740.0011 European War 1939/20328: Telegram

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

158. In the course of a visit this morning to Numan Bey14 he handed me a note containing the Foreign Minister’s15 reply to the inquiry contained in the Department’s telegram under reference.16 The substance of the reply is as follows: The Foreign Minister has given careful consideration to the communication received and thanks the President and the Government of the United States for the friendly confidence which they have evidenced towards the Turkish Government in consulting it on a question of undeniable importance. His opinion on the subject is as follows: The Bulgarian, Hungarian and Rumanian Governments having already manifested their complete solidarity with the Axis by their declarations of war against the United States it would be difficult to assume that these same Governments out of fear of a formal declaration of war by the United States could retract their position. It is certain that in taking so grave a step these Governments must have considered similar action by the United States as one of the most inevitable consequences of their declaration of war. In making this objective exposé of the situation the Foreign Minister hopes to have replied in the most friendly spirit to the question raised by the Government of the United States. He feels that he should add that the position of Turkey does not permit it to intervene in a question, the gravity of which requires that the directly interested countries should be the sole judges of the consequences of their position.

  1. Numan Menemencioğlu, Secretary General of the Turkish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Şükrü Saraçoğlu, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Apparently reference is to telegram No. 72, March 6, 9 p.m., to the Ambassador in Turkey, requesting a report as soon as possible regarding the reaction of the Turkish Government to the proposal set forth in telegram No. 68, supra (740.0011 European War 1939/19863a Suppl.).