767.68119/929: Telegram (part air)

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

265. Regime of the Straits.

1. A member of the British delegation to the Montreux Conference informs me that the British position vis-à-vis Russia, described in the final paragraph of my No. 254, June 26, 5 p.m., had in fact been held by the delegation in the opening days of the Conference but that the present British policy make [marks?] a definite turning toward an acceptance of the Turkish demands and also of the Russian, with some “escalator” proviso in respect of the latter to the effect that an increase beyond a certain point in the Russian Black Sea fleet would permit a proportionately larger ingress of naval units of non-Black Sea powers. He added that satisfactory conversations had been had with Litvinov and Aras along these lines.

He saw, however, a lack of fixity in any British policy in part, at least, due to possible attitudes which might be assumed by Italy and Japan. The Japanese appear to be holding stiffly to their stand as described in my telegram under reference, and there is furthermore, a general feeling in the British delegation that the attitudes of Japan or Italy, or both, might break up the Conference.

2. The Greek Minister informs me that the Balkan Entente is unitedly in support of Turkey; but that he has the impression that unless London makes some approach to Rome respecting a general Mediterranean settlement, Italy will not go to Montreux.