Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Berry) to the Secretary of State 1


Subject: Turkish Straits Issue

In a conversation with Mr. McGhee last December, the Turkish Ambassador referred to the possibility of Soviet proposals in the Big Four Conference with respect to the Turkish Straits and stated that the Turkish Government would not consider itself bound by any decision concerning Turkey which might be taken at a Conference at which it was not represented.

Last Friday (March 16), in a conversation with me, the Ambassador referred to recent press reports indicating that the USSR might raise [Page 1134] this question in Paris.2 He asked that I inform you of his Government’s request that no Turkish question, including that of the Straits, be discussed in a Big Four Conference without Turkey’s consent or the participation of a Turkish delegation.

NEA is initiating a telegram to the U.S. delegation at Paris instructing it to make every endeavor to avoid inclusion of the Straits question on the agenda in the event the Russians raise the issue.3

  1. Drafted by Snyder, GTI.
  2. Berry’s memorandum of conversation with Turkish Ambassador Erkin on March 16 is not printed here.

    Presumably the reference to press reports originating from Paris was in connection with the Four-Power Exploratory Talks in Paris (Conference Palais Marble Rose), March–June 1951. For documentation regarding this conference, see vol. iii, pt. 1, pp. 1086 ff.

  3. The telegram was sent to Ambassador Jessup in Paris as 4956 on March 22. Jessup was instructed that every effort was to be made to avoid inclusion of the Straits question on the agenda because current policy dictated that the prevailing Straits regime be continued. (396.1 PA/3–2251)