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IX. The economy of the Turkish Nation, with a population of 17,000,000 is based primarily upon agriculture, with wheat, barley and tobacco being the principal products. She has the largest chrome ore deposit in the world, to say nothing of copper, iron ore and coal. She has one small airplane factory which has just been completed with the aid of Curtiss Wright, where she can assemble everything but the engines for which she has no factories.* She has one large up-to-date, modern arsenal which is situated in the hills, hard to get at, outside of Ankara. There is another small arsenal at Istanbul. Just before the War started, with the aid of the British, they completed a steel plant in Karabuk. This plant has a capacity of 200 tons a day. Turkey has two lines of fortifications, one at the bridge head in Thrace, opposite Bulgaria and the other at the Caucasus. The Turkish Government is a very small group of military men, all officers in the last war, who took over the country in a Nationalist revolution in April, 1920. An intensely patriotic government, it has effected such various reforms as unveiling the women and building a very fine broad guage railway, the length of the country. It has also built a brand new capital in Ankara, all spic and span, in the middle of an Asiatic desert. This Government is intensely proud of everything it has done.
X. The Turks are now interested principally in being allowed to go on running Turkey without interference. For this purpose it wants to be on the winning side. It regards all foreign powers, with the possible exception of the U. S. A., as fundamentally hostile to Turkish national interests. It thinks the Russians want the Dardanelles. It was allied with the Germans in the last war and has no illusions about what it is like to be a small country in a German run world. It knows that the British are not greedy for themselves but it is not at all sure that the British wouldn't give away part of Turkey in payment of their war debts, say the Dardanelles to Russia. Adding these factors up the Turks would a little rather be on our side but, the only essential thing in their international policy is that they end on the winning side.
XI. The Turks have a large standing army: 750,000 fully armed, 1,000,000 in reserve. It is tough, trained to hardships, and there is a fighting tradition behind it. It is led like the German Army by veterans from the last war, but the Turks have no air forcet to speak of, no tanks, few anti-tank guns, and not much artillery.
XII. If the Allies are ever going to attack in Europe it would be important to have Turkey on their side. Since it is the natural bridge
*On PNR T-04 see Table I the manufacturing rights, jigs and fixtures were made available to them to put up such a plant. [Footnote in the original.] †Turkish air force amounts to 500 planes, 50 of which are first class. [Footnote in the original.]
head into the Balkans and then into the heart of Germany, and if that bridge head remains in friendly hands, there will be at least one place on the map where the allies can say "here we will be able to attack". The other end of Turkey butts up against the Caucasus. At one end of the Caucasus there are the oil wells of Baku and at the other end there are already the Germans. In view of this surely no one can doubt the strategic position and in the words of the State Department we have already put some chips in and by raising the ante a little more we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
XIII. It is also interesting to note that the Turks have a trade treaty with the Germans somewhat like the one Russia had. Also there are 200,000 tons of chrome ore already mined, waiting for a buyer who can transport it.
R[AY] A. G[RAHAM,] JR.
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Turkey (Kelley)
WASHINGTON, December 26, 1941–6 p. m.
237. Prior to September 1 the following Lend-Lease supplies were shipped to Turkey: Fifty 155 millimeter Howitzers and related parts, 50 limbers for foregoing, 50 tractors for hauling foregoing, 18,500 complete shells for foregoing, 200 large trucks. (190 of these trucks are understood to be still in transit although they were shipped in June.)
Between September 1 and December 10 the following Lend-Lease supplies were shipped to Turkey on vessels and dates named: 1500 sledge hammers, Buchanan September 6; 5 tons trisodium phosphate, Exton October 1; 11 reels mooring cable, West Celina September 6; 420 tires and 420 tubes, Windrush October 6; 760 tons reinforcing steel bars, Essylt November 3; 1160 tons steel bars, Montanan November 11; 990 tons steel bars, Jeff Davis November 18; 290 tons steel bars, Michael Livanos November 18.
Between November 27 and December 17 additional Lend-Lease supplies for Turkey were transferred to the British Government for retransfer to Turkey, and are now being shipped or awaiting shipment. Included are 300 tons ferrosilicon, 10 tons ferrotungsten, 4 tons chrome nickel steel, 85 tons tungsten bars, 10 tons cobalt bars, 17 tons carbon die steel, 10 tons chrome bullet steel, 11⁄2 tons tool steel, 1 ton cast tips, 200 oxygen cylinders, 110 micrometers, 2520 grinding stones, 9325 Emery stones, 15 tons aluminus oxide abrasive, and various army hospital supplies.
On December 16 the Turkish Ambassador in Washington submitted to the Lend-Lease office a considerable list of the most urgent further requirements of Turkish Ministry of National Defense with request that they be furnished under Lend-Lease as soon as possible. This is first instance that Turkish Ambassador has presented a request direct to us for Lend-Lease aid. List includes 72 field guns, 75 millimeters, with 108,000 rounds ammunition; 36 pack Howitzers, 75 millimeters, with 54,000 rounds ammunition; 22 pack Howitzers, 105 millimeters, with tractors and 54,000 rounds ammunition; 15,000 rounds ammunition for 155 millimeter Howitzers, 910 anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, 20 millimeters, with 21,300,000 rounds ammunition; 225 light tanks M/3 with 36,000,000 rounds machine gun ammunition and 341,000 rounds gun ammunition; 9,200 machine guns, 30 calibre, with 250,000,000 rounds ammunition; 9,000 Thompson submachine guns with 90,000,000 rounds ammunition; 540 anti-tank guns, 37 millimeter, with 540,000 rounds ammunition; 700 trucks 212 tons; 432 pick-up trucks 1⁄2 ton; 300 trucks 11⁄2 ton; 500 ambulances; 50 watertank trucks; 75 gasoline tank trucks; 50 portable repair trucks, 21/2 tons.
