761.67/267: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

247. In the course of a conversation yesterday the Turkish Ambassador91 informed me that he is leaving Moscow on March 10 for a [Page 460] purely personal visit to Bucharest and Belgrade and perhaps to Ankara for a few days and that his trip has no political significance.

In respect of Soviet-Turkish relations the Ambassador told me that there have been no border incidents on the Russian-Turkish frontier since the end of September and that reports of such incidents which he said had been spread by the Stefani Agency were clearly for the purpose of endeavoring to foment trouble between the Soviet Union and Turkey.

The Ambassador stated that in his opinion as a result of the conflict with Finland and world reaction thereto the Soviet Government had now adopted a much more sober attitude toward its relations with neutral countries and that this change had been particularly noticeable in Molotov;92 that at the present time the Soviet Government is desirous of avoiding any further impairment of its relations with neutral countries. In this connection the Ambassador stated that although there had been no Soviet attempt to resume the conversations with Turkey since their collapse last October, presumably because the Soviet Government realized that in view of Turkish commitments to England and France any such negotiations would be fruitless, he nevertheless believed that at the present time the Soviet Government is extremely fearful of the outbreak of war in the Black Sea area and has consequently shown a disposition to placate Turkey. With reference to Soviet alarm over possible developments in the Black Sea area the Ambassador confirmed the arrival of German mines at Odessa as well as the shipment of heavy armament from Germany to Sevastopol (see my telegrams Nos. 231, March 1, 7 [6] p.m.; and 236, March 4, 3 p.m.).93

In conclusion the Ambassador informed me in the strictest confidence that the recent meeting of the Balkan Entente had been more successful than was generally supposed and that both Germany and the Soviet Union were somewhat concerned at the results achieved; that on the initiative of the Turkish Government an agreement in principle had been reached providing for the ultimate cession of at least a part of the Dobrudja to Bulgaria and that the Turkish Foreign Minister had been authorized to convey this information to the King of Bulgaria who had received the news with evident satisfaction. The agreement concerning the Dobrudja is not to be made public and no steps will be taken at the present time to give effect thereto in order to avoid stirring up the Soviet claims to Bessarabia, and Hungarian claims to Transylvania. In agreement with the Bulgarians it has been decided to await a more appropriate time before undertaking to define the arrangement.

  1. Ali Haydar Aktay.
  2. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  3. Neither printed.