867.20/101: Telegram

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

22. My telegram No. 17, February 25, 2 p.m.88 In a radio address last night the Prime Minister warned his countrymen against the [Page 458] tendentious rumors circulating, especially abroad, relative to Turkey’s relations with the Soviet Union and the putting into effect of the law for national protection. He denounced the reports to the effect that the putting into force of this law was a prelude to mobilization or to preparations for war. With regard to Turkey’s relations with the Soviet Union he declared that, “there has been no change for six months in our relations with the Soviet Union. We are living in an age when everybody keeps secret his intentions. At this time a person cannot give much assurance about anyone except himself. But I shall say courageously that we have never been disposed to undertake any action whatsoever against the Soviet Union. And since nobody asks us to take such action will the Soviet Union undertake direct action against us? Up to the present there is no evidence to cause us to suppose such an eventuality. You see therefore that the rumors according to which an incident will arise between the Soviet Union and us, rumors which recently have been amplified, are without foundation and of a tendentious character.”89

The Prime Minister declared that there were no secrets nor uncertainties connected with Turkish policy. “Our obligations are clear. Our aims and objectives are definite. Our policy to keep out of the war is based on national security. It does not tend and will not tend in the future to be the instrument of, nor favorable to, any kind of combination. We follow with deep regret the wars which are ravaging the world. It would be taking serious and grave events too lightly to think that there would be an advantage for Turkey in the development of the wars in this or that direction.”

Repeated to Moscow.

For the Ambassador:
  1. Not printed; Ambassador MacMurray here stated that recently there had emanated from Ankara “a flood of sensational and irresponsible stories which have not seemed to be worth denial.” (867.20/100)
  2. In a general description of Turkish international policy or attitudes which the Ambassador sent in his telegram No. 22, March 6, noon, from Istanbul, he summarized Turkish feeling regarding the Soviet Union in these words: “Towards Soviet Russia they feel the peculiar bitterness of disillusionment by those on whose friendship they had relied, and along with it a possibly exaggerated contempt for a nation which they consider neither morally nor materially prepared to make war on any considerable scale. There is, however, an effort to keep up appearances and avoid needless antagonism or irritation of Russia.” (867.20/103)