740.0011 European War 1939/20008: Telegram
The Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 8—10:20 a.m.]
126. In the course of my visits to the Minister for Foreign Affairs13 and the Secretary General of the Foreign Office14 today, the Minister stated categorically that “the Turkish Government had made its decision and would defend itself if attacked from any source even if the country was surrounded on all sides”. He then pointed out that there were no divided councils in Turkey as had been the case in Yugoslavia and was inclined to attribute the rapid defeat of the Yugoslav Army to these divided councils which he said had paralyzed action.
I gave the Minister a resume of our war effort with particular reference to merchant tonnage, planes, tanks and artillery to be produced this year [with] which he did not appear to be particularly familiar and which seemed to impress him. After a further general discussion along these lines the Minister indicated the Turkish Government’s dissatisfaction with the delays and diversions which have occurred in connection with the delivery of war and other material to Turkey from the United States. I assured him that we were making every effort to eliminate any delays or diversions and invited his attention to the fact that substantial deliveries of goods intended for Turkey were now lying in Mediterranean ports awaiting transportation to Turkish railheads and suggested that all available Turkish vessels carry chrome to these ports and pick up the material destined for Turkey. Towards the close of our conversation which was marked by extreme cordiality on the Minister’s part he remarked that several minor occurrences had taken place which had caused him some annoyance [Page 681] and referred particularly to recent incident in which he said that a request for oil drilling necessary for Turkey had been refused on the grounds that Turkey might be attacked by the Germans and that the machinery would undoubtedly fall into their hands. I assured the Minister of my desire to be helpful in connection with shipments of American material to Turkey and that I hoped that he would bring to my attention any particular matters which were causing him vexation.
In the course of my subsequent conversation with Secretary General he said Turkish Minister to Egypt was being sent to Washington to assist the Ambassador in connection with lease-lend matters and that he would arrange to have me meet him in Ankara prior to his departure for Washington.