George Kalamotousakis




After World War I, a peace settlement was reached by most of the signatory nations at the Lausanne Conference and the Straits Convention, annexed to the Treaty of Lausanne, in 1923. In 1936 at Montreux, a new Convention was signed governing the regime of the Straits, with a provision for revision in 20 years.

The Lausanne Treaty  provided for the freedom of passage of all merchant vessels in peace and war and the demilitarization of the region including Greek and Turkish islands. Conversely the Montreux Convention eliminated the demilitarization clauses and permitted Turkey, when belligerent, to close the Straits to warships of all nations.

Key Words

Lausanne Treaty

Montreux Convention

Dardanelle Straits



The Question of Dardanelle Straits is one of the oldest and most persistent in European history. Their strategic and commercial importance begins with the expansion of Ancient Greece and especially that of Athens. Actually, Thucydides writes that the sea-fight (Aigos Potami, 405 B.C.) lost by Athens on the Hellespont destroyed the Athenian supremacy. At the time of Byzantium, the Dardanelle Straits and the Bosporus had become the apple of discord among the trading cities of Italy. The Ottoman Empire seemed to have stabilized the situation by following consistently almost the policy of excluding all foreign ships from the Black Sea. However, with the emergence of Russia and the Napoleonic wars the political implications increased, and by the end of the nineteenth century the Straits reached the climax of their significance in international politics. In the twentieth century, and especially after the first World War, the question seems to have subsided and does not feed any more the record of international law with treaties and agreements. Does this mean that the problem has been eliminated or is it valid to consider their status of permanent importance in international relations?

In this paper an attempt is being made to describe and analyse the development of the history of the Dardanelle Straits and the role of Great Powers, (Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia and the United States) played in shaping the regime of the Straits, implemented now by Turkey, the only guardian of the Straits.


  1. The impact of World War I and the Peace Settlement


The dilemma of the western powers and Russia during the immediate pre-war days was: would Turkey stay neutral? The answer was not known until the war broke out. Turkey remained neutral in the beginning, although, constantly, she violated the treaty of Berlin, of 1878[1], by concluding a secret treaty with Germany, putting her navy under German command and closing the Straits. This action cut off a vital line of communication between the Western allies and Russia, with the result that it precipitated the allied declaration of war on Turkey.

The entrance of Turkey into the war on the side of the Central Powers was doubtless one of the most significant events in the history of that conflict. It is generally believed that it prolonged the duration of the war by cutting Russia off the Western allies; it put insurmountable obstacles in the way of provisioning the Russian army and thus reduced the effectiveness of Russia’s participation in the war. Thus, the question of the Straits became foremost among Russia’s war aims and indirectly we may even say that it contributed to the Bolshevik Revolution by making easier Russia’s defeat to the Central Powers.

The Russian policy toward the Straits was formulated upon the invasion of the Dardanelles by the Allies, and, contingent, upon Germany’s defeat, the Russians not only demanded the control of the Straits from the Allies, but also the occupation of Constantinople and Eastern Thrace, thus extending the Russian Empire from the Pacific to the warm waters of the Mediterranean. Under the pressure of the war conditions the allies had no alternative but to consent, although at a price: the consent of Russia to the satisfaction of British, French and Italian claims, especially in Near East, all at the expense of the Ottoman Empire.[2] While this agreement was to be followed, the Bolshevik Revolution brought about the question of the Straits back where it was one hundred years previous to World War I. The denunciation of the secret treaties by the Bolshevik government and the separate peace negotiations with the Central Powers gave the allies the upper hand as to the future of that area, especially after the defeat of Turkey.

