740.0011 European War 1939/18771: Telegram

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

22. Your no. 34, January 21, 6 p.m. The pertinent portions from the Baltimore Sun article of January 8 were as follows:

“The main sour note in Turkey’s Allied relations, Mr. MacMurray said, is that nation’s relations with Russia.

‘Turkish-Russian relations have not been very cordial since the war began,’ he said, ‘and they have tended to get worse. The difficulties between the two nations have not been straightened out.’

The former Ambassador attributed the strained relations to Russia’s about-face in 1939, when the Soviets signed their sensational pact of friendship with Germany.14

‘The Turks were profoundly disillusioned,’ the diplomat said. ‘After the World War, they were very close friends—with a sort of Damon and Pythias friendship. They were both outcasts from the diplomacy of the Western World, and hence became very close.’

This, Mr. MacMurray said, made Russia’s 1939 about-face worse in Turkish eyes.

‘It was not an unfriendly act by an old enemy, but a betrayal by a close friend,’ the former envoy said.

And, to make matters worse, there was the matter of the Straits of Bosporus and the Dardanelles.

‘Reports have been public that before Germany attacked, Russia had tried to make a deal on the Straits at Turkey’s expense,’ Mr. MacMurray said.”

It has not been possible to get in touch with Mr. MacMurray since receipt of your telegram under reference. The subject has been discussed with the Turkish Ambassador, who has been furnished with a complete text of the article. The Turkish Ambassador does not find in the article anything which should disturb the Turkish or even the Russian Government. He points out that the Turkish press in June, 1941, was full of the rumors to which Mr. MacMurray referred, and that he stated merely that these reports were public.

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You may discuss the matter with the Turkish Foreign Minister, in much the same manner as we have discussed it here, and inquire whether the Turkish Government believes any useful purpose would be served in giving the matter further official notice.

An instruction is being sent to Kuibyshev authorizing discussions with the Soviet Government if considered necessary.

  1. For correspondence on the improvement of German-Soviet relations following the Treaty of Non-Aggression, signed at Moscow, August 23, 1939, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. i, pp. 539 ff. For text of treaty, see Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. vii, pp. 245–247.