701.6711/4–1246: Telegram

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


423. Following reflections occur to me regarding Missouri visit:39

It was probably one of most remarkable demonstrations of friendliness on part of govt and people of a foreign country towards US Naval officers and men that has ever occurred in connection with US Naval visit.
This demonstration can be mainly explained by hope engendered in Turk Govt and people by recent developments US foreign policy, culminating in Missouri visit, that US has now established independent policy in Near and Middle East based on defense of its own interests in this region, these interests being understood as maintenance peace and security through support of principles UNO.
Translated into specific terms applying to Turkey, foregoing means to Turks that US has now decided that its own interests in this area require it to oppose any effort by USSR to destroy Turk independence and integrity. This because if USSR allowed to destroy Turk independence and set up “friendly” regime here, nothing could then prevent Soviets from ascending to Suez, and once this occurs another world conflict becomes inevitable.
There are already indications that effects Missouri visit are being felt beyond Turk frontiers. Reliable reports are that ecumenical patriarchate interprets visit as clear indication US influence will now be exerted in this region and feels encouraged thereby in its efforts to resist extension Soviet influence within Orthodox Church. Also reported in Bulgarian circles Istanbul that visit will undoubtedly strengthen position Bulgarian opposition. Missouri visit is thus apt to take on character of one of those imponderable events influence of which extends far beyond immediate theater in which it occurs.

Sent Dept as 423, repeated Moscow as 47, London as 76.

  1. The Department of State issued a press release on March 6 stating that the U.S.S. Missouri would return to Istanbul with full honors the remains of the Turkish Ambassador, Mehmet Münir Ertegün, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps at Washington until his death on November 11, 1944; for text of press release, see Department of State Bulletin, March 17, 1946, p. 447. The Missouri sailed from New York on March 21.