811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/99: Telegram

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

1004. My 989, October 6.

1. British Ambassador has had two conversations with Minister for Foreign Affairs79 with regard to British chrome proposals. Minister agreed that British should have all chrome produced up to January 8. Pie raised objections to British request to be allowed to send representatives to inspect chrome but agreed that matter should be subject of further discussion. With regard to third condition (paragraph 4c of Department’s 47180) he said that he could not agree to give priority of transport to United States between January 8 and March 31 because it would affect Turkey’s obligations in regard to 45,000 tons of chrome to Germany.

At second meeting Numan requested Ambassador to allow Turks to have 10,000 tons of chrome which he subsequently reduced to 5,000 from British stocks for delivery to Sweden in connection with the chartering of certain Swedish vessels to go to the United States to lift wheat for Turkey. Numan indicated that British acquiescence in Turkish request would greatly facilitate the negotiations.

2. With regard to chrome in 1943 and 1944 the Minister agreed to give British complete equality of treatment after March 31, 1943. With reference to British proposal that all surplus ore should be reserved for British Government Numan observed that there would probably be no surplus and if there was he wished to reserve a small [Page 757]quantity for Turkish use. He agreed to British proposal that Turkish Government should not refuse to sell chrome to British on the ground of any hypothetic obligation to deliver chrome to Germany against some future delivery of goods to Turkey.

3. With regard to chrome after January 1, 1945 Numan agreed definitely to give the British priority of option to make an agreement for chrome after that date over all Axis countries including Hungary, Rumania, et cetera. However, he said that he desired to retain liberty to make compensation agreements with neutral countries such as Sweden and Switzerland for small amounts of chrome against manufactured goods to be delivered to Turkey. He would guarantee that none of such chrome would go to Germany directly or indirectly.

4. With regard to the deliveries of chrome to Germany in 1943 and 1944 under the Clodius agreement, the Minister made the following statements. He said that the Turkish obligation in regard to the 45,000 tons of chrome after January 8 was not contingent upon the delivery of the 18,000,000 Turkish pounds of war material stipulated in the agreement, but upon the delivery of the 55,000,000 Turkish pounds of goods stipulated in Schedule I. If Germany delivered [a portion, Turkey] would deliver a corresponding amount including the appropriate proportion of chrome. Nothing, however, would go to Germany before German deliveries to Turkey. (I have been informed by a reliable source that up to the present Germany has delivered only 16,000,000 Turkish pounds of the 55,000,000 Turkish pounds of goods stipulated in Schedule I and that the competent Turkish authorities do not expect Germans to deliver more than 30 to 35,000,000 Turkish pounds of goods on Schedule la before end of Clodius agreement on March 31.)

Regarding delivery of remaining 135,000 tons of chrome to Germany Foreign Minister emphasized Turkey was obligated to conclude before March 31 a supplementary agreement with Germany providing for delivery of 135,000 tons of chrome in return for war material to be supplied by Germany to Turkey if Germany were willing to furnish war material desired by Turkey. Numan said Germans have offered to Turkey almost every conceivable sort of war material and Turkey would be guilty of bad faith if she now stated she did not desire war material from Germany or made unreasonable demands in respect to kind of material desired. Numan said during recent negotiations in Berlin, Germans had offered Turks far more war material than they could pay for, up to a total of 400,000,000 reichsmarks. Turks had insisted on cutting down this amount to 100,000,000 reichsmarks. Germans then proposed that this figure be reduced to 80,000,000 reichsmarks and that a separate agreement be concluded covering delivery of war material to value of 20,000,000 reichsmarks against [Page 758]chrome. (20,000,000 reichsmarks represents value of 135,000 tons of chrome at price recently agreed between Turks and Germans for the 45,000 tons.) Numan said that it had not yet been definitely decided whether there would be one agreement covering delivery of 100,000,000 reichsmarks of war material, 20,000,000 reichsmarks of which would be paid for in chrome or whether there would be two agreements, one for 80,000,000 reichsmarks involving no delivery of chrome and one for 20,000,000 reichsmarks to be paid for entirely in chrome. Foreign Minister in response to arguments of British Ambassador against conclusion of a supplementary agreement with Germany involving delivery of 135,000 tons of chrome took very firmly the position that the Turkish Government would be violating its obligations under Clodius agreement if it sought to avoid the conclusion of the further agreement provided for in that agreement when the Germans were willing to supply the requisite war materials.

5. Although the Turks appear to have definitely decided that they must conclude and are well on the way to committing themselves to the conclusion of the supplementary agreement involving the supply of 135,000 tons of chrome to Germany I propose to see the Minister for Foreign Affairs as soon as the holidays permit with a view to ascertaining whether it is possible in any way to prevent or delay the conclusion or reduce the scope of supplementary agreement under consideration with Germans. If it proves impossible to move Turks from conclusion of supplementary agreement I shall press Foreign Minister as hard as possible to hold Germans to strict fulfillment of their obligations under Clodius agreement and not to agree to any amendments to that agreement in their favor. I shall emphasize importance of Turkish chrome to us from supply point of view and consequent necessity of our continuing to receive Turkish chrome insisting in this connection that we should receive at least equal treatment with Germans in 1943 and 1944.

  1. Numan Menemencioğlu.
  2. Dated September 27, 4 p.m., p. 748.