Cablegram 89A LONDON, 26 June 1944, 7.40 p.m.
For the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs.
I took advantage of a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador  with
reference to Peter Lalor's sword  to have a long talk with him.
He raised the current topic of flying bombs and I devoted my time
to trying to put into his head how little real damage they had
done, with a view to his so reporting to his Government. I then
expressed my pleasure at how greatly the atmosphere had improved
since we last met (my telegram 73A of 15th May).  I said this
was due to Turkey's action regarding chrome for Germany  and
settlement of the trouble of ships passing through Straits. 
The Ambassador expressed his pleasure at his Government's action
and was quite clearly finding atmosphere here a little more
I followed up this opening by saying that, while the present
position was much more satisfactory, I had certain very real
apprehensions about the future.
I then said that my anxieties arose from the fact that I feared an
unpleasant reaction from the present British attitude towards
Turkey if what the Turks had already done were not followed up by
severance of diplomatic relations with Germany, and a more
definite public pronouncement by the Turkish Government of their
sympathy with the United Nations' cause.
I told the Ambassador that if I had spoken with great bluntness I
had done so as an old and very sincere friend of Turkey, and I
would like to tell him why I held the views I had expressed. I
then said that everyone with knowledge of the circumstances was
most appreciative of the way Turkey had behaved after the fall of
France. I pointed out that the understanding which had existed had
been between Turkey, United Kingdom and France and the
disappearance of France had given Turkey an opportunity for
getting rid of her undertakings. This opportunity Turkey had
refused to take and the British would always be grateful to her on
I then said that I realised what Turkey's decision had meant at a
time when Germany seemed to be all conquering and Turkey might
well have expected to be one of her next victims. I went on to say
that we had also appreciated the fact that Turkey had remained as
a barrier to the Middle East. My view was that it would have been
very undesirable for Turkey to have come into the war then, ill-
equipped and ill-prepared as she was. I added, however, that the
position had now completely changed. There was no danger now of a
serious attack against Turkey by Germany, who was far too
preoccupied in other directions.
I said I admitted that if diplomatic relations were severed and
Turkey co-operated with the United Nations this might provoke a
venomous reaction by the Germans, possibly in the form of air
bombardment of some of Turkey's cities, but I did not feel even
that danger was very great and if it were, Turkey should be
prepared to accept it. I pointed out how we, the several British
peoples, ill-equipped and ill-armed as we were, had been prepared
to accept and stand up to all these things to save the world from
I suggested that it was not asking too much of the Turks that they
should run some danger. I finished by saying that why I was so
anxious that Turkey should take some more definite action was
because I felt if she did not do so there would be so strong a
reaction against Turkey amongst the United Nations, that she would
be shut out from playing the part I felt it was so essential she
should play in the handling of great problems that would face
Europe and the Middle East when the war in these theatres was
The Ambassador stood up to what I said without any sign of
resentment, said he was glad I had been so frank and that 'such
frankness was the real basis of sound diplomacy'. He then, at very
considerable length, explained to me the Turkish point of view.
Summarised it was that Turkey was ill-armed and could not receive
what she needed from the United Nations and it would be to the
disadvantage of United Nations that Turkey should be overwhelmed.
When he had finished I returned to the charge and said I did not
accept his arguments. I told him that when war broke out,
Australia might quite well have used those arguments with even
more force than Turkey could do to-day, that we were ill-equipped
and ill-armed and could not get what we required. We might even
have suggested that our coming into the war would tend to bring
Japan in, that we would be defenceless against Japan and it would
be a tremendous blow to the United Nations if Australia had been
overwhelmed and occupied as a base by the Japanese. I added that
the effect of the Japanese invasion of Australia on the war in the
Pacific would have been incalculable. I said that nevertheless it
was essential that Australia should come into the war,
irrespective of the dangers to herself and possibly to the Allied
cause, to show the solidarity of the British Empire.
I suggested that the time had now arrived when Turkey should sever
diplomatic relations with Germany irrespective of the dangers
which, I reiterated, were negligible, to show solidarity of the
Nations against Hitlerism.
It was clear that the Ambassador was intensely interested in this
analogy with Australia.