Memorandum by the American Delegate to the Turkish-American Claims Commission (Shaw) of a Conversation With the Turkish Delegate (Sevki Bey) on December 30, 193314

Sevki Bey having informed me that he was leaving for Istanbul tonight, I called on him this morning at the Ankara Palace Hotel. I had not previously brought the contents of the Department’s telegram No. 63, December 8, 5 P.M., to the attention of the Turks on the theory that the Department intended “in a few days” to furnish me with the minimum amount they would accept as a lump sum settlement and I would then be in a much stronger position in talking with [Page 906]the Turks. However, in view of a personal letter which I received yesterday from Mr. Murray and also on account of Sevki Bey’s departure, I told him that the reaction of Washington to the Turkish counterproposal of a lump sum settlement of $500,000 was distinctly and emphatically negative. I said that the Department had stated that it would communicate to me shortly a minimum amount acceptable to it and that I hoped to be able to pass on this information to Sevki Bey at Istanbul before my departure on leave, about the middle of January. I then went on to say that the Turkish claims were not at all like the war debts, which could be reduced by governmental action without obviously prejudicing the rights of individual citizens. These claims were very clearly a matter of the rights of individual citizens, and, naturally, great pressure was brought to bear on the Department, both by the individuals concerned and by their friends, political and otherwise. Sevki Bey said he quite understood this, particularly as concerns the claims of naturalized citizens of Ottoman origin. I said I did not refer to this category at all, but to the category of claims of native-born American citizens and of American corporations. I said that this category—it was now estimated—amounted to some $15,000,000. I pointed out that according to information that I had just received from Washington one claim alone, which had been carefully examined by the legal advisers of the Department and the proof of which was thoroughly perfected, amounted to some $2,000,000. I said that this was the claim of MacAndrews and Forbes and came under the classification of requisitions. I said that each of the three assistants to the Legal Adviser in Chargé of claims had recently been requested to select, from among the many claims these gentlemen had examined, the seven strongest and most effectively proved claims. The total amount involved in the 21 claims so selected had been $7,000,000. Sevki Bey took note of the MacAndrews & Forbes claim. He said he would probably proceed in a few weeks’ time to his post at Madrid and then return in the spring for the closing of the work of the Mixed Commission. That work will terminate under the recently concluded Convention by about September 1.

  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Turkey in his despatch No. 87, January 8, 1934; received January 31.