867.113 Jones and Lamson Machine Co./12

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

No. 419

Sir: I refer to the Department’s Instruction No. 131, dated October 4, 1934,76 relative to the possible sale to the Turkish Government of machinery for the manufacture of munitions by the Jones and Lamson Machine Company of Springfield, Vermont. It is noted that the Department deems that it would be contrary to the policy of the United States to finance or otherwise encourage the exportation of the machinery in question. Whether or not the Jones and Lamson Machinery Company can get financial assistance from our commercial banks, which would enable them to obtain this contract, appears to be doubtful.

At the present time the Turkish Government is interested in the purchase of a large number of caterpillar tractors for the army, and there is a prospect that this order can be obtained for the United States if facilities can be obtained from the Export-Import Bank, and if the Department entertains no objection to the transaction. It seems probable, having regard to the decision in the Jones and Lamson Machine Company case that the same view would be taken of the sale of tractors.

It is to be pointed out, as to both contemplated purchases, that there is no question of what is popularly denominated “high-power salesmanship” of the type recently much discussed in the press. On the contrary, the Turkish Government itself has turned to the United States and manifested a preference for American supplies. If we are unwilling to approve these contracts, they will go to European countries whose representatives are in Ankara doing their utmost to prevent purchases in the United States. I gather from what I have heard that from the purely credit point of view the Export-Import Bank officials are disposed to give the required assistance.

As the principles involved in this question are likely to come up in many future instances, both in Turkey and elsewhere, I offer the suggestion that we define our policy with precision. War supplies such as guns, explosives, bombs, cartridges, and the like, are certainly within the purview of the Department’s policy which, it may be hoped, will become an internationally accepted policy. But there is an almost unlimited line of articles in common use which may or may not be used for war purposes. Thus, for example, machine tools needed in Turkey for the army can be used for peacetime purposes, and it may be assumed that they will be so used occasionally. Similarly, caterpillar [Page 970] tractors, if purchased in the first instance for the army, can be used in a variety of ways, all of them quite innocent.

It is to be hoped that we can so formulate and apply our policy as to prevent the loss to our manufacturers and working classes of orders for goods in every-day use, where self-denial would only redound to the advantage of European manufacturers.

Respectfully yours,

Robert P. Skinner
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