740.0011 European War 1939/18771: Telegram

The Chargé in Turkey (Kelley) to the Secretary of State

34. Referring to the Tass press despatch forwarded yesterday and the German communiqué forwarded today relating to an alleged statement of Ambassador MacMurray13 published in the Baltimore Sun, I consider it highly important that a categorical denial of this statement appear in the Turkish press as soon as possible. This might take the form of a denial made by Ambassador MacMurray or a statement made by you at a press conference which would be published by the Anatolian Agency as a news item coming from the United States or a letter written by myself to the Anatolian Agency for publication in the Turkish press.

As the Department will have observed this alleged statement has been seized upon by German propaganda agencies for utilization in the campaign which they have been carrying on to arouse enmity towards the Soviet Union. Turkish-Soviet relations constitute the weakest link in the chain binding Turkey to Great Britain and it is of the utmost importance, in my opinion, that we do everything feasible to diminish if not to eliminate entirely the distrust and suspicion of Moscow existing among the Turkish leaders. The British Ambassador has been working for many months with this object in view and he is quite disturbed that the Germans have now been given a weapon which they can make use of to aggravate Turkish suspicion of Moscow just at a time when he and his Government felt that they were making some progress in diminishing Turkish mistrust on this point. While the Turkish Government has apparently not permitted any comment on the Tass communiqué to appear in the Turkish press, [Page 812]Turkish newspaper readers among whom there exists already considerable suspicion of Russian aspirations with regard to the Dardanelles and anxiety with regard to role which Moscow will seek to play in nourishing [post-] war Europe, will undoubtedly draw conclusions of a nature calculated to facilitate German propaganda against Moscow.

Kelley
  1. John Van A. MacMurray, Ambassador to Turkey, on home leave in the United States prior to resigning; Laurence A. Steinhardt, Ambassador in the Soviet Union, was transferred to Turkey where he assumed charge on March 5, 1942.