However, the inability of the allies to agree in regard to their Near Eastern possessions and spheres of interest, induced them to leave Turkey nominally sovereign over Constantinople and propose international control over the demilitarized Straits. The treaty of Sevres, on August 10, 1920,was never ratified, but its stipulations served as a model for the settlement of the Straits question in the Convention annexed to the Treaty of Lausanne three years later. Under this treaty, navigation in the Straits was to be open, both in peace and war, to the merchant vessels and warships, including aircraft of all nations. Except for action permitted by the League of Nations, no act of hostility could be committed there and the area could not be blockaded. A commission was to be set up, composed of principal allied and associated powers, each of them having two votes. The commission included Greece, Rumania, Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey (the three last ones after their  admission in the League).[3]

The Greek military action in Turkey, in 1919, with the approval of England and France, brought Russia and nationalist Turkey closer together, due to the fact that they both resisted a complete isolation. In the meantime, the defeat of Greece, coupled with the emergence of Turkey, brought about the Lausanne Conference with the question of the Straits playing a prominent part. It is significant to note that at the Lausanne Conference the policy of England and Russia towards the Straits was completely reversed, i.e. England advocated the freedom of passage to all nations – thus, checking Russia – whereas Russia, now under a communist regime sought to close the Straits altogether. The reasoning behind was that the free passage of allied warships and troop transports into the Black Sea could produce a very precarious  situation for Russia, since her Black Sea Fleet was inadequate and disorganized.[4] The positions taken by Imperial Russia and the Soviets are not irreconcilable, because the Czarist governments also preferred to leave the regime of the Straits unaltered, rather than open them for egress and ingress.[5] The conferees finally adopted the British view, eventhough the Turks were allied with Russia. The Conference accepted the British principle of freedom of passage (perhaps because Turkey no longer needed active Russian assistance).


  1. The Straits Convention of 1923


On the same day that the Treaty of Lausanne was signed – July 24, 1923 –  a separate convention was signed relating to the Straits.[6] It laid down the rules to govern the passage and, briefly, the most important of them were as follows:

  1. Freedom of passage, day and night, for merchant vessels of all nations, both in time of peace and war.
  2. In case of Turkish belligerency, Turkey was left free to exercise belligerent rights under international law, i.e. she could attack and capture enemy vessels or vessels which gave assistance to the enemy.
  3. Warships had also freedom of passage, but no power might send into the Black Sea a force larger than that of the most powerful fleet, maintained in that sea by a littoral state at the time of the passage.
  4. To insure freedom of passage, the Convention provided for the demilitarization of both the European and the Asiatic shores, with the exception of the right of Turkey to maintain a garrison not exceeding 10,000 men.
  5. A complete demilitarization of the area, including the Greek and Turkish islands.

The regime established by the Straits Convention represented a compromise between the interest of the Black Sea powers, particularly Russia[7] who was seeking preferential treatment, and the  ambition of the allies –  particularly Great Britain –  to have complete freedom. From the point of view of Turkey, while the Convention still imposed limitations on her actions, the security of Constantinople was better safeguarded. One could also measure the improvement of Turkey’s military and political position by comparing the Straits Convention with the Sevres Treaty.


  1. From Lausanne to Montreux

The Convention of 1923 proved to be acceptable to most of the interested powers. Although Russia was disappointed with the pro-British behaviour of Turkey, in regard to the Straits settlement, the Russo-Turkish cooperation continued and was demonstrated by the signing of a treaty of neutrality and nonaggression, on December 17, 1925.[8] Within the confused political atmosphere and instability of the following decade, however, Turkey moved for revisions. Her request specifically mentioned the revision of the demilitarization clauses.[9] It should be noted that by this time, aside of treaty repudiations, undeclared wars, the failure of disarmament and the world economic conferences, the Italo-Abyssinian war had also started and had been closely followed by the remilitarization of the Rhineland by Germany’s unilateral action.

The reaction of the great powers was mixed. Great Britain wanted to solidify her friendship with Turkey in order to strengthen her position in the Mediterranean. France, on the other hand, was already bound to Russia by an alliance, and the latter reacted favorably to a change.  Finally, on June 22, 1936, the signatories of the Lausanne Convention, with the exception of Italy, met at Montreux, Switzerland. The draft convention proposed by Turkey intended to make Turkey absolute master over navigation, especially in time of war, and to establish a regime exceedingly favorable to Russia. Great Britain strongly opposed such a modification and the battle fought principally between the British and Soviet representatives. In July the British submitted their own draft, and finally the Montreux Convention, was adopted in July 20. 1936, representing  a compromise.


