740.0011 European War 1939/27634: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Matthews) to the Secretary of State

691. For the President. My 686, January 26, 11 p.m. The Foreign Office has shown me a telegram from the British Ambassador at Ankara reporting that President Inönü has expressed great satisfaction at the prospect of a meeting with Prime Minister Churchill. Inönü said he would be glad to arrange such a meeting anywhere on Turkish territory. If the meeting should take place elsewhere he said the Turkish Constitution would require the appointment of a temporary successor to the President during his absence from Turkey. Such an appointment would necessitate consultation with the Turkish Parliament and hence secrecy would be most difficult to maintain. If Churchill prefers that the meeting take place outside Turkey President Inönü will be glad to send his Prime Minister, accompanied by Chief of the Turkish General Staff.5

The Foreign Office finds this reply unexpectedly satisfactory. However, it has little confidence in Turkish security arrangements and Eden6 will probably urge that the meeting be held at the place originally suggested with Saraçoğlu.

Incidentally, Foreign Office feels that since the Turks have shown “sufficient courage” to accept your and Churchill’s invitation with alacrity they probably reason that the British Prime Minister would not wish to return to London without some tangible agreement and that hence the meeting presents a golden opportunity for the Turks to obtain some of the good things they want from the Allies. The Turks, I am told, are also displaying a healthy anxiety over the unpleasant possibilities for Turkey of an Allied peace table at which she has no chair.

  1. Marshal Fevzi Cakmak.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.