Although Department has no indication when supplying of above can be completed, program of aid to Turkey is going forward steadily, with prospects of shipping situation improving.
You and Military Attaché may make discreet use of this information with appropriate Turkish authorities.
The British Embassy to the Department of State
His Majesty's Government have now examined the memorandum regarding the procedure to be followed with regard to Lend-Lease aid to Turkey which was enclosed in Mr. Alling's letter to Mr. Hayter of November 7th last,17 and desire to thank the United States Government for their agreement that assistance accorded to Turkey under the Lend-Lease Act shall continue to be furnished through the intermediary of the United Kingdom. They consider that the proposals contained in this memorandum constitute a suitable procedure for transfers of material to Turkey, and accordingly instructions have been sent to the competent British authorities to ensure that the stipulations contained in the memorandum are carried out.
17 Letter not printed. No copy of memorandum is attached to file copy of letter but apparently it was the memorandum quoted in telegram No. 205, November 13, 10 p. m., to the Ambassador in Turkey, p. 926.
2. As regards paragraph 5 of the memorandum, it will be realised that cash-reimbursable Lend-Lease transactions temporarily reduce the amount of Lend-Lease appropriations available, and His Majesty's Government therefore attach the greatest importance to the understanding in this paragraph of the memorandum that there will be prior consultation between the American and British authorities regarding the Turkish need for the commodities concerned. Moreover deliveries to Turkey of most types of war material, however financed, must be at the expense of deliveries to Great Britain, and this is further reason for friendly consultation when relevant cases arise.
3. As regards paragraph 7 of the Department's memorandum, His Majesty's Government agree that the Lease-Lend administration should be informed of all Turkish requests received by the British authorities in the United States. Such requests might emanate either from the British authorities in London or from the Turkish authorities in Washington. In the latter case the British authorities in the United States, before communicating with the United States authorities, would propose to inform His Majesty's Government of the requests received, in order to avoid the risk of a duplication and to enable His Majesty's Government to define their attitude to the requests.
4. In order to facilitate the carrying out of the above procedure His Majesty's Government have arranged to make room under their share of Lease-Lend appropriations for any special requests filed with the United States Government on behalf of Turkey.
WASHINGTON, December 30, 1941.
EFFORTS BY THE AMERICAN AND BRITISH GOVERNMENTS TO ACQUIRE TURKISH CHROME AND TO PREVENT ITS SALE BY TURKEY TO GERMANY 18
811.20 Defense (M)/2043b: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) 19
WASHINGTON, May 17, 1941-4 p. m.
72. The Procurement Division of the Treasury and the Metals Reserve Company have agreements with the British Ministry of
18 For previous correspondence regarding acquisition of chrome from Turkey, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. III, pp. 944 ff.
Telegram repeated to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom as No. 1703, May 17, 4 p. m., with following additional paragraph:
"Reference your 1868 of May 11 [not printed]. As appears from the above telegram just sent to Amembassy, Ankara, the Department prefers that no instructions be given to the British Ambassador in Ankara to discuss future Lease-Lend aid with the Turkish Government. It is believed that discussions of Lease-Lend arrangements should be conducted only by representatives of the American Government."
Economic Warfare to buy 158,316 tons of Turkish chrome of which about 50,000 tons have been delivered or are on the water. The agreements provide that the British shall supply shipping to carry one-half of this chrome to United States ports and to carry the other one-half to Lourenço Marques, East Africa, for transshipment to American vessels. Recent developments have made it impossible for the British to keep up with their schedule of shipping, and the result is that the United States may be deprived, temporarily at least, of Turkish chrome which is urgently needed here for defense production. The Ministry of Economic Warfare advises that Mersine and Alexandretta are the only Turkish ports now open to British shipping and that although there is considerable chrome at Sea of Marmara points and Fethiye, the chrome at the two latter ports can be lifted only by Turkish ships. The British Ambassador at Ankara 20 has accordingly been instructed to negotiate with the Turkish Government to have Turkish ships transport chrome from the Sea of Marmara ports and Fethiye for transshipment to British or British controlled ships at Haifa or Port Said. You are requested to advance this proposal on behalf of the United States Government on the grounds of the urgent need of the American Government for this chrome. It is suggested that you go further in your request to the Turkish Government and ask whether it would not be possible to have Turkish vessels carry the chrome from the Sea of Marmara ports and Fethiye to Red Sea ports where the chrome could be transshipped to American vessels. You are, of course, free to talk with your British colleague but the Department desires that these proposals be advanced as an independent suggestion of this Government. In your conversations with the Turkish Government you are authorized to refer to the aid already extended to the Turkish Government under the Lease-Lend Act 21 and to the possibility of further aid under that Act. You are also authorized to refer to the policy of the United States Government in allowing the purchase by the Turkish Government in the United States of many materials and articles the export of which would not be allowed to other countries, such as airplane spare parts, steel, leather, shell casings, fuses, caps, chemicals, tin, lubricating oil, ammunition of various sorts, and the like. In view of this Lease-Lend aid and this liberal policy as to export licenses, it seems reasonable to the Department to expect the Turkish Government to make every effort possible to facilitate the shipment of the chrome urgently desired by this Government.
20 Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen.
21 Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31. For correspondence on lend-lease aid to Turkey, see pp. 814 ff.