  1. Montreux Convention of 1936

This convention was attended by Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Greece, Japan, Rumania, Turkey, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The chief beneficiaries of the revision were the Soviet Union and Turkey. The latter, although still subject  to international servitude of free navigation through the Straits in peace time, and in time of war when neutral, was freed from important limitations which the Lausanne Convention had imposed on her. Turkish control over the Straits, although not absolute, was strengthened by:

  • The disappearance of the demilitarization clauses of the 1923 Convention.
  • The abolition of an international Straits commission, whose duties and functions were transferred to the Turkish government, and
  • Turkey, when belligerent, was relieved of all limitations and permitted to close the Straits to warships of all nations. This right, however, was subject to a veto by 2/3 votes of the League Council.

Another important feature was the satisfaction given to Russia. The Black Sea powers (and obviously in this category Russia alone needs to be taken into account for all practical purposes), obtained the right to send warships through the Straits into the Aegean Sea, without limitation of number, type and tonnage, except that they must pass singly through the Straits. On the other hand, the limitations of the Lausanne Treaty  concerning the number and tonnage of naval forces, which non-riparian powers might send into the Black Sea in peacetime, were revised as follows: The 1923 Convention had limited the maximum force which each non-riparian power might send into the Black Sea to the most powerful fleet of a riparian State, i.e. Russia. The Montreux Convention limited the aggregate tonnage of all non-riparian powers to 30,000 tons and the tonnage which anyone non-riparian may send to 2/3 of the aggregate tonnage. Another provision limited the stay of non-riparian warships in the Black Sea to 21 days, and made ‘desirable’  a notification of 15 days for the transit of non-riparian warships, instead of the eight days required from the littoral powers. In time of war, if Turkey remained neutral, the neutral warships would continue to enjoy  free passage. The signatories also agreed to the re-fortification of the demilitarized zones by Turkey.[10]

The principle of freedom of navigation incorporated into both the Lausanne Treaty and the Straits Convention of 1923, was reaffirmed at Montreux, without time limit. The Convention in itself was subject to revision in 20 years. In addition, the international control, which under the 1923 Convention had the duty of insuring observance of rules gave way to control of local sovereignty. It is also important that for Russia it accomplished what successive attempts over the course of a century had failed to bring about: control of the Black Sea by the Russian fleet and freedom for Russia to send her raiders into the Mediterranean without danger of a superior force pursuing her into the Black Sea, or in any way threatening her southern shores.[11]


  1. From Montreux to Today

The role of the Straits in World War II was due less to the position of Turkey itself, than to the seizure of Greece and the Aegean islands by the Axis in 1941, thus closing the Straits to allied shipping. But in view of the importance of this area for Russia’s security, it was not unnatural that the question of revising the provisions of the Montreux Convention, which has governed the regime since 1936, should have arisen at the end of the war.

In article XIV of the Yalta Protocol, in 1945, it was agreed that the  signatories would consider Soviet proposals in regard to the Montreux Convention at a subsequent meeting. The question was formally raised at the Potsdam conference in July, 1945, in connection with the provisions then discussed for the unrestricted navigation of the Rhine, the Danube, the Kiel canal, and other inland waterways in Europe.[12] The American position, as stated in a note to the Turkish government in November 2, 1945, was that whereas the Straits should be opened at all times to the merchant vessels of all nations, only warships of the Black Sea powers, i.e. Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania, and the Soviet Union, should use the Straits at all times: The warships of non Black Sea powers should be admitted in time of peace only at such time and in such numbers as were specifically agreed to by the Black Sea powers, or when acting under the authority of the United Nations. Both Great Britain and Turkey, accepted these proposals as the basis of discussions.[13]

In the meantime the Soviet government’s decision in March, 1945, to denounce the Turkish-Soviet non-aggression pact of 1925, looked like a prelude to Russian demands to improve their position at the Straits. The policy they pursued was not made public until August 7, 1946. On the question of passage of merchant and warships the Russian view did not differ from that of the United States. The Russians went on, however, to propose that the Black Sea powers alone should be made responsible for enforcing the Straits regime, and that of these Turkey and the Soviet Union were best suited to undertake the joint defense of the Straits and prevent their misuse by other countries.[14]

