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811.20 Defense (M)/2082: Telegram The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, May 22, 1941–3 p. m.
[Received May 23—9:20 a. m.] 160. I was only today able to see Secretary General of the Foreign Office 22 with reference to your No. 72, May 17, 4 p. m. He promised to take up the matter at once and assured me that his Government would do its utmost to be of help in the matter but said that in view of difficulties previously encountered in arranging transport of materials from Egypt he was frankly doubtful whether it would prove materially possible for the small Turkish merchant marine to afford substantial assistance.
811.20 Defense (M)/2412: Telegram The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray)
WASHINGTON, June 20, 1941–6 p.m. 95. Your 160, May 22, 3 p. m. In the course of a recent discussion with an officer of the Department regarding the possibility of using Turkish ships to transport chrome to Red Sea ports, the Turkish Ambassador 23 said he could see no reason why some such arrangement could not be made. He added that he would be glad to give us the names of the American vessels which are transporting goods for Turkey to Port Suez in the thought that if this information were transmitted to our Embassy at Ankara, arrangements could be worked out there for Turkish ships to carry chrome to Port Suez and pick up the cargo from the United States. He said he would be very glad to cooperate in this manner in any way he could since it seemed to him that it was to the mutual advantage of both Governments. Please telegraph your comments.
811.20 Defense (M)/2469 : Telegram The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, June 25, 1941–6 p. m.
[Received June 26—11:15 a. m.] 218. Your 95, June 20. The question of the possibility of using Turkish ships to transport chrome from Fethiye (I assume that this port is meant in view of previous telegrams) to Red Sea ports for transshipment to the American vessels transporting goods for Turkey has been discussed informally at the Foreign Office. The competent officials are of the opinion that the utilization of Turkish vessels for this purpose is not feasible because in view of the location Fethiye any vessel carrying British-owned chrome would almost certainly be captured or sunk by Axis warships. Furthermore, they stated that if chrome was documented as having been purchased by the United States the Turkish Government would be placed in an embarrassing position in view of the fact that it has refused to sell chrome to Germany on the ground that all Turkish chrome had been purchased by Great Britain. (The British Commercial Attaché 23a in a conversation relative to this point, pointed out that the chrome at Fethiye could be sold by the British Government to the American Government f. o. b. Fethiye and he did not see how the Turkish Government would be involved inasmuch as the American Government would have acquired the ore from the British Government.) The Turkish officials believe that the safest way to transport chrome at Fethiye to the United States would be by shipment on Turkish vessels to Mersin or Alexandretta for transshipment to vessels sailing from these ports.
29 Numan Menemencioglu. 23 Mehmet Münir Ertegün.
The British Commercial Attaché also believes that this would probably be the best way to handle the chrome at the port in question. While no formal reply has been made to the proposal presented to the Turkish Government by the British Government, referred to in your section 2, Number 72, May 17, 4 p. m.,24 or to the representations of the Embassy in support of this proposal the Foreign Office states that it has been decided that no Turkish vessels can be used for the transportation of chrome from Fethiye for transshipment to British or British controlled ships at Haifa or Port Said because the Turkish Government considers that any Turkish vessels engaged in such traffic would be captured or sunk by Axis vessels. The Embassy gathers that the British Embassy considers that the Turkish position is well taken.
The Embassy is in accordance with the opinion that the safest way to obtain the chrome at Fethiye under present conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean would be by shipment on Turkish vessels to Mersin or Alexandretta.
Stanley R. Jordan. 24 First paragraph, sentence beginning “The British Ambassador at Ankara”, p. 937.
811.20 Defense (M)/2412: Telegram
WASHINGTON, June 28, 1941-11 a. m. 108. Personal for the Ambassador. Department's No. 95, June 20, 6 p. m. and your No. 218, June 25, 6 p. m.
6 You are requested to seek an early appointment with the Minister of Foreign Affairs,248 to inform him that the American Government has reason to believe that in the forthcoming negotiations between Turkey and Germany concerning an economic agreement, the German Government may make certain requests regarding the acquisition of chrome and other mineral ores in Turkey. The Turkish Government is aware, of course, that the American Government is desirous of obtaining considerable Turkish chrome ore which has already been contracted for. Moreover, the American Government is very hopeful that the Turkish Government will cooperate in the transportation of this ore. While the American Government has every confidence that the Turkish Government will resist any German suggestions which might in any way affect the obtaining by the United States of the chrome ore in question, the reports of the forthcoming German-Turkish economic negotiations would seem to justify an inquiry on the subject, with a view to obtaining the firm assurances of the Turkish Government in this regard. The American Government is desirous also of being able to continue to purchase Turkish chrome.
