811.20 Defense(M)/2043b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (MacMurray)19

72. The Procurement Division of the Treasury and the Metals Reserve Company have agreements with the British Ministry of [Page 937] 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 Ankara20 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 Act21 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.

  1. 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.”

  2. Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen.
  3. Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31. For correspondence on lend-lease aid to Turkey, see pp. 814 ff.