12/3/1915 Britain replies to Sazonov

Sergei Sazonov, the Russian foreign minister, has written to the British and French ambassadors in St. Petersburg saying that Russia should take control of Constantinople and both banks of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles once Turkey is defeated. Now Britain’s ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, delivers the reply given to him by his masters in London. Britain will acquiesce to Russian occupation of the Straits, provided that free passage through them will be guaranteed. In return, Russia is expected to accept increased British influence in Persia. Buchanan delivers his reply to the Tsar himself, with Sazonov in attendance. The Russians agree that they are getting a bargain.

Of course, Turkey remains as yet undefeated, but the planned Franco-British attack on the Straits will surely bring the Allies to Constantinople and knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

map (West Point)

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