as a basis for the future relations of the two Nations. He made the point in arguing further against the Lausanne conventions that the commercial provisions would have only some two years yet to run. Of course, I did not agree to this last contention. It appears reasonably certain now that if the present treaties should be submitted intact to the Assembly, they would only be voted with modifications or reservations.
Minister was agreed that any exchange of notes that might be made should contain stipulations for negotiating, at some future time, conventions covering the different categories and relations defined in the Lausanne Treaty and its annexes. The Minister implied that he would be disposed to consider the convention on claims of December 24, 1923,17 as coming into force only after the exchange of ratifications of the Lausanne or other commercial and supplementary conventions. He was reluctantly disposed to agree that if the Government of the United States were to furnish the statement and assurances set forth in sentence one of (f), the agreements concluded at Lausanne might be entirely inadequate to fulfill the stipulations with regard to the future accords which any such exchange of notes would necessarily call for. The comments of the Minister on these points confirm my belief that he has a marked preference for a procedure which will involve the negotiation of new conventions rather than the utilization of the Lausanne Treaty.

(4) I recommend the following as the next [step] in my negotiations: (a) That formal and concrete proposals replace the informal conversations, and that I should present such proposals as instructions from my Government; (b) then, if the Government of Turkey should favorably consider a procedure which has the character of an exchange of notes, I should suggest a protocol of agreement [Page 782]for resuming diplomatic and consular relations, which would take the general form of the protocol of a basis for the establishment of peace between the United States and Spain, signed at Washington on August 12, 1898.18 Referring to the translation of the treaty between Denmark and Turkey, which was annexed to my despatch No. 1994 dated July 19, 1926,19 article 1 of the proposed protocol would be exactly the same as article 2 of that treaty with the exception that the word “consular” would be appropriately inserted. Article 2 would become article 3 with the necessary additions to provide either for resubmitting the Lausanne Treaty or the negotiation of conventions covering the separate provisions of the Lausanne Treaty as well as extradition and naturalization conventions, and exchange of notes respecting claims. The preservation of the status quo with regard to the treatment of Americans in Turkey and the treatment of Turks in the United States would be provided for in article 3. The final draft protocol would be submitted to the Governments for their approval and authorization to sign.

(5) I submit the following in explanation of the [above?] recommendations:

I believe that the informal and personal inquiries, as well as the discussions, have now reached the point where future relations and negotiations may be prejudiced if we pursue them further. However, the Department may rest assured that I will use informal discussions and refrain from committing either the Government or myself should discretion dictate a resort to such a policy.
I suggest a protocol rather than an exchange of notes because of my belief that this more formal procedure would be more acceptable to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Also, it appears that many instances can be cited as direct precedents when a protocol has been made to serve as an agreement which has been entered into preliminary to the conclusion of definitive treaties. I have not been able, on the other hand, to find a single instance where an exchange of notes has been employed to meet a like situation.

(6) Since it will be necessary to safeguard business interests, especially now that the modus vivendi between the two countries is valid for only 3 more weeks, I urgently request that the Department give me a free hand to renew this arrangement at my earliest opportunity, irrespective of the fact that such an act might be related to other negotiations now being carried on.

  1. Telegram in three sections.
  2. See exchange of notes between the United States and Turkey providing for the establishment of a joint committee to examine claims, Dec. 24, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, pp. 1172, 1190.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1898, p. 828.
  4. Not printed, but see Commissioner’s telegram No. 3, Jan. 24, footnote 14, p. 775.