The Ambassador in Turkey
) to the Secretary of State
898. I went to see PriMin Saracoğlu yesterday. He said he would be less than frank if he failed to say that Turk Govt had been disappointed at our reply to Turk request for expression our views re Molotov–Sarper conversations. (Your 649, June 23, and my 858, June 261) He could not understand our hope that both parties would conduct “further conversations” with “respect [for] each other’s points of view”. He could not believe that we wanted Turkey to carry on further conversations with USSR on matters relating to cession of Turkish bases and territory. He found some consolation in statement we were confident that neither party would do anything incompatible with principles of new int security organization. We could be quite sure Turkey would respect these principles. [Page 1035] I told him he should keep in mind what I had said to Sumer, namely, that feeling in Wash was that on eve of Big Three meeting June 7 conversation should not be over emphasized.
He said, “You and Brit have many problems. We Turks have single problem but it is one of life or death for us. If Soviets make attempt against our independence we shall fight. It may be hopeless or it may not be but we shall fight in any ease” . He went on to say that it was US and Brit and US even more than Brit, that will decide how world goes. “The Soviets have gone mad; they dream of world domination. They are crossing you and Brit at many points; Bornholm, Trieste, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Iran. When they find a weak spot they exploit it. They have nothing to lose. If you resist at one point they drop it for moment. But question has been raised and they will come back to it. It is impossible for a country to have orderly life under such conditions. All Turkey wants is to be let alone to work out our social and economic questions. We are no danger to anyone. We ardently wish friendly relations with Russia and have done everything possible to bring this about. We are fully prepared to discuss revision of Straits Convention. Matter of passage through Straits is of more interest to maritime powers than to us. Our concern is safeguard our territory. We will not accept Soviet domination.”
He went on to say, “You and Brit are trying in good faith to restore order and economic stability in world. Soviets are doing just contrary. They are promoting disorder and suspicion everywhere. They are trying to create chaos out of which they hope to profit.”
He said only hope he saw was if US and British stand firmly together and say to Soviets “This cannot go on any longer.” If US and Britain mean this and convince Soviets of it, then world will have some years of peace.
He feels Big Three meeting may determine future Near East and Middle East for many years to come. If US and Britain fail to take firm stand, if after meeting USSR feels it can again press territorial questions on Turkey, then other nations in Near and Middle East will feel Stalin has again been able to win his point and they will begin to scramble to make best terms they can with him and this whole region will come under Soviet domination.
He said, “Situation can still be saved if at Big Three meeting you and British refuse any compromise on principles”. As regards specific Turk situation he said that Molotov had been careful to leave door open in conversations with Sarper so that he could retreat if necessary. It was not Molotov who specifically mentioned bases first. After he had talked all around question of security Sarper had bluntly asked, “Do you mean bases?” and Molotov replied, “Yes”. When [Page 1036] Sarper refused discuss bases Molotov talked about possibility Russia having use of bases in time of war which Molotov said would be another matter from occupying bases in peacetime. Also Molotov did not mention specifically names of provinces Kars and Ardahan; he insisted upon “rectification” of 1921 treaty negotiated when USSR was “weak”. In other words, door was left open so that if USSR finds adamant opposition to territorial demands of [on] Turkey then it could accept a “rectification” of frontier under which a “few stones” could be given to USSR in return for a few stones which they would give Turkey. The irreparable would be if after Big Three meeting Soviet Union had (sent to Dept, rptd to Moscow as 54) feeling they were free to confront Turkey alone face to face with continued demands affecting Turk independence.