761.67/1–2246: Telegram

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


91. According to Secretary General FonOff Soviets are trying new line against Turkey. He recounts following: A few days ago Bulgarian Minister Antonoff gave dinner inviting Acting FonMin Sümer.27 After dinner Antonoff took Sümer aside and in conversation expressed hope for an improvement in Turco-Soviet relations. He said he believed cause of difficulties was Soviet lack of confidence in present Turkish Government and expressed opinion that if Saraçoğlu were replaced as Head of Government there would be no further [Page 811] difficulties. Sümer replied that existing situation had been created by Soviet demands on Turkey and these demands reveal clearly that aims USSR go far beyond any change in Turk Government.

Erkin said when he read Sümers memo of conversation he felt there were some things which remained to be said to Antonoff. He therefore called him in to discuss a routine matter and after discussion asked whether in fact Antonoff had made statement to Sümer regarding change in Turk Government. Antonoff embarrassed admitted he had, but said he had done so only as expression personal view because important to Bulgaria to see improvement in Turco-Soviet relations. Erkin told him that if this statement had been made on behalf of Soviets it could be regarded as item of information; but it was inadmissible that any foreign diplomat should express his own opinion that a change in Turkish Government was advisable. This was interference in Turkey’s internal affairs which would not be permitted. Furthermore, any one familiar with Turkish scene knew that whatever criticism of government might have existed in Turkey had been stilled in face external threat and government’s position was stronger than ever. Antonoff reiterated he had expressed this personal view only because it was so important to Bulgaria to have better relations between Turkey and USSR. Erkin remarked to me that Antonoff is of course stooge for Soviet Ambassador and this seems new line which Soviets are trying in effort weaken Turkey internally.

Recent moderation in Russian press and radio attitude to Turkey fits into picture. Erkin guesses that after Soviets have tried this awhile and found they are getting nowhere they will revert to old line aggressive press and radio attacks.

Sent Department as 91; repeated Moscow as 10, London as 22 and Sofia as 3.

  1. Nurullah Esat Sümer, Turkish Minister of Finance.