No. 704
The British Embassy to the Department of State 1



With reference to the State Department’s memorandum of June 23rd2 concerning recent conversations between the Soviet and Turkish Governments, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have now instructed His Majesty’s Ambassador at Moscow [Page 1048] to approach the Soviet Government in general terms on the following lines. His Majesty’s Government have decided in favour of such action only after most careful consideration of all the factors in the case, including the second conversation between the Turkish Ambassador in Moscow and M. Molotov.3 In particular His Majesty’s Government think it is better that the Soviet Government should be informed of their views in advance of Terminal rather than to give the Soviet Government the impression that His Majesty’s Government are indifferent and then to spring it on them for the first time at the Conference.

Sir A. Clark Kerr has accordingly been instructed to point out to the Soviet Government that, as they are aware, the Turkish Government have consulted His Majesty’s Government about the recent Turco-Soviet conversations. His Majesty’s Government have been very much surprised by the Soviet Government’s territorial claims and demands for bases in the Straits, since these activities cannot be regarded as exclusively Turco-Soviet matters. The former falls to be considered in the light of the World Organisation, and the latter affects the multilateral Montreux Convention. Moreover, it was agreed at Yalta that the Soviet Government should consult the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government before approaching the Turkish Government on matters affecting the Montreux Convention. Marshal Stalin also agreed to take no action affecting the independence and integrity of Turkey and to adopt a reassuring attitude to the Turkish Government. In connection with this last undertaking His Majesty’s Government have also been very much surprised at the recent Soviet press and radio campaign against Turkey. They wish the Soviet Government to be aware of their views on these recent developments as they consider the whole question will have to be discussed at Terminal.

  1. This memorandum bears the following manuscript notation by Henderson: “No Reply in writing necessary. It was orally explained to Mr. Balfour why we preferred not to approach the Russians before the Big Three meeting. L. W. H[.]” The gist of the memorandum was included in telegram No. 11 of July 10 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 740.00119 (Potsdam)/7–1045).
  2. Document No. 688.
  3. See document No. 686.