It was clear that the substance of the controversy lay in the desire of each of the protagonists to make maximum provisions, each for his own security. The Russians feared that Turkey might be used as a base for hostile military action and that in some future war, the Soviet Union might again find itself blockaded at the Turkish Straits and even attacked by enemy naval forces in the Black Sea. The United States and Britain, on the other hand, feared that the proposed Soviet-Turkish defense of the Straits would prove to be an unequal partnership, and that before long, Turkey would become a Soviet satellite and a possible springboard for the extension of Russian influence throughout the Mediterranean.[15] Turkey, for its part, accepted only a Straits regime in which all the great powers participated, preferably within the framework of the United Nations. It should be noted that she had kept her army mobilized even after the end of the WW II, despite the heavy drain on her national treasury. Following President Truman’s request, in April, 1947, the United States Congress approved an appropriation of $100,000,000 to help Turkey in her military needs.[16] It looked that the question of the Straits would get involved in the ‘cold war’ between the United States and Russia.


  1. Continuing Factors Affecting the Straits

At first it appears that Russia is the only country whose interest at the Straits need be given serious attention. Since the region of the Straits, however, is not only a maritime thorough-fare, but also an area of strategic importance for the entire Near East, a variety of factors should be considered in determining the character of possible revisions of the Montreux Convention. These may be summarized under the following headings:

  • Russian Commerce and Security

For Russia, the Straits are important both as a trade route and as a strategic approach to one of her richest provinces. During the year  following the Soviet Union’s recovery from the Civil War, sea-born commerce played an increased role in its foreign trade. Bosphorus and the Dardanelles are also important from the point of view of military security. The heavy concentration of population and the richness of agricultural and industrial resources, located in the river valleys which drain into the Black Sea, require the outmost protection Russia can provide. While the ‘natural’ route for invasion of Russia may take place through overland from Europe, the need for safeguarding the maritime approach to the region cannot be overlooked. The warm-water ports of the Black Sea are particularly suitable for naval construction, and the Soviet naval plans envisaged early in the development of a naval force to be stationed there.[17] Today, it appears that, in contrast to the 19th century, Russia’s primary interest in the region of the Straits concerns the security of the Black Sea, as well as free passage of its commercial shipping and its presence in the Mediterannean Sea with a large naval military base in Syria. This change must be attributed more to the experience of World War II, rather than to any modification in Russia’s foreign trade relations.

  • British and French interests

Britain, with its widespread  commercial and shipping interest in the Near East, has, since the end of the 18th  century, been an active participant in the balance of political and strategic forces in the Eastern Mediterranean. The capital importance of this region was illustrated in the last war, when it became the central scene of a series of battles fought on the Greek mainland, on Crete, North Africa and the Suez Canal military intervention by Britain and France in 1956. Since the conclusion of World War II, Britain has to a certain extent reduced its commitments in this part of the world. The independence of India, the evacuation of the Suez Canal and the  proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948, all point to the probability that Britain’s future responsibilities in the Eastern Mediterranean have not only been reduced, but effectively have become insignificant. However, this does not mean complete withdrawal; the countries of this area must remain friendly with Britain for the sake of trade relations that are vital to her prosperity. It is, therefore, important to her security that no great power influences the countries which still retain their independence.[18]

The political interest, of the French in the Eastern Mediterranean are very similar with these of the British, but not as extensive. In regard to trade and raw materials, and particularly to the oil of this region, French concerns should be greater than those of Britain (even though France granted independence to Algeria).

With the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the six European countries, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg agreed to form a free economic area, the European Economic Community (EEC) abolishing all tariffs and barriers to trade. A process of enlargement led ultimately to the European Union (EU) of twenty eight countries including Britain and Cyprus, making for a market of 500 million people. However, Britain, since 2020, has left the Union and will now pursue henceforth an independent national policy.

As a result, the European Union has become a major player in the Mediterranean region with enlarged economic, political and strategic interests. The European Union policy regarding Turkey, a member of NATO, is to maintain close economic, political and strategic interests with this country. To this end a Customs Union agreement was signed between the EU and Turkey in the 1960’s, still waiting to become fully effective, as a first attempt of expanding economic relations along with the implementation of the European Union principles of democracy and human rights. However, for Turkey to become a member of the European Union might take few decades prior to becoming reality, if it ever does.

