Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson)

I took up with Lord Halifax the memorandum19 which he had handed to the Acting Secretary on arrangements for lend-lease with Turkey. I told him that the Department believed that the present arrangements and the arrangements proposed by him were defective in that they did not provide for direct relations between the Turkish Government and this Government.

I went over with him the history of present procedure and mentioned the mounting irritation of the Turks by reason of the requirement that they must deal with us through the British. I said that we fully realized the fact that the British had the primary responsibility in this area and that we had no desire to minimize the weight which [Page 688] should be attached to their views as to whether or not specific requests should be granted. However, since the main effect of lend-lease to Turkey was psychological, any system which produced adverse psychological effects was on its face defective.

Lord Halifax appeared to agree with this and said that he had no strong convictions in the matter. It was, in his opinion, necessary to have some system which would avoid overlapping requests. I suggested the possibility of a system by which American and British officials in Ankara could go over the requests at the outset to determine whether or not similar items had been requested from London. After this the Turkish requests might be sent simultaneously to London and Washington with the comments of the coordinating committee. London could then inform Washington as to what items might be furnished from London or Cairo. The matter could then be discussed here with the Turkish authorities in the light of all this information and a decision reached by the Joint Munitions Assignments Board.

Lord Halifax thought that if the substance of his note were communicated to Mr. Harriman, along with our decision as to the procedure which we wished, agreement could be promptly reached.

Dean Acheson
  1. Aide-mémoire dated March 13, p. 685.