761.6711/6–2945: Telegram

No. 692
The Ambassador in Turkey ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State ad interim

top secret

876. After dinner last night with Soviet Amb I asked him what was taking place between USSR and Turkey. He said Molotov told Sarper that if Turkey was interested in new treaty of friendship certain questions would have to be settled first and these include return of Kars and Ardahan and measures to insure security of Black Sea. [Page 1032] I asked if there had been a request for bases. He said Molotov had not mentioned bases specifically but had insisted upon measures necessary for Black Sea security.

I said I wondered what world opinion would be concerning territorial request. Amb said it was not for Soviet Union but for Armenian Republic which lacked sufficient territory. I asked if there were any Armenians in eastern provinces. He said only a few because Turks had massacred most of Armenians there. (In this and other conversations he has been critical of Turk Govt and people).

He said important matter from Soviet point of view was adequate security Black Sea. Under present regime Straits Turkey in time war can close Straits to USSR and open them to Russia’s enemies. USSR cannot permit continuation this situation. He indicated that regime [which] would be regarded as satisfactory for security would be one under which USSR would at all times have freedom of passage for war vessels while retaining right to close Straits to others. I asked whether such regime would not affect existing Turco-Brit alliance. He became excited at this point and said there was nothing Soviet attitude directed against Britain.

I asked whether he expected further developments immediate future re Turk Soviet conversations. He said he did not know. Turks were now aware of questions that would have to be settled and next move was up to them. He did not know whether USSR would present its view re Straits at next Big Three meeting but said laughingly he was quite sure Brit would raise question there. He said “I hear Turks have asked Brit and you for help against us”. I said that Turks had not asked us for help. I had asked Turks for info which they had given me. Sent Dept rptd to Moscow as 51.

I taxed him with existing situation in eastern Europe which he took in good part admitting that it would “perhaps” be more accurate to refer to the control commissions as being more Soviet than tripartite. He insisted however that situation in that area made this necessary and in any case USSR was “only doing what Brit have done in Italy”.