740.0011 European War, 1939/19863a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt)

68. With the approval of the President the Department requests you to approach the Turkish Foreign Office in the following matter:

On December 12 in the case of Rumania and December 13 in the case of Hungary and Bulgaria the Governments of Rumania, Hungary, and Bulgaria notified this Government that a state of war exists between Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria, respectively, and the United States. It was the view of this Government that the Governments of Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria had been obliged to take this action under duress and at the instigation of other powers at war with the United States, and further that this action was contrary to the will of the majority of the peoples of the countries in question. Accordingly, the Congress of the United States has not made corresponding declarations of war against them, nor has the President issued proclamations in the matter.

This Government has viewed with increasing concern the aid given by Rumania, Hungary, and Bulgaria to the enemies of the United States and is constrained to assume that agreement has been given by them to the continuance of this participation in the war against the United States and the other United Nations. This Government has, therefore, the intention of declaring a state of war between the United States and the Governments of Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria, respectively, unless in some definite form these Governments severally give prompt evidence that they will not engage in military aid or operations of assistance to the Axis powers.

In consulting with the Turkish Government in this matter the President and the Government of the United States have had very much in mind the complete and long standing identity of views of our two Governments regarding questions involving the peaceful relations among European nations, and the restriction of hostilities to areas which unhappily are already engaged. This Government feels that it should make known to the Turkish Government its intentions as outlined above, for such comment as the Turkish Government may care to make, and at the same time inquires whether the Turkish Government would be disposed to undertake some informal action through which these views may become known to the Governments of Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

You may communicate the foregoing textually but informally to the Turkish Foreign Office, expressing this Government’s appreciation of whatever consideration the Turkish Government may find that it [Page 836]can appropriately give to the matter. You may add that further communications of a formal nature would be transmitted through the Government representing the interests of the United States in the respective countries.

Welles