767.68119/869: Telegram (part air)

The Consul at Geneva ( Gilbert ) to the Secretary of State

147. Consulate’s despatch 956, political, July 12th last.2

1. After discussing the resolution relating to German rearmament the Turkish representation in the Council meeting today made a statement3 in regard to Turkey’s attitude towards the Straits Convention4 of the following substance:

He reminded the Council that the Treaty of Lausanne5 included clauses limiting the means of defense of one part of Turkey. In Thrace the limitation applied also to Greece and Bulgaria. He would refer therefore only to the Bosphorus concerning which the military clauses were discriminatory in character as they involved no counterpart and thus established an unfair situation to the detriment of Turkey in spite of change in the circumstances that had given rise to them. If changes were envisaged in application military systems Turkey would be obliged to make her acceptance depending on a modification of the provisions relating to the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Under a system of perfect equality Turkey offered full security to all and was ready to accept any agreement that might be desired. He did not wish to go into this question now but desired to make Turkey’s attitude clear any changes respecting the Straits would not of course affect the freedom thereof.

2. The representatives of Great Britain,6 Italy7 and France8 in turn immediately expressed reservations on the subject at the same [Page 1027] time observing that the question had no direct connection with the matter before them and that it had not been raised formally by the Turkish representative.9

3. Litvinov10 declared that his country would place no difficulty in the way of the realization of Turkish desires.

4. The Turkish statement is interpreted here as a forewarning if the future negotiations should include a revision of the military clauses of the Treaties of Saint Germain,11 Trianon12 and Neuilly.13

  1. Ibid., p. 976.
  2. For text of the Turkish statement, see League of Nations, Official Journal, May 1935, p. 562.
  3. Signed at Lausanne July 24, 1923, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxviii, p. 117.
  4. Convention Respecting the Thraeian Frontier, signed at Lausanne July 24, 1923, ibid., p. 141.
  5. Sir John Simon.
  6. Baron Pompeo Aloisi.
  7. Pierre Laval and Rene Massigli.
  8. Tevfik Rüstü Aras, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  9. Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  10. Signed September 10, 1919, Treaties, Conventions, etc., Between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1910–1923 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1923), vol. iii, p. 3149.
  11. Signed June 4, 1920, ibid., p. 3539.
  12. Signed November 27, 1919, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxii, p. 781.