867.5151/166: Telegram

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

70. My telegrams 156, December 12, 4 p.m. and 161, December 19, 5 p.m. from Ankara.

With reference to the application to arrears of exchange premium on imports of 37½ piaster[s] per dollar, importers currently [Page 891] receiving exchange permits are refusing to pay the premium which will result in delaying the transfer of arrears indefinitely.
The Minister of Commerce has advised a representative group of Turkish importers that if the American Government raises no objection he will favorably consider a proposal of the importers for the liquidation of arrears at the old rate of approximately 130 piasters as rapidly as exchange becomes available and cover the difference by temporarily raising from 37½ piasters to 45 or 50 piasters the premium to be collected on new imports from the United States. The exact increase and method of application would be worked out by the Turkish authorities and the importers.
Apart from any question of commercial policy which may be involved by reason of the collection of a compensation premium on American imports considerably in excess of the export premium granted on Turkish exports to the United States, this would appear to be the only practicable solution thus far in sight whereby American exporters will receive full dollar payment on arrears.
Although the higher premium undoubtedly represents an added burden on imports from the United States, it is lower than premiums applying on imports from other countries and importers stated that with the disappearance of European sources of supply and the continued heavy demand for imports their proposal, if accepted, would not weaken the position of American imports as prices are already very high.
As exchange permits now being issued are valid for only 15 days, an expression of the Department’s opinion is urgently requested.