767.68119/7–2745: Telegram

No. 1376
The Ambassador in Turkey (Wilson) to the Acting Secretary of State1

secret
priority

1018. British Ambassador2 came to see me today and gave me copy of memorandum concerning Potsdam discussion on Turkey which he said he had left yesterday with Turkish Prime Minister.3 Paraphrase of memorandum is as follows: Discussions regarding Turkey reached inconclusive end July 24. On that day discussion mainly concerned with proposal President Truman that freedom of Straits be under approval and guarantee of an international authority which would include US, Britain and USSR. Stalin did not agree that this could be regarded as substitute for Soviet bases in Straits. He said finally he thought question not ripe and that interrupted talks between USSR and Turkey would be resumed. While discussion on July 24 did not mention Kars and Ardahan, Stalin had indicated previous day that Turkey could not expect alliance with USSR unless there were territorial concessions.4 British memorandum went on to say that possibly Soviets might now increase pressure on Turkey. Advice from British to Turks is to keep their heads and in reply to Russian approaches maintain firmly that question must be settled on international basis. President Truman at end of session undertook to endeavor to make Turkish Government see advantage of international control. British hope very great importance of President’s proposal will be understood by Turks and that they will reflect carefully upon this proposal under which United States itself would join in guarantee of freedom of Straits.

I asked Peterson what Prime Minister’s reaction was. He said latter was “perturbed”. He said Saracoğlu remarked that international regime suggested struck him as probably something between Lausanne and Montreux. What definitely troubled him was possibility Turkey might be asked demilitarize Straits. This said Prime Minister would be impossible unless Turkey received satisfactory guarantee from USSR regarding eastern provinces and integrity Turkish territory. Stalin’s attitude as reported in memorandum was not reassuring on this point.

[Page 1438]

Saracoğlu said that apparently next move was up to United States and he supposed he would hear from me before long.5

Please repeat this message to our delegation Potsdam.

Wilson
  1. Text repeated in extenso in telegram No. 151 of July 28 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 740.00119 (Potsdam)/8–645).
  2. Sir Maurice Drummond Peterson.
  3. Sükrü Saracoğlu.
  4. See ante, pp. 302, 365 367.
  5. No evidence has been found that the United States made an approach to Turkey on this matter during the course of the Berlin Conference.