The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received 11:47 p.m.]
638. For Acheson and Henderson26 from the Secretary: The following is a memorandum of a conversation I had with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey on January 17.
“I received Mr. Hasan Saka, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey. Mr. Saka brought up the apprehension now felt by the Turkish Govt with regard to the recent claims of the Soviet Union for Turkish territory and the bases in the Dardanelles. He said there had been no official demand for these claims on the part of the Soviet Govt but that the Soviet Govt had informed the Turkish Govt that new conditions should be considered in connection with the renewal of the treaty of 1921 denounced by the Soviet Union about 6 months ago. When the Soviet Govt as [was] asked what these new conditions would be, it was indicated to the Turkish Govt that there should be a return of the eastern provinces of Kars and Ardahan and that the Soviet Govt desired to discuss bases in the Dardanelles.[Page 810]
I inquired of the FonMin as to the character of the people in the eastern provinces. The Minister pointed out that the people in Kars and Ardahan were Turkish, spoke Turkish, were entirely satisfied with the democracy of the Turkish Govt and there was no such situation as obtained in Azerbaijan where the inhabitants were of different racial stock from the capital and country of which they were a part and where there had been previous claims for better treatment than they had been receiving from the Central Govt of Persia.
I then asked what the military status of Turkey was at the present time. Mr. Saka said that while he could not say exactly the military establishment was probably around a million men, as the Govt had been unable to demobilize and in the present situation would probably have to increase rather than reduce the standing army. Mr. Saka went on to say that while the character of the Turkish people as a whole was to be patient, if the Soviet Govt used any pretext to bring about the seizure of the eastern provinces or any other Turkish territory, the Turkish people would meet such a situation with firm resolution and he was sure the result would be armed conflict. He said further that he could give me every assurance that the Turkish Govt would give no occasion whatever for provocation in the present situation but that the Govt and people in Turkey were firmly resolved to resist any attempt to take their territory by force.
I then said that in my opinion we should be grateful that the UNO was now set up and had begun functioning and I felt that this should go a long way toward quieting the apprehensions of the Turkish Govt as the UNO was now prepared to deal with situations of this kind if it developed further.
The Turkish FonMin expressed his deep appreciation to me for the interest the US Govt had taken in this affair and also for the information which Ave had furnished to the Turkish Govt through Mr. Wilson, the US Ambassador at Ankara, with respect to the recent conversations in Moscow.”
Sent to Dept as 638 repeated Ankara as 8.
- Dean Acheson, Under Secretary of State, and Loy W. Henderson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs.↩