711.672/552: Telegram

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


4. Your telegram No. 5, January 30, noon. The following references are to your paragraphs:

(1) The Government of the United States desires to resume diplomatic relations with the Government of Turkey as quickly as possible and through the appointment of Ambassadors. On this point your understanding is correct. Next June would be agreeable to the Government of the United States as the time to accredit Ambassadors.

(3) (a) The Government of the United States does not consider that any formal and written agreement, exchange of notes, protocol, convention, or treaty is a necessity, or even a usual condition, precedent to a resumption of diplomatic relations. Ambassadors and Ministers are accredited by presenting letters of credence to the Chief of State, the agréments having previously as a matter of courtesy been asked and received, and not by an exchange of notes.

The practice of the Government of the United States has been as outlined above. For instance, the Government of the United States established diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1919.20 No treaties or conventions have as yet been negotiated between this Government and those two countries. Nevertheless, in deference to Turkey’s point of view, this Government, while maintaining the position that treaty relations and diplomatic relations are not interdependent, would be prepared, in a protocol or an exchange of notes, to provide for the resumption of diplomatic and consular relations.

Certain cases where there have been exchanges of correspondence in connection with the resumption of diplomatic relations are as follows: Mexico, 1923;21 Nicaragua, 1926;22 and Brazil, 1827.23 While these notes have referred to the resumption of diplomatic relations, they have also dealt with the settlement of certain questions which were at issue between the two Governments.

(3) (b), (c) It is the understanding of the Department that the modus vivendi mentioned under (b) is the one which was negotiated first on February 18, 1926, and renewed on July 20, 1926. Further, that this modus vivendi can now be renewed for a period of 6 months from February 20, next. The modus vivendi mentioned under (c) is seemingly a new modus vivendi, identical to the first modus vivendi with respect to its scope, but having an indefinite duration from August 20, 1927, until either a new commercial convention is negotiated or the commercial clauses of the Lausanne Treaty come into effect.

[Page 784]

(3) (f) Since the Senate’s role in the ratification of treaties is advisory, the Senate’s action on January 18 with respect to the American-Turkish treaty does not constitute a final disposition of that treaty. If you so desire, you may make a formal statement to that effect to the Government of Turkey. The Executive cannot limit its freedom of action by agreeing to resubmit a treaty within a given time or even to resubmit a treaty at all. The resubmission of the American-Turkish treaty to the Senate would depend upon how opinion develops both in the Senate and throughout the country. No one, of course, can foresee this development. You may state, however, that the Executive would naturally desire to resubmit the treaty if conditions in the country so warrant.

Your recommendations are approved by the Department, and you are authorized to commence formal negotiations with the Government of Turkey for (1) a renewal of the present modus vivendi from February 20, 1927, to August 20, 1927, by means of an exchange of notes similar to the notes which were exchanged on February 18, 1926, and July 20, 1926; and (2) an exchange of notes or a protocol covering the points summarized under (b) of the recommendations in your telegram No. 5. The text of the provisions which might form the basis of either a protocol or an exchange of notes is being telegraphed to you separately by way of suggestion and for purposes of clarification.

The Department offers the following comments and suggestions in connection with the negotiation of a protocol or an exchange of notes:

Either a protocol or an exchange of notes would be satisfactory to the Department. In addition to the precedent for a protocol referred to in your telegram there is also the Boxer protocol of 1901.24 See Malloy, Treaties, II, 2006.
Would it not be possible to include a provision for the new modus vivendi mentioned by Tewfik Rouschdy Bey in the protocol or exchange of notes? See paragraph (3) (c). The Department has included in the draft protocol or exchange of notes a provision along those lines for your consideration and possible use. In avoiding any uncertainty as to our commercial rights after August 20, 1927, such a provision would be of great advantage.

The Government of the United States has every sympathy with the idea of a treaty of amity with the Government of Turkey, but it wishes to give practical effect to this idea in such a form that there can be avoided the uncertainty and delay which the provisions of the Constitution of the United States regarding treaty making inevitably entail. The views of Tewfik Rouschdy Bey would in effect and substance be fully met by the proposed protocol or exchange of notes. No effort should be spared to induce him to accept an exchange of notes or a protocol in place of a treaty of amity.

  1. See Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. ii, pp. 85 and 741, respectively.
  2. Ibid., 1923, vol. ii, p. 522.
  3. See ibid., 1926, vol. ii, footnote 35, p. 807.
  4. See American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol. vi, pp. 1021–1121.
  5. Signed at Peking, Sept. 7, 1901, Foreign Relations, 1901, Appendix (Affairs in China), p. 312.