811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/190: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt)

685. Your 1271, December 12, noon, 1278, December 13, 4 p.m. and 1280, December 13, 6 p.m.

In view of your and the British Chargé’s agreement that Numan’s written reply constitutes the maximum written assurances obtainable at this time, the Department approves concentrating immediately on the first four practical considerations you list in your 1280. The Department assumes from the same telegram that continuing pressure in connection with your fourth point should result in the Turks holding to the March 31 deadline stipulated, or at worst granting a short extension. Success in this respect it seems will hold the Germans to only a fraction of the ore for which they conceivably might be permitted to qualify in 1943. Clear title to all aboveground stocks on January 8 and other assurances, though phrased somewhat ambiguously in Numan’s note, strengthen the minimum position of the British under their contract concerning which until a few months ago it had been assumed there was no doubt.
With respect to the fifth point listed in your 1280, the Department is of the opinion that the time is not appropriate for any public expression of satisfaction over the outcome of the negotiations to date. In the first place, until it is known how much the Germans will be permitted to qualify for and actually obtain in 1943 and 1944, the result of the negotiations up to this point is not clear. In the second place, it appears to the Department that officially expressed satisfaction on our part in the press would not only mislead the Turks, but run the risk of exposing them to increased German pressure in the matter. The Department is giving serious thought to this matter and will advise you as soon as possible.
The Department assumes that the British are taking extreme care technically in exercising their rights in ample time and appropriate form under the terms of their contract. Study of the contract here suggests the advisability of considering an offer to pay the Turks in advance at the increased price for the ore to be acquired with final adjustments to be made when the quantity is definitely certified, the [Page 787] ore weighed, sampled, tested, declared, received and definitively invoiced, since the existing contract apparently means that title does not pass until the British definitively receive the ore. The Department would appreciate being informed of action as taken by the British in this connection.
The Department assumes that if an appropriate opportunity occurs, you will revert to the possibility of approaching the Turkish authorities along the lines of the suggestion contained in the Department’s 557 of October 29.
Has the increased price been officially notified to the Turks?
For your confidential information, representatives of the British Embassy here have been informed of the concern created by certain aspects of the British Embassy in Ankara’s attitude with respect to chrome as reported in the Embassy’s 1211, and it is presumed that the British Ambassador on his visit to London will be fully acquainted with the high importance the British Government attaches to chrome.