The Ambassador in Turkey (Skinner) to the Secretary of State

No. 282

Sir: I have the honor to report that information reaches me to the effect that the General Staff of the Army is creating a motorized army corps in Thrace and will purchase for this corps in the immediate future the following:

  • 230 trucks
  • 100 motorcycles
  • 60 6-ton tractors
  • 40 tractors for anti-aircraft guns

It is understood that for the above equipment the necessary money has been appropriated. In addition to the items named, it is the intention of the authorities to acquire for the army up to a total of 1500 trucks, 14 searchlights, and machine guns, for a total of [Page 965] 3,000,000 Turkish pounds. Tests will be carried out shortly with the Colt infantry machine gun. Large quantities of ammunition will likewise be purchased.

Except as to the equipment of the motorized army corps in Thrace, most of the equipment herein mentioned is to be purchased on a four-year credit basis. While there has been some discussion about ordering trucks and tractors in Russia, the transportation division of the General Staff is against the idea on the theory that the purchases of such material in Russia would be experimental.

In previous despatches mention has been made of an army expansion program, but the foregoing seems to be the most definite information thus far available with regard to the various things which are to be purchased almost immediately. The Department may be able to bring these facts discreetly to the attention of our manufacturers. I should think it safe to say that any orders for army account would be cared for financially in strict accordance with the contracts without any reasonable doubt.

I am informed also that Ahmet Emin Bey expects to leave for America in the near future, there to remain about one month. Doubtless he will make himself known in government circles in Washington on his arrival. He has offered the opinion that if orders for war material are to be obtained by American manufacturers, it will be necessary for the representatives of American concerns to come to Ankara and get into direct touch with the competent authorities.

Respectfully yours,

Robert P. Skinner