The Turkish Government will understand that a very favorable impression would be made on American public opinion if Turkey should cooperate enthusiastically regarding the transportation of the chrome which would be taken as a positive demonstration that the Turkish Government continues unimpaired its friendly disposition towards the United States and Great Britain. A reply on the part of the Turkish Government is urgently requested.
As regards shipping possibilities, as treated in your 218, a separate reply will be sent. For your strictly personal information and not for intimation to the Turkish authorities, the American Government has under urgent consideration the question of its future policy towards Turkey with regard to further Lend-Lease aid and with regard to Turkish purchases of materials subject to export control in the United States. The Department is forwarding to you in a separate telegram information regarding the facilities which have been accorded Turkey in the above regards, but it does not desire that the question of our future policy towards Turkey be connected in any way with your discussions concerning the chrome matter, since we do not desire to suggest that either continuing favorable action towards Turkey or a discontinuance of such action will be governed by the Turkish Government's measures concerning chrome, important as that may be.
24a Sükrü Saracoglu.
The Department is informing you in a separate telegram regarding the extent of aid the U. S. has furnished Turkey, as requested in your No. 168, May 24.25
811.20 Defense (M)/2576 : Telegram The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, July 10, 1941–6 p. m.
[Received 8:25 p. m.] 247. While awaiting receipt of the further instruction regarding shipping facilities I took up today with the Secretary General of the Foreign Office so much of your telegram 108, June 30 , as relates to the possible interference with our purchase of chrome in consequence of sales to Germany. Numan assured me most earnestly that his Government will positively refuse in the future, as it has in the past, to sell chrome to Germany and that the American Government need have no fear of difficulties being put in the way of its purchases.
811.20 Defense (M)/2660: Telegram The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, July 18, 1941–5 p. m.
[Received 9:22 p. m.] 261. Your 108, June 28. Exercising ahead of prescribed date their option under existing agreement to contract for next year's entire supply of Turkish chrome, British are now negotiating for purchase and anticipate no difficulty.
2. Report which I understand has been broadcast to United States that Turks are proposing to sell chrome to Germany is understood to have been based at least in part upon statement of Swiss journalist whom there is reason to believe Germans are using.
3. In reply to inquiry of British Ambassador on this subject Numan Bey yesterday stated that German Embassy had not in fact mentioned chrome in connection with forthcoming negotiations for new barter arrangement (which he said incidentally are to be postponed until September when he has returned from expected opera
tion); and then he had anticipated any such suggestion by informing Papen 26 that that item must be excluded from discussions.
The Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, July 24, 1941–3 p. m.
[Received 10 p. m.] 267. Numan Bey yesterday told me that in the trade negotiations to be begun in September the Germans will be represented by Dr. Clodius.27 In the meanwhile the technical advisers are to work out together some mutually acceptable type of agreement as the Turks, in view of past experiences, are not willing to accept a clearing agreement and the Germans will not accept the Turkish device of private compensation. He anticipates the agreement will take the form of an arrangement for barter on the basis of a set of corresponding categories (for instance, olive and other vegetable oils in exchange for munitions, foodstuffs for machinery, et cetera). In any agreement reached Turkey would insist upon the proviso that her exports to Germany should not at any time exceed the equivalent of goods actually received therefrom. He pointed out that under practically a year's operation of the current agreement contemplating exchanges to the value of 21 million Turkish pounds on either side Germany has been able to supply goods to the amount now of only about 9 million, which he attributes primarily to her reduced productive capacity rather than to transportation difficulties. This country is principally interested in obtaining from Germany munitions and spare parts for industrial machinery which are beginning to be desperately needed.
From another source believed to be reliable but not confirmed in this instance it now appears that a report circulated to the effect that this Government intends to sell chrome to Germany has this much basis: that in a recent inter-ministerial memorandum the Ministry of Commerce (which has had a number of German advisers and which
a is understood to be still rather tinged with German influence) chrome was included in a list of Turkish products suggested for consideration in any negotiations for a barter arrangement. But there is no indication that the Foreign Office (with which (rests] authority in the matter) has any intention of violating its assurances to the British and ourselves.
* Franz von Papen, German Ambassador in Turkey.
** Carl Clodius, Deputy Director of the Economic Policy Department of the German Foreign Ministry.