The Ambassador in Turkey (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 4.]
Sir: In the course of a long visit which I paid upon Dr. Tevfik Aras, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, today, the subject of the Straits Convention came up. Dr. Aras mentioned that the regime of the Straits was still much in the Turkish mind, that the Turkish position was now well known, and that official discussions might become active at no distant date. Nevertheless, it did seem to me that he was less disposed to pursue conversations with the European Powers at present than he had been when I last talked with him on this subject. No doubt, with so many urgent problems pressing for solution and when the guaranty of protection for the Straits from the signatory Powers of the treaty is not without practical value, he is not so unwilling to allow the existing regime to remain undisturbed, at least for the present. He mentioned himself that the United States was not a party to the existing treaty and when I slipped in a question about what might be his attitude if sometime we should feel an inclination to propose an individual treaty, he indicated that we would not be likely to have special difficulties if our desires, when formulated, were limited to free transit for our vessels in time of peace and war, on the same terms as those granted to other nations.
My suggestion to the Department is that nothing be attempted for the present, but that the subject be kept in mind, to be dealt with practically when it becomes evident that the Straits Convention is to be modified.