800.515/8–245: Telegram

The Ambassador in Turkey (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

1050. For Acting Secretary. I am concerned over likelihood of conflict between our political aims and our Safehaven objectives as regards Turkey. Please see my 1018, July 27, 2 p.m.90 which indicates US may be expected to carry burden of convincing Turks of advisability of accepting international control of Straits.91 This will be a large order and if we are to have any hope of success it will require that we enjoy confidence and good will of Turks.

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On other hand, please see Dept’s airmail instruction 735, July 12.92 This means US is to be spearhead of move by four occupying powers to apply to Turkey a Safehaven program comprising far-reaching demands many of which even with best of will on part Turks, are impossible of fulfillment by Turkish Govt due to their lack effective administrative organization and well-known inability to establish and execute adequate controls. This is same program we have applied to Sweden. However, a country like Sweden highly organized and extremely well administered, can execute such program successfully. Conditions prevailing in Turkey are so foreign to those existing in a country like Sweden that it would be asking the impossible to apply such a program to Turkey. It appears, moreover, that Dept intends to treat Turkey in same manner as we treat Argentina (see Paris’ 4132, July 10, rptd to Ankara as 6, and my 995, July 2093).

Another and seriously complicating factor is that we plan to have Russia join in these demands on Turkey. Now, while Turkey might be disposed to give US and Britain Safehaven assistance and data within Turkey’s limited capabilities, Turkey will certainly refuse, in view existing tension relations with Russia, to comply with far-reaching demands and give confidential information to USSR. Fact that we were taking initiative these demands with Soviet participation would of itself serve arouse suspicion of Turks, thereby prejudicing possibility constructive achievement in political field. I, of course, appreciate that Soviet Union as one of four occupying powers must be given opportunity to join in Safehaven program. While this must be borne in mind, we should not lose sight of fact USSR today would jump at chance to use Safehaven demands of character we are proposing as stick with which to belabor Turkey.

In view situation described, I recommend consideration be given to revising program of Safehaven demands on basis actual conditions in Turkey and political angle concerning USSR. My 1026, July 2892 recommended Lawson,94 who is in charge of our Safehaven work, be ordered to Dept immediately for consultation in connection with Dept’s instruction 735.92 Revised program could be drawn up with benefit Lawson’s knowledge conditions here.

Since dictating foregoing I have discussed briefly with British Ambassador95 these proposed Safehaven demands. His reaction strengthens my belief that (a) they lie far beyond possibility Turkish fulfillment and (b) if Soviet Union joins in these demands it will [Page 896] arouse resentment on part Turks with result we shall fail obtain even reasonable degree compliance by them in Safehaven matters.97

  1. Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 1437.
  2. For documentation on this subject, see ibid., vol. i, pp. 1010 ff., and vol. ii, pp. 1420 ff.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Neither printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Edward Lawson, Commercial Attaché at the Embassy in Turkey.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Sir Maurice D. Peterson.
  9. Telegram 830, August 11, 6 p.m., to Ankara, informed the Embassy that, since section IV, paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Potsdam Communiqué excluded the Soviet Union from reparations interest in German external assets in Turkey, there was no need to ask the Soviet diplomatic representative to associate himself with the Safehaven requests of the British and American representatives. The Embassy was also told that no approach should be made to the Turkish Government on Safehaven until further notice. (800.515/8–245)