867.24/231: Telegram

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

135. For the President, Secretary and Under Secretary. In the course of a conversation in Beirut with Rauf Orbay who is en route to London as the new Turkish Ambassador he remarked that while Turkey would, of course, adhere to its alliance with Britain, their will to resist a German attack had been secretly shaken during recent weeks not so much as a result of failure of Libyan campaign and recent events in Far East as of steadily growing dissatisfaction in Turkish Government circles at failure of promised and requisitioned war material to arrive from Britain and United States. He referred with asperity to requirement that Britain first approve delivery of American lease-lend material to Turkey and remarked that this requirement and the physical handling of shipments by various British agencies continued to entail inordinate delays.

He cited delivery to Turkish Government of 50 American Howitzers which he said had been received without the proper motive power, to the diversion by British authorities in Near East of 190 out of 200 American lend-lease trucks and to repeated failure of British mission in Washington to take action in what he described as relatively unimportant requisitions submitted by this Government and approved by American authorities. He said that as a result of these and similar incidents his Government was beginning to question whether Britain really wanted a strong Turkey able to resist German aggression and that it was his intention upon arrival in London to express the foregoing views to British Government.

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As I am informed Orbay is a confidante of President Inönü15 and spent considerable time with him immediately prior to his departure, he may well be considered to reflect Inönü’s state of mind.

  1. Ismet Inönü, President of the Turkish Republic.