  • The American Position

The interest of the United States in the Straits dates back at least to 1871. Since almost no American shipping passed through the Straits, until after World War I, the occasional requests for passage of warships for the service of the American Diplomatic Mission at Constantinople were uniformally denied.  At the end of World War I, the United States took an active interest in the peace negotiations, in the course of which the Straits question was discussed. At one time President Wilson considered to urge the Senate into accepting an American mandate over the Straits and Armenia. Although the United States favored the internationalization of the Straits, it took no part in the drafting of the Treaty of Sevres.[19]

It was World War II which brought the United States active contact with the region. In 1941, the American government found it necessary for the conduct of the war to extend aid to Turkey and other countries of the Near East. The American interests in this area are economic and commercial, as well as strategic and political. Air and sea routes have already seen the growth of American traffic, and oil resources are being developed. American economic activity in the Near East during the war also brought the realization that this region might be a fruitful field of commercial enterprise.[20]  However, in the light of recent developments, it seems that the strategic reasons supersede all others, (since both missile bases, super-radar installations and satellites are used to survey and overlook Russia).

  • Turkey as Guardian of the Straits

As already noted, with the exception of the stillborn Constantinople secret agreement of 1915 and the Treaty of Sevres of 1920, and of the period between 1923 and 1936, when the Straits were demilitarized  under the terms of the Lausanne Convention, the various Straits agreements have left this strategic area under the full sovereignty of Turkey (who has had the right to fortify it and the responsibility of administrating the terms of the various regulations). In view of the fact that Turkey’s position as sole guardian of the Straits was challenged by Russia, it is worthy taking under consideration this controversy. The Russian claim to a share in the defense of the Straits antedates Russian charges alleging Turkey’ s partiality to the war. It was the Russian view that conditions had changed since the original drafting of the Russo-Turkish nonaggression pact; and that a reconsideration was necessary. The new terms demanded by Russia as reported from unofficial sources included: a) the cession to Russia of Turkish territory, in North Eastern Anatolia, b) the granting to Russia of bases on the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, c) the revision of the Montreux Convention and d) the acceptance by Turkey of certain undefined changes in Balcan political arrangments.[21]   The Turks were unable to agree to these demands.

  • The Balcan Peninsula

It was amply demonstrated during World War II, that the commercial traffic and strategic security, both of the Black Sea States and of other countries in the Near East could be managed by a strong  military power in control of Greece and the Aegean islands. The attempted  extension of Soviet influence into Greece after 1944, and the sharp reaction of the United States which has taken the form of international action within the framework of the United Nations, as well as of national policy, known as the Truman Doctrine, must consequently be considered in connection with any revisions in regard to the Straits.[22]

  • The Straits as an International Waterway

This final consideration in determining the nature of a new Straits regime is the extent to which the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmora and the Bosphorus are in fact an international waterway. A review of the available statistics reveals that in recent times, as in the 19th century, merchant ships flying the flag of many nations made use of the waterway. Statistics for the period between 1924 and 1939, while incomplete, indicate that the total registered net tonnage passing through the Straits, totaled 7,600,000 in 1924 and rose to over 38,000,000 in 1939. By 2019, 40,000 vessels passed through the Straits, transporting 400 million tons of cargo confirming the importance of the Turkish Straits as maritime trade corridor. The bulk of this shipping flew the flags of countries not located in the immediate vicinity of the Straits, and particularly the United States, Great Britain, France, Holland, Germany and Italy. Of the countries located in the region of the Straits, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Egypt, Russia, Turkey and Yugoslavia were active participants in the commerce of the Straits.[23]

  • Elements of Possible Compromise?

From the above survey it must be clear that a distinction has to be made between the Turkish Straits as an international waterway and the Straits zone – or for that matter the entire region embracing Turkey and Greece. In regard to the commercial use of the Straits there is general agreement that in time of peace it should be open to the ships and trade of all nations. It has been indicated that the shipping which passes through the Straits is predominantly non-Russian. Since trade is a reciprocal matter, the countries with which Russia and the other Black Sea states conduct their commerce, have a familiar, if not necessarily equal interest in the regime of the Straits.

