811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/97: Telegram

The Chargé in Turkey ( Kelley ) to the Secretary of State

989. My 986, October 5.

1. British Ambassador states Prime Minister adopted a most friendly and sympathetic attitude when Ambassador called upon him yesterday to present note containing proposals of British Government regarding purchase of chrome. Minister read note carefully. He did not question in any way right of British Government to acquire all [Page 755] chrome produced in Turkey up to January 8. Regarding proposals concerning purchases of chrome in 1943 and 44 Minister agreed to the principle of deliveries to Great Britain pari passu with those to Germany provided it would not interfere with delivery to Germans of 45,000 tons to which they were entitled if they delivered the war material stipulated in the Clodius agreement. He therefore suggested the pari passu principle should be made effective from March 31, 1943, date of the termination of the Clodius agreement, instead of January 8, 1943. In discussing this point, the Minister observed that under Clodius agreement the Germans were entitled to 45,000 tons of chrome only if they delivered the war material to the value of 18,000,000 Turkish pounds specified in the agreement and that he had flatly rejected a German contention that they were entitled to 45,000 tons of chrome irrespective of the amount of war material which they might have delivered. In order to obtain the additional 135,000 tons of chrome, Germans would have to conclude a new agreement providing for delivery of additional war material desired by the Turkish Government. Minister remarked in this connection that the Turkish Government could, of course, insist upon delivery of military equipment which the Germans would find it difficult or impossible to deliver. Minister concluded by saying that he would turn over the note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs who would have charge of the further negotiations.

2. Prime Minister brought up again the question of wheat.78 He declared that he needed wheat in order to strengthen his hand in chrome negotiations. While he did not propose that delivery of wheat be tied up directly with delivery of chrome, he referred several times to his need of wheat in connection with chrome negotiations although he did not specify in what way the supply of wheat would be of assistance to him.

It is my view as well as that of British Ambassador that we should endeavor to find a way to take advantage in chrome negotiations of Prime Minister’s obsession in matter of procurement of wheat with a view to reducing as much as possible deliveries of chrome to Germany during 1943 and 1944. It is not possible to make any concrete recommendations in this matter at present time inasmuch as it is not clear as yet how an offer to supply wheat to Turkey can best be worked into chrome negotiations. I consider it most significant that Prime Minister has of his own accord several times brought up question of supply of wheat to Turkey in connection with chrome negotiations. However, it is too early to say whether an undertaking on our part to supply substantial quantities of wheat in 1943 and 44 would result in the Germans finding it impossible to reach an agreement with the Turks with regard to war material to be supplied by Germany in exchange for the 135,000 tons of chrome.

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In the opinion of the two Embassies, wheat is the only commodity which is of sufficient attraction to the Turks to induce them to endeavor to evade their obligations under the Clodius agreement.

3. With regard to the adoption of measures calculated to reduce Germany’s actual receipts of chrome to which she is or may be entitled under the Clodius agreement, I have discussed this question with my British colleague, and we both feel that it is premature, in view of the present status of the chrome negotiations, to consider at the present time the formulation of such measures. The advisability of such measures as well as their character will depend, of course, largely on the outcome of our negotiations with the Turks, the attitude taken by the Turks in the negotiations, and the extent of the deliveries of chrome to Germany by Turkey.

  1. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 727 ff.