701.6711/11–1144: Telegram

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

1026. The President today is telegraphing following directly to President Inönü:7

“I send you my sincerest condolences in connection with the death of your Ambassador to this country and personal friend, Mehmet Münir Ertegün.8 You must be proud of his able record here and the officials of this Government who have learned to appreciate Ambassador Ertegün’s personal integrity and noble and kindly spirit share in your loss. It is with particular sadness that I send to you, and through you to the Government and to the people of Turkey, the deep [Page 916] regret of my country upon the death of such a distinguished Turkish citizen and public servant.”9

President’s statement to the press is as follows:

“I am deeply grieved at the news of the sudden death of my personal friend the Turkish Ambassador, Mehmet Münir Ertegün.

Turkish interests in this country have been ably represented by him for more than ten years and during this period I, along with hundreds of others both in and out of the Government, have come to esteem him as a diplomat of the highest type—kindly, sincere and accomplished. His personal integrity was outstanding. I am sending my condolences to President Inönü of Turkey, in the loss of such an able servant of the Turkish Government. My own Government feels this loss deeply.”

The Acting Secretary10 is telegraphing following directly to Foreign Minister:11

“On behalf of Secretary Hull and myself I send you our deepest sympathy. The death of Mehmet Münir Ertegün has filled us with a sincere and deep sorrow, a sorrow which we share with his hundreds of friends in this country. His kindly and noble spirit and his great ability have given him a beloved position both in and out of Government circles. His loss will not be forgotten. For more than ten years he has represented Turkish interests in the United States with skill and honesty and all of us in the Department of State will miss his many high qualities.”9

The Acting Secretary’s statement to the press is as follows:

“I have just returned from a call at the Turkish Embassy to express my sincere condolences to the family and staff of the late Turkish Ambassador, His Excellency Mehmet Münir Ertegün, who died this morning. I am speaking for all of his many friends in the Department of State when I say that his death has filled us with a deep sense of personal loss.

“For more than ten years Ambassador Ertegün, or Münir Bey, as he was known to his many intimate friends, has ably represented the interests of Turkey in the United States, and his invariably fair dealings and high personal integrity, his great personal charm, and his unfailing cooperation have given him an almost unique place among the diplomats in Washington. Since the death of the Peruvian Ambassador last April, he has been the distinguished Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. His kindly spirit, illuminated by his conviction that the nations in the world not only should but could follow the way of peace, will not be forgotten. He must have taken considerable satisfaction in the fact that American-Turkish relations have been most cordial throughout his tour of duty in this country.

“In the death of Ambassador Ertegün the Republic of Turkey has lost one of its most able public servants.”

[Page 917]

The Secretary, who is absent from Washington, was grieved to learn of the death of his old friend and has requested you to convey in his name a message expressing his personal condolences to the Foreign Minister.


[Acknowledgments were made to the appropriate officials by the Turkish President and the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs on November 13. In a statement released to the press on March 6, 1946 (Department of State Bulletin, March 17, 1946, page 447), it was announced by the Department that the late Ambassador’s remains were being returned with full honors to Turkey on board the U.S.S. Missouri, with destroyer escort.]

  1. Ismet Inönü, President of the Turkish Republic.
  2. The Turkish Ambassador died early on the morning of November 11, 1944.
  3. Message released to the press, November 11, 1944, Department of State Bulletin, November 12, 1944, p. 570.
  4. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
  5. Hasan Saka.
  6. Message released to the press, November 11, 1944, Department of State Bulletin, November 12, 1944, p. 570.