Far more difficult is the problem of making provision for wartime. The question of assuring the security of all interested parties, is of greater importance and complexity. One difficulty is the impossibility of estimating the relative degree of interest of a given country in such a strategic area. While it is true that the Straits zone is located closer to the Russian mainland, the combined interests of Britain, The European Union and the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean cannot be given less weight. We should also consider Turkey’s desire to preserve itself from undue interference by either the West or East.

The friction between Russia and the Western powers would in that event be greatly augmented, and Russia’s security endangered. If the present situation continues, i.e. if the fortification clause and the bases remain, Russia would have legitimate reason to fear that Turkey becomes a potential base for hostile operations. It is useful but inadequate to provide that the Black Sea shall be closed to warships of non-Black Sea states, in view of the Turko-American pact via NATO. On the other hand, the United States has inherited the role of Great Britain in trying to keep the balance of power in this area. American aid to Turkey and its membership in the NATO alliance proved how important the United States considers the Straits. In fact, the United States 6th fleet is permanently stationed in the Mediterranean region while Russia has shown its presence with a large naval base in Syria.

Meanwhile the European Union has become now the important player for the maintenance of free flow of clean energy provided by the huge Azerian gas deposit via a pipeline that traverses Turkey, Greece, Albania and terminating in Italy. Through a separate pipeline built by Greece, natural gas reaches Bulgaria, Romania and other central European countries. Additionally, newly found large natural gas deposits in Israel, Cyprus, Egypt and potentially in Greece will provide energy to the European Union through the planned East-Med pipeline. Of course, large quantities of Russian natural gas will soon be supplied to Germany, through the newly built Nord Stream 2 via an under water pipeline, connecting Russia with Germany, by-passing the neighboring countries.

  • Navigation Regulations

The Montreux Convention in itself was subject to revision in 1956, twenty years after its signing. Since no nation that had signed the Convention called for a revision, Turkey as a sole guardian of the Dardanelles Straits proposed in 1995 a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) restricting large vessels carrying hazardous cargo to day light only transit. The scheme was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized Agency responsible for the safety and security of international shipping. On September, 2018 Turkey imposed new rules governing the traffic in the Turkish Straits. Two of the important ones are:

  • A vessel over 300 gt should have valid Protection and Identity (P&I) insurance cover for passing through the Straits
  • Passenger and container vessels with length overall (LOA) above 300 meters and all vessels with LOA more than 400 meters need to apply to Harbour Authorities ten days prior to passage to obtain the necessary permission.[24]


  1. Concluding Remarks

Historically, it appears that the Turkish Straits have been, in the last 200 years, a very important consideration in formulating the economic, political, and strategic interests of Great powers. The major interest of all countries has been the maintenance of the regime of free flow of trade and shipping through the Straits, in addition to any strategic considerations. The need for political and strategic stability in the Mediterranean Region is not only a required, but also a necessary condition for the supply of energy, especially clean energy from the newly found gas deposits in the region.

Of course, strategic considerations will continue to remain important in the shaping of economic and political interests of Britain, the European Union, the United States, Russia and the rising power of China. However, the recent demand of Turkey to participate in sharing the potential large gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean, may become a cause of future conflict than can lead to extensive instability in the area, adversely affecting the regime presently governing the Straits.

In short, the regime governing The Dardanelle Straits will remain relevant in the twentieth first century as it was in the previous centuries. Economic, political and strategic interests will dominate the behaviour of the protagonists including, of course, the rising world power of China.

The E.U. need for continue flow of clean energy from the large natural gas deposits of eastern Mediterranean exacerbate the requirement of balance of power stability among the conflicting interests of countries controlling the future supply of clean energy in the region.




Magazines and Periodicals

  1. Paul Rice, ‘Let me Get this Strait: The Turkish Strait Revisited’, Chokepoints and Littorals Topic Week, 1 June 2020
  2. ‘Liabilities Arising under the Turkish Strait Clauses’,

SKULD, International Group of P&I Clubs, 2018

  1. Dean Acheson, ‘Developments in the proposed revision of the

Montreux Convention’, Department of State Bulletin, vol. 22,

May 1st, 1950

  1. *C.Black, ‘The Turkish Straits and the Great Poewrs’,

Foreign Policy Reports, vol. 23, Oct, 1947

  1. A.Colliard, ‘La Convention Montreux, Nouvelle Solution du Probleme de Droits’, Revue de Droit International, vol. 18, 1936
  2. T.Florinsky, ‘A page of Diplomatic History’, Political Science Quarterly, vol. 44, Νο.1, March 1929
  3. *W. Hadsel, ‘American Policy towards Greece’, Foreign Policy

