740.0011 European War 1939/10379: Telegram

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

111. [For the] Secretary and Under Secretary. In strictest secrecy my British colleagues advise me that German capture of certain demilitarized Greek islands off Dardanelles, and possibility of similar occupation and conversion into air bases of Mytilene and other islands commanding Turkish coast and vastly increasing potentialities of German air power against eventual defense of whole western area of Turkey, have prompted British Government to suggest to Greek Government that it invite Turkey take over and administer them. Anticipating Greek response to this suggestion British Ambassador has approached Turkish authorities to urge that such request, when received, be acted upon with utmost despatch. Although not finding any indication of positive opposition to this suggestion, he is fearful lest Turks will not until too late make up their minds to assume risks involved.

(2) Having discussed with me Turkish attitude as reported in my 110 yesterday,8 Hugessen9 requests that I ask you to repeat it to American Embassy, London, for possible discussion with Foreign Office.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, British Ambassador in Turkey.