811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/36: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

4347. Department’s telegram 3414, July 23.44 The London Preemption Committee has submitted the following comments on the program of preclusive purchasing in Turkey contained in the Department’s telegram cited above.

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“Pre-emption Committee have carefully studied program of purchases contained in State Department’s telegram to United States Embassy at Ankara, which they warmly welcome and approve.

In accordance with request of State Department they beg to submit the following comments:

1. They assume that the purchases proposed constitute short term program for immediate execution.

2. Full statement regarding British purchases has been sent by U. K. C. C. to their representative in New York for communication to U. S. C. C. This will no doubt be made available by the latter to the State Department and Board of Economic Warfare. Committee fully endorse objective set out in fifth sentence of this paragraph.

Paragraphs 3 and 12. Committee fully agree that closest consultation between the two Ambassadors is essential and would welcome early appointment of representatives of U. S. C. C. in Turkey which they are confident will still further facilitate joint effort. They suggest that pending such appointment negotiations for purchase under the new United States program should be conducted through U. K. C. C. except where otherwise agreed between the two Ambassadors.

4. Antimony. This may become an enemy deficiency in 1942 and Turkish production, estimated at 900 tons of ore per annum, has pre-emptive importance. Further purchases are fully approved.

5. Cotton clippings, waste and rags. U. K. C. C. have authority to buy up to 1,700 tons of waste but are having difficulty in making purchases. These commodities have great pre-emptive importance.

Molybdenum. According to present information there is little to be had in Turkey but British Ambassador is already investigating in view of reported German interest. Committee hope that any quantity, great or small, will be purchased.

Flax. U. K. C. C. has authority to buy up to 600 tons.

Hemp. According to recent report from U. K. C. C. present stocks are 2,000 tons. Purchase would be desirable subject to quality. There is some very poor quality on the market which would not be worth buying.

6. Cotton. Committee understand that export is prohibited except for amounts destined to Germany under Clodius agreement45 and to other European countries for barter. They nevertheless consider it would be useful to test possibilities of purchase.

On the question of storage they offer following comments which are of general application and do not apply only to cotton. To be fully effective pre-emptive purchases must be followed by early shipment. If that is impossible purchase for storage may be justifiable in order to deny valuable goods to the enemy but it entails some risk especially if the goods are stored in dangerous localities. Moreover, it provides opportunity to local government to exact conditions for eventual grant of export licence.

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[7.] Caiques. Committee has hitherto accepted advice of British Ambassador against pre-emption. Possibility of connecting it with a purchase of hazel nuts is now being examined.

8. Committee agree that United States purchases are unnecessary.

9. Edible oils are a serious enemy deficiency but Committee would not feel justified in recommending pre-emptive purchases in Turkey in view of exorbitant prices and small size of Turkish surplus as compared with enemy requirements. On the other hand Committee recommend immediate purchase of linseed as Germany is now very short of drying oils though she may later ease her position by means of substitutes. Practicability of pre-empting hazel nuts is being examined as hazel nut oil can be used as luboil.

Paragraphs 10 and 11. United States Embassy are telegraphing separately to State Department on financial matters and British Embassy are also receiving instructions to discuss with State Department.”

  1. See footnote 41, p. 710.
  2. Commercial agreement between Turkey and Germany, signed at Ankara, October 9, 1941. Dr. Carl Clodius negotiated and signed the agreement for Germany. For a summary of provisions of agreement, see telegram No. 388, October 17, 1941, 7 p.m., from the Ambassador in Turkey, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, p. 964.