Reports, Sept. 1, 1947

  1. *N. Howard, ‘The Problem of the Turkish Straits’, Department of State Publications, 2752, Near East Series, Washington D.C., 1947
  2. N. Howard, ‘The United States and the Problem of the Turkish Straits’, Middle East Journal, Jan. 1947
  3. ‘America and the Straits’, Forum, 108, Nov. 1947
  4. R.Kerner, ‘Russian Naval Aims’, Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1946, vol. 25
  • *J. Landis, ‘Middle East Challenge’, Fortune, Sept. 1945
  1. New York Times, June 28, 1945
  2. * Reitzel, ‘The American Position in the Mediterranean’, Yale

 Review, June 1947

  1. Turkey-Russia squeeze’, Newsweek, 28, Aug.26, 1946


      * These articles are particularly illuminating and interesting


  1. Nehan Viv., The Legal Regime of the Turkish Straits, Graduate College of Marine Studies of the University of Delaware, (1987).

 This book is an excellent detailed historical and legal review of the Straits

 Lee F. Benns, European History since 1870, Appleton Century Crofts, Inc. (New York, 1955)

This is probably the best book of historical information with analytical style for modern times, but I mainly used  it only for very specific information  that  I  could not find  elsewhere

  1. Henry N. Howard, The Partition of Turkey, A Diplomatic History 1912-1923, Norman University of Oklahoma Press, 1931

A very scholarly book with a great number of excellent sources, perhaps the best reference for that  specific period, especially in regard to the minorities and nationalistic problems of the Balcans.

  1. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations, 1954 Edition, Alfred A. Knopf, N.York

It has no particular reference to the Straits, but it is a must for students of international politics. It gives all theories, aspects, factors, etc. connected with power, with a great number of modern examples.

 Harry S. Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, 1946-1952, Memoirs,

Doubleday & Co., (Garden City, New York, 1956)

Having in mind always that it has the exuberant, altruistic, patriotic, virtuous colors which are common in statesmen’ memoirs, it gives the administration’s mind, in regard to the United States role in the Near East

  1. Gabriel Effendi Noradounghian, D’ Actes Internationaux de l’ Empire Ottoman, 4 vols. Libraire Cotillon, Paris, 1900

A chronological collection of all traties, conventions etc. up to the year 1855, relating to the  “exterior public rights of Turkey”; very useful as primary source in the past  history of the Straits

 Phillipson Coleman & Noel Buxton, The Question of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, Stevens & Haynes, Law Publishers, (London, 1917)

This is a British account of the Straits question including World War I with very good documentation and interesting conclusions on Constantinople. (He certainly does not think highly of the Turks)

  1. James T. Shotwell, & Francis Deak, Turkey at the Straits, the McMillan Co., (New York. 1940)

It is the most recent work on the subject and most objective too. It has the advantage of being rather concise and yet of using all the available sources. It includes the texts of the Treaty of Sevres, of the Convention of Lausanne and the Montreux Convention. 




Dr. George J. Kalamotousakis was professor of finance at New York University, Graduate School of Business (1969- 1977), Managing Director of American Express Bank and Egyptian American Bask (1985-1995), Consultant ta IBM Corp., American Standard Inc. and Director of Investment and Credit at Hyundai Hellas, (1996-2014).

Formerly Dr. Kalamotousakis directed the Department of Economic Research at the Bank of Greece, (1977-1979) and served as Director of Greece’s Productivity Center (1978). He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Atlantic Union Insurance Company (1982-2020), Rank Xerox 1982-1986) and Vice President of Hellenic Management Association (1986-2010).

Dr. Kalamotousakis is presently chairman of The Board of Directors ‘Zolotas’ Christian Philantropic Foundation’. He holds a Ph. D. from New York University and M.S.c and R.A. from The City University of New York.

He has published extensively on banking and financial policies, economic development and strategic issues.





