The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State

No. 156

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s despatch No. 102 of August 11, 1936,29 and other correspondence regarding the new regime of the Straits as the result of the Montreux Conference, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a note received from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey on November 12, 1936, together with an English translation thereof.29

The note informs the diplomatic missions accredited to Ankara that, the proper number of instruments of ratification of the Powers signatory to the Montreux Convention having been deposited in the archives of the Government of the Republic of France, the provisions of the Montreux Convention became definitively effective on November 9, 1936.

The note was delivered to the Embassy during the morning of November 12. That afternoon I had an appointment with Dr. Tevfik Rüştü Aras, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Early in the course of general conversation, I took occasion to congratulate the Minister on the definitive coming into force of the Montreux Convention, as notified in the Ministry’s circular note of November 11; and I inquired whether, as reported in the press, it was the intention of the Turkish Government to make official publication of the documents. He said that such a publication was in course of preparation, and that he would gladly send me a copy. In thanking him, I remarked that if he should see fit to communicate it to me under cover [Page 529] of a note, his doing so would forestall and set at rest any question that might arise as to the intentions of the Turkish Government concerning our participation in the benefits of the Convention. He at once volunteered to make such a formal signed communication,30 by way of further assurance such as he had already given me orally (see memorandum of conversation with him, July 25, transmitted to the Department in Embassy’s No. 90, July 29); and he went on to say that he had already gone further than merely giving individual assurances to us and to other nations not signatory to the Convention—he had, in reporting it to the Grand National Assembly and asking ratification in behalf of the Turkish Government, explained that it embodies a recognition of the principle of free commercial navigation of the Straits and that such recognition is therefore implicit in the Turkish ratification.

Respectfully yours,

J. V. A. MacMurray
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Dated January 13, 1937, enclosed with despatch No. 209, February 5, 1937, from the Ambassador in Turkey, not printed. The official publication referred to bears the title: Actes de la Conférence de Montreux concernant le régime des Détroits, 22 juin–20 juillet 1936; Compte Rendu des Séances Plénières et Procès-verbal des Débats du Comité Technique (Liége, Belgique, 1936).

    In his reply of February 10, 1937, the Ambassador stated: “I have had much satisfaction in transmitting Your Excellency’s letter and its accompaniments to my Government, pointing out to it particularly that in your discourse [July 31, 1936] presenting the Montreux Convention to the Grand National Assembly for ratification, Your Excellency had stressed the fact that the benefits of that Convention accrue alike to the signatories and to non-signatory states, without distinction.” (767.68119/994)