761.67/1–1046: Telegram

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


49. Erkin, Secretary General, Foreign Office, has informed me of telegram received from Turkish Ambassador, London,19 regarding latter’s recent conversation with Attlee20 and Bevin.

Conversation with Attlee was in conference [connection] with Ambassador’s first call on Prime Minister and consisted largely of “monologue” in which Acikalin recited at length Turkey’s position vis-à-vis Soviet territorial and other demands. Attlee listened attentively and “expressed full approval” of Turkey’s attitude.

Conversation with Bevin followed latter’s return from Moscow. Bevin said that in one of his talks with Stalin he had raised Turk question. He has expressed frank interest in knowing what Russians’ intentions were regarding Turkey. He had pointed out that Soviet attitude towards Turkey was forcing latter to maintain large army, thereby interfering with economic development of country. Stalin’s reply had been that if Turkey wished to maintain large army that was for Turkey to decide. Bevin had then stated to Stalin that “defense of Turkey” was “of vital interest” to UK.21

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Erkin went on to say that he had informed President Inönü and the Prime Minister of views expressed by Acting Secretary Acheson to Turk Ambassador, Washington (Deptel 1210, Dec 2922 and Embtel 8, January 3) in particular that it was view US that general questions involved in present Turco-Soviet relations extend beyond Turk territory into sphere of world peace and security in which US has deepest interest. President and Prime Minister attach great importance to this statement.

Erkin added that Govt was feeling somewhat better, for moment at least, regarding position of Turkey. This was due to Bevin’s statement to Stalin, to statement regarding views of US as expressed to Turk Ambassador and to fact that Soviet “war of nerves” had not only failed to weaken morale in Turkey but on contrary had strengthened and united Turks as had seldom occurred in their history.

Talks I have had in last 48 hours with other members of Govt and well-informed Turks confirm impression given by Erkin that for moment, at least, Turks are feeling a bit relieved.

Sent Dept, London as 18 and Moscow as 7.

  1. Cevat Acikalin.
  2. Clement R. Attlee, British Prime Minister.
  3. In telegram 416, January 14, 8 p.m., to London, the Department asked for confirmation of this statement (761.67/1–1046), and in telegram 778, January 22, 7 p.m., from London, the Embassy reported: “Foreign Office official said that on December 31 Bevin had informed the Turkish Ambassador in London of his remarks to Stalin, namely, that ‘His Majesty’s Govt is allied with Turkey and therefore has a very vital interest in the dispute’. Bevin rptd the above to Hasan Saka in London on January 11.” (761.67/1–2246) The Turkish Foreign Minister had arrived on January 4 for talks with Messrs. Bevin and Byrnes and to attend UN meetings.
  4. Not printed; it gave a partial summary of memorandum of conversation, December 29, 1945, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. viii, p. 1287.