811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/190: Telegram
The Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 15—8:41 a.m.]
1280. In discussing yesterday with British Chargé the written reply which he has now received from Turkish Government to the British chrome proposals (see my 1278, December 13) he stated that in his opinion the reply was substantially satisfactory and went as far to meet the British desiderata as the Turks could be persuaded to put into writing. He added that he had received definite oral assurances from the Foreign Minister that in implementing this written agreement it was his intention to furnish to Germany the absolute minimum tonnage of chrome obligatory under the existing Clodius agreement and to make available to Britain all tonnage above this amount. In this connection it should be noted that unless further deliveries of materials specified in Schedule Ia of the Clodius agreement are made by the Germans they will thus receive only about 11,000 tons of chrome. British Chargé and I are agreed and Jackson is in accord that we should now devote our principal efforts to the following practical considerations.
- A careful check of the accuracy of the certificates to be furnished specifying the amounts of chrome above ground at the various stock piles as of January 8. British have satisfactory means of effecting such a check except at the Guleman mines. An endeavor will be made to include in the purchase contract permission to visit the Guleman mines which are in a restricted military zone.
- Arrangements for the transportation to accessible ports at the earliest possible date of all chrome above ground as of January 8 which should amount to not less than 100,000 tons and including inferior grades perhaps to as much as 200,000 tons.
- Impeding the receipt by the Germans of such tonnage of chrome as they may become entitled to.
- Constant and increasing pressure on the Turkish authorities with a view to inducing them not to extend the time limit for German deliveries of specified materials beyond March 31 or in any event to agree to a minimum extension thereof.
- Coordinating with the Department and the British Foreign Office the information to be furnished the press as to the progress of the chrome negotiations.
As the American correspondents in Ankara continue to make almost daily inquiry concerning the progress of these negotiations and to avoid a repetition of the erroneous impression recently given by them to the American public that the Turkish Government is disposed to favor Germany in the matter of chrome, it seems highly desirable that the Department authorize a statement at the appropriate time indicating that the outcome of the negotiations has been satisfactory from our [Page 784]point of view and that this be done before the American correspondents in Ankara place their own interpretation on inadequate information gleaned from unauthorized sources. However, it is advisable that any such statement be discussed with Numan before it is authorized.
In the light of the written reply received by the British Embassy and the oral assurances given by Numan to the British Chargé and myself it would seem that the objectives summarized in paragraph 10 of the Department’s 481 of September 30, 7 p.m. are well on the road to attainment.
I should appreciate the Department’s comments with respect to the foregoing.