867.00/6–2646: Telegram

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


702. Embtel 688, June 22.47 Secretary General Foreign Office read me memorandum prepared by Prime Minister of his conversation with [Page 826] Soviet Ambassador few days ago at reception during visit President [of] Lebanon.48 Following principal points interest:

Ambassador asked what significance visit Lebanese President. Prime Minister replied solely visit courtesy. Ambassador asked whether he could inform his Govt no discussion concerning anything like political treaty. Saraçoğlu assured him he could, adding only matters discussed were of technical administrative nature such as optants and properties nationals one country in other.
Referring Paris Conference, Ambassador said two questions particular importance under discussion: Italian reparations and Trieste. He thought agreement could be reached on first but Trieste most difficult and imperative be given to Yugoslavia.
Saraçoğlu asked if any intention discuss Turkey at Paris. Ambassador replied no. Molotov sent agenda of conference and Turkey not mentioned; if USSR had planned discussion Turkey on margin conference, he sure to have been informed.
Prime Minister then spoke of Soviet demands on Turkey June 1945 for eastern provinces and bases in Straits. He said Turkish Govt had refrained from publicly giving confirmation to reports such demands made, in order not to worsen already difficult relations between two countries and also to make it easier for USSR to withdraw demands. Turkish Govt hopes Soviets will in fact find way to make announcement that such demands have never been made, as otherwise Turkish Govt may be obliged before much longer as duty to Turkish public opinion to admit existence these demands. Vinogradov argued vehemently this should not be done, then went on urge President Inonu and Prime Minister make effort reach understanding with USSR. Prime Minister replied Turkey obviously could not reach understanding on basis ceding eastern provinces and granting bases in Straits. Ambassador said Turkey should recognize that USSR for security reasons more deeply concerned regarding Straits than any other power, needing base there in time war, and if Turkey recognizing this would enter discussion with USSR question of eastern provinces could be disregarded. Prime Minister without replying directly to this said there could be no possibility discussion so long Russia maintains demands for territories and bases. He urged Ambassador press his Govt withdraw these demands. Vinogradov replied he would do what he could but had no hope his Govt would agree.
During foregoing discussion Ambassador said he saw no reason USSR should not have bases in Straits since “US now has air bases in Turkey”. Prime Minister said US of course had no air bases but only rights under civil aviation agreement similar to agreements existing among practically all other countries to operate commercial air service.
Regarding discussion mentioned paragraph 4 above, Erkin said his interpretation was that Soviets trying lead Turkey into bilateral talks concerning Straits, hoping thereby to cause misunderstanding and friction between Turkey, UK and US and exploit resulting situation.

Sent Dept as 702; repeated Moscow 66, London 104, Paris 27.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Bechara el-Khouri.