761.67/6–2545: Telegram

No. 690
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Acting Secretary of State


2263. Member of my staff yesterday talked with Turkish Amb about Soviet demands made on Turkey (Ankara’s 40, June 18 and 45, June 221). Amb Sarper said there were no new developments. (Rptd Ankara 31.)

Sarper remarked that unequivocal Turkish replies seem to have given Soviet Govt pause. Had these demands been accepted he believed that Turkish Govt would soon have been confronted with [Page 1030] second step—demands regarding Turkish internal matters designed to bring Turkey “like Poland” under direct Soviet influence.

Amb thought that Turkish rebuff had only postponed joining of issue. “Russians are not bluffing,” he said. Sarper went on to explain that Turkey was obviously in Soviet security zone now taking shape from Finland to China. USSR may therefore be expected to continue efforts to bring Turkey under its control. Sarper considers the Soviets may have two further objectives directly affecting Turkey.

One is the desire to close the Black Sea to states not in the Soviet bloc and at the same time to have free access through the Straits to the Mediterranean. Hence demand for bases. (Amb stated Molotov asked for Bosporus bases but did not specifically name any.)

A second possible objective mentioned by Sarper is expansion from Caucasus in two prongs: (a) Through eastern Turkey to Alexandretta and the Medit and (b) through Iran and Iraq to Persian Gulf. Hence demand for return of ceded territories in eastern Turkey.

The Soviet Govt, in Sarper’s opinion may be expected to resume pressure on Turks either within the next few weeks or after we and Brit have demobilized, perhaps two or three years hence.

Amb said he had heard reports of possibly ominous Soviet military movements in Bulgaria and Caucasus. “We are used to wars of nerves. I have lumbago but no nerves.”

  1. These are the numbers under which the messages referred to were repeated to the American Embassy at Moscow. See documents Nos. 684 and 686.