740.0011 European War 1939/27721: Telegram
The Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 4—8:54 a.m.]
219. Though it is too soon to accurately gauge the reaction of Turk public to Churchill’s visit, as his meeting with Inönü was not announced until yesterday, the first impression is one of apprehension lest Turkey’s entry into war on side of Allies be imminent. This conviction is supported by fact that demand for gold on open market late yesterday afternoon was so great that sellers suspended sales. The non-committal tenor of the official communiqué was offset by the impressive list of high ranking military officials who attended conferences.
It is probable that if the public observes no active steps in immediate future towards Turkey’s participation in the war this uneasiness will gradually disappear while at same time the public will subsconsciously be preparing it well for future entry into the war. As the people have complete confidence in present government’s political sagacity [Page 1063] and as their sympathies are predominantly with Allies, a decision by the Government at a later date to enter the war on side of Allies would have support of vast majority of public. Fear of a seizure by Russia of Straits is so deeply rooted in consciousness of all classes that Turk public would probably welcome entry into war on side of Allies as assuring active support of United States and Great Britain against Russian aspirations.