This is what the Allies owe in the settlement of Turkey to the principle of nationalities. But they are further pledged to vindicate the right which all peoples, whether small or great, have to the enjoyment of full security and free economic development, and this touches the status of Constantinople.

Constantinople, since the Turks conquered it from its last Christian Emperor in 1453, has been the political capital of the Ottoman Empire. But ever since it has been a city at all, it has also been the strategical and economic key to the Black Sea, conditioning the security and dominating the economic development of all peoples bordering on the Black Sea coasts. It is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. It is the Turk’s at present by right of conquest, but that right justifies his expulsion by war if it justifies his original intrusion, and on broader considerations of population, sentiments, traditions and monuments of the past, Constantinople is more truly the capital of all the Christian peoples of the East. But it is not the exclusive possession of any of its native inhabitants, whether their presence there dates from more ancient or from comparatively recent times. The most important quarter in Constantinople is Pera, across the Golden Horn, which is inhabited by a foreign mercantile community, as international in its composition as the mercantile community in the Chinese “Treaty Port” of Shanghai. The chief volume of the transit trade which gives Constantinople its rank as a port, passes through these foreign residents’ hands. But even they are not the parties most vitally concerned in the economic status of Constantinople and the Straits. If conditions do not suit them, they can transfer their business elsewhere. The parties to whom the destiny of Constantinople is a matter of life and death are Russia and Rumania, two countries bound for ever by their geographical position to conduct their maritime trade through the Black Sea and the Straits that give entrance to it, and therefore at the mercy economically of any third power that holds the control of the Straits in its hands.

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