761.67/6–2045: Telegram

No. 685
The Ambassador in Turkey ( Wilson ) to the Acting Secretary of State

top secret
priority

822. I just talked with the Brit Amb who came here this morning from Istanbul. (Embs 817, June 181) He had seen the Acting FonMin and given him the views of the Brit Govt along the following lines: The Brit Govt felt the Turks had taken the only position open to them in refusing to discuss Molotov’s proposals. At the same time [Page 1023] it would be wise for the Turks not to be entirely negative and they should consider going back at the Russians with a proposal for a discussion of the revision of the Montreux Convention among four or five states instead of only Russia and Turkey: For instance Britain, Greece and the US if willing might participate. Brit Govt felt strongly that it would be advisable for Britain to intervene at Moscow without delay and it was hoped that the US would join in such intervention. The Amb had inquired if the Turk Govt would object to such intervention and the Acting FonMin had replied that on the contrary Turkey would welcome it and hoped the US would take similar action.

The Acting FonMin had said there were reports of Russian troop movements towards Turkey’s eastern frontier and the Turk Govt was considering calling two classes of reserves, about 180,000 men[,] back to the army. Peterson said that his Mil Attaché2 reported there was no confirmation the Russians were increasing their troops near the frontier but the mechanization of Russian units in that area had undoubtedly increased the mobility of their forces there. Peterson said he felt it unwise for the Turks to call up these reserves as this would make them look jumpy and as if they were feeling the effects of the Russian war of nerves which is just what the Russians want. He thought it unlikely that the Russians would make a move to grab these territories by force and he was considering whether he ought to advise the Turks not to call up these reserves.

Peterson said his govt had informed the US Govt fully of their views in this matter and had expressed the hope the US would join in intervention at Moscow.

1 recommend strongly that we express an interest in this matter at Moscow. The Russian proposals to Turkey are wholly incompatible with the spirit and principles on which we are seeking with the participation of the Soviet Union to set up a new world organization. While I doubt if the Russians are likely to take military action against Turkey at this time, on the eve of the Big Three Meeting I believe that prompt and firm expression of our views at Moscow will be of the greatest importance in keeping this situation from getting out of hand and in contributing to the possibilities of an ultimate solution.

Sent to Dept, rptd to Moscow as 41.

  1. Document No. 684.
  2. Major-General Allan C. Arnold.