  1. ‘Greece’s Association with the European Community: An Evaluation of the First Ten Years’ in the EEC and the Mediterranean Countries, edited by A. Shlaim and G. Yannopoulos, Cambridge University Press, London 1976
  2. ‘Economic Integration and Economic Development: Greece and the Common Market’, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1967


Other Publications

  1. How and why China became a Superpower, (in Greek) Part A,, March 21, 2019

  1. How China Invated the Global Economy, in Greek, (Part B) European Business Review, March 21, 2019
  2. Is Economic Crisis ending in Greece? (in Greek) ‘Exodos tis Ellados apo tin oikonomiki krisi?’ Gr, November 29.2010
  3. Pending Regulations of Greeces’ Banks Non-Performing Loans, (in Greek) ‘Epikeimenes rythmiseis ton trapezon gia ta kokkina daneia’, European Business Review, March 16, 2019
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[1] According to this and previous treaties the Straits were closed to all foreign warships, except  for

light vessels that would serve the correspondence of the legations of friendly powers.

[2] M.T. Florinsky, ‘A Page of Diplomatic History’, Political Science Quarterly, vol. 44, (1952) 108 ff. The

documents concerning these secret agreements are in Constantinople et les Detroits, vols. 1 & 2,

Paris, (1930-32), published by La Documentation Internationale.

[3] British Treaty Series, No 11, 1920

[4] Lausanne Conference on Near Eastern Affairs, 1922-23, Cmd 1814, 1923 (Minutes of the meetings of

the First Commission)

[5] James T. Shotwell & Francis Beak, Turkey at the Straits, the Macmillan Co., (New York, 1940), 87

[6] For the text of the Lausanne Straits Convention, see  Shotwell, Appendix No2, 142

[7] Russia did not sign the convention until 11 August, (1923), and subsequently indicated its

disapproval by refusing to ratify it.

[8] Shotwell, op.cit., 119

[9] League of Nations Official Journal, (1936), 504

[10] For the text of the Treaty see, Shotwell, op.cit.,  Appendix, No3. Based on this part of the

agreement, Turkey presently argues that the agreement excludes the re-militarization of the Greek

islands, Chios, Lesbos, Samos et. al., since the agreement does not specifically mention them by

name, whereas the text clearly mentions the re-stratification of Turkey’s part of the region.

[11] Claude A. Colliard, ‘La Convention de Montreux, Nouvelle Solution du Probleme de Droits’, Revue  

    de Droit International, vol. 18, (1936), 121 ff

[12] Harry N. Howard, ‘The Problem of the Turkish Straits’, Department of State Publications, No 2752,

Near East Series, Wash. D.C., (1947), 36 ff

[13] Dean Acheson, ‘Developments in the proposed revision of the Montreux Convention’, Department

    of State Bulletin, (May, 1950), vol. 22, 687

[14] ‘Turkey-Russia Squeeze’, Newsweek, Vol. 28, 26 August, (1946)

[15] Harry Truman, Memoirs, Years of Trial & Hope, 1946-1952, Doubleday & Co, Garden City, (N.Y.,

1956), (Vol.2), 96-98

[16] Lee Benns, European History since 1870, 4th edition, Appleton-Century Crofts, Inc., (N. York 1955),


[17] J.R.Kerner, ‘Russian Naval Aims’, Foreign Affairs, (January, 1946), vol. 25,  290 ff

[18] British Security, New York Royal Institute of International Affairs, (1946), 115-116

[19] Henry N. Howard, ‘The United States and the Problem of the Turkish Straits’, Middle East Journal,

    (January 1947), 59-72

[20] Henry N. Howard, op. cit.

[21] New York Times, (June 28, 1945), 7. Also Truman, Memoirs, 99-109

[22] N.W. Hadsel, ‘American Policy towards Greece’,  Foreign Policy Reports, (September, 1947),


[23] Statistics compiled by H.N. Howard, op. cit., and Paul Rice, ‘Let me get this Strait; The Turkish

Strait Question Revisited’, Chokepoints and littorals Topic Week, 1 June 2020

[24] ‘Liabilities arising under the Turkish Strait Clauses’,  SKULD, International group of P&I Clubs, 2018