No. 688
The Department of State to the British Embassy

top secret


The British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of June 181 regarding the conversation at Turkish initiative between the Turkish Ambassador and Mr. Molotov on June 7, 1945, and the Russian desires expressed in the course of this conversation with regard to concessions from Turkey, has been studied carefully by the Department of State. The Department has noted that the British Government is inclined toward an early approach to the Soviet Government in firm language, pointing out that Mr. Molotov’s statements to the Turkish Ambassador are contrary to the explicit assurances given at Yalta by Marshal Stalin. The British Embassy’s aide-mémoire indicates that on this occasion Marshal Stalin stated that he readily agreed that “appropriate assurances should be given to Turkey regarding the maintenance of her independence and integrity” and that in particular Turkey should be reassured as a preliminary to the revision of the Montreux Convention.

In accordance with the understanding reached at Yalta,2 this Government stands ready to discuss the question of the Straits at the forthcoming meeting of the Heads of Government when, presumably, the Soviet Government will present its desiderata in this connection. So far as the Department can ascertain, the conversation between Mr. Molotov and the Turkish Ambassador took place in a friendly atmosphere and was of an exploratory character. If this is the case, the Department considers it premature to protest what amounts to a preliminary exchange of views. The Department is not aware that any formal demands have been presented by the Russians to the Turks and is inclined to feel that a protest in firm language on the part of either the United States Government or the British Government might overemphasize the importance of the conversation on June 7, 1945, with the result that an unfortunate background might be created for the prospective Heads of Government talks regarding the Straits.

The Department believes that the best tactics under the circumstances as they are now understood would be to treat the conversation between Mr. Molotov and the Turkish Ambassador as a matter not calling for special action because the forthcoming meeting of the [Page 1028] Heads of Government is so close at hand. In any case, this Government would not wish to appear as having reached any decision on this question prior to the Heads of Government meeting.

The Turkish Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs has also outlined the general situation to the American Ambassador at Ankara and has requested the view of this Government. In its reply to the Turkish Government, the Department will express the hope that future conversations between the Russian and Turkish authorities will be conducted in accordance with the principles of the International Security Organization, to which this Government is pledged, and will continue in a friendly atmosphere.

J[oseph] C. G[rew]
  1. Attachment to document No. 683.
  2. See vol. ii, document No. 1416, section xiv .
  3. The file copy bears the following manuscript notation: “Handed in at British Embassy by G L[ewis] J[ones] at 7:35 pm June 23.”