767.94/12–1544: Telegram

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

1180. 1. The British Embassy handed the Department a paraphrase of a telegram80 from Mr. Eden81 to Lord Halifax82 dated November 24, which states that previous objections to the idea of requesting the Turkish Government to break relations with Japan have now disappeared. The message states that a good example has been set by Rumania and Bulgaria breaking relations with Japan under pressure from the British and American Governments and that the Soviet Government, particularly at the Moscow Conference,83 [Page 901] made it clear that the USSR was not inclined to be tender towards Japan. Eden adds that he favors a combined Anglo-American request to the Turkish Government to take this step, outside the scope of the Anglo-Turkish Alliance,84 but based on the desirability of Turkey helping to shorten the war by making a concrete contribution to the Allied victory against Japan. The message states that our Governments could point out, apart from this consideration, that Turkey lies along the route between the Far East and Great Britain and that important Japanese points of observation of Allied operations would be removed by the rupture of Turkey’s relations with Japan. In closing Mr. Eden expresses the view that at this stage Turkey should not be asked to declare war on Japan because he feels certain that Turkey would refuse on the justified grounds that Turkey could make no contribution to operations against the Japanese.

2. This message was sent to the Secretary of War85 and to the Secretary of the Navy86 on November 29, with request for their views as to the desirability of asking Turkey to sever diplomatic relations with Japan.

3. Identical replies have now been received from the War and Navy Departments stating that after studying the situation it has been found that there are a number of considerations which would make such a break advantageous from the point of view of our over-all military operations and that the two Departments know of no military disadvantage which would flow from Turkey’s taking this step. The letters urged that the representations referred to by Mr. Eden should be made to the Turkish Government.

4. In view of the foregoing you are authorized to act in concert with your British colleague87 and, as soon as the latter receives similar instructions from London, to take this question up with the Turkish authorities in the manner agreed between you as the most effective.

5. The suggestion has been made that the Turks might wish to go beyond a break in diplomatic relations and, having in mind the acquisition thereby of belligerent status, to declare war on Japan. In the circumstances the Department considers it most unlikely that the Turks will suggest this. However, if they should do so, the Department sees no particular reason why they should be discouraged in this connection provided no additional burden on Allied resources will be thereby involved.

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6. The British Embassy here is being advised of the foregoing. Sent Ankara, repeated to London, and to Moscow.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. British Ambassador in the United States.
  4. For correspondence concerning the Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers held at Moscow, October 18–November 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 513 ff.
  5. Treaty of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom, France, and Turkey, signed at Ankara, October 19, 1939, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cc, p. 167; British Cmd. 6165, Treaty Series No. 4 (1940).
  6. Henry L. Stimson.
  7. James V. Forrestal.
  8. Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen.