811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/107: Telegram

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

532. Your 1029 of October 16, 5 p.m., your 1004 of October 10, 6 p.m., your 989 of October 6, 4 p.m. and your 986 of October 5, 4 p.m.

The Department is seriously disturbed regarding the course which the chrome negotiations appear to be taking.
It is clear from your 1004 of October 10 and confirmed by your 1029 of October 16 that with regard to chrome mined in 1943 and 1944, [Page 764] the Turks contemplate refusing the British and ourselves chrome we need, on the basis of an as yet unmatured obligation to supply Germany. The Department concurs in the interpretation given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs as reported in paragraph 4 of your 1004, namely that the Turkish obligation to deliver the first 45,000 tons of chrome in 1943 is contingent upon the delivery of the entire 55 million Turkish pounds worth of goods stipulated in Schedule Ia of the Clodius Agreement. Germany is therefore only entitled, in our view, to that proportion of this 45,000 tons of ore which actual German deliveries bear to the total of 55 million Turkish pounds worth of goods stipulated. This appears to us to be clearly the maximum extent of Turkey’s present commitment to Germany in the matter of chrome which the most scrupulous observance of her obligations to Germany would require. In the light of the Prime Minister’s indicated acceptance of a proposal that Turkey deliver chrome to Britain pari passu with deliveries to Germany (as reported in your 986), and even in the face of the reduced assurance (reported in your 986) which the Prime Minister gave the British Ambassador that equality of deliveries between Great Britain and Germany was agreed provided it did not interfere with the delivery to the Germans of the first 45,000 tons, Numan’s statement in paragraph 4 of your 1029 is disappointing. This later statement makes it clear that the Turks now intend to reserve 90,000 tons from 1943 production for Germany, regardless of the statement of the Minister reported in paragraph 2 of your 1004 that Turks would not refuse to sell us chrome on ground of any hypothetical obligation to Germany.
With regard to the Turks’ apparent decision to conclude the supplementary agreement involving 135,000 tons as reported in your 1004, it is the Department’s understanding that there is no obligation on Turkey’s part to negotiate such a supplementary agreement in the absence of Germany’s delivery in full of the 18 million Turkish pounds worth of war materials contained in Schedule Ia.
It would appear therefore that the Turks, (a) regardless of our need for chrome, are in effect reserving virtually all 1943 and 1944 production for Germany, and (b) negotiating with the Germans for payment of chrome in 1943 and 1944 when Turkey is under no compulsion or obligation as yet to conclude negotiations on any particular set of terms.
This record is difficult to reconcile with the attitude to be expected in a country which is allied to Great Britain and the recipient of lend-lease assistance from this country. It is planned to request the Turkish Ambassador here to call at the Department at which time he will be informed of the views of this Government in the sense of the preceding paragraphs.
The Department requests that you consult with your British colleague [Page 765] and concert your further efforts with him to the end that the President and the Prime Minister, in addition to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, are impressed with the deep concern shared by this Government and the British over the extent to which our needs for chrome are being neglected and Germany’s unmatured claims apparently are being facilitated.
Below are given the Department’s comments on various subsidiary points reported by you in your telegrams under reference: (a) The Department naturally welcomes the reaffirmation of British title to all chrome which will be above ground on January 8, 1943. The Department believes, however, that every care should be taken that the British and our interpretation of this point is explicitly agreed to by the Turks. In this connection information would be appreciated regarding the status of the British option to buy all such stocks, which option, it is the Department’s understanding, the British had expressed the intention to exercise. (b) It is believed that a grant of permission by the Turks for reasonable opportunities for supervision should be provided. It is not desired, however, to press this to the point of irritation, and the Department approves entirely the basis on which you placed the suggestion as reported in your 1029. Every effort should be made to obtain necessary transport facilities. All of the above deals merely with what the British and ourselves are clearly entitled to, plus the reasonable request for cooperation in rendering the exercise of ownership effective, (c) A priority of option on chrome after January 1, 1945, as described in your 1004, would appear to meet the longer term problem, at least for the purposes of the present negotiations, but such agreement should be formally secured and affirmed by the Turkish Government, (d) Retention by the Turks of nominal amounts of chrome for future deals with neutrals does not appear relevant to the heart of the current negotiations, and consequently every effort should be made to postpone discussion of this suggestion. Concurrence by this Government in such an arrangement in any event can by no means be forecast, and consequently no intimation of concurrence should be given at this time.
This telegram has been sent to Ankara, repeated to London.