The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Halifax )

My Dear Lord Halifax: During the visit of Mr. Eden to Washington in March, Mr. Wallace Murray and Mr. Strang discussed various matters relating to American-British relations in the Near East. As regards Turkey, Mr. Murray said that the Department understood that the decision reached at Casablanca that Turkey was to be considered within a military sphere of primary British responsibility was limited strictly to military matters and implied no recognition by the American Government of any primary British responsibility in the political or economic spheres as regards Turkey. Mr. Murray said that he would be glad to have confirmation that the Department’s view in this matter was similar to that of the British Government.

On June 19 a member of your staff, Mr. Michael Wright, informed Mr. Ailing that Mr. Strang, after investigating the subject at London, had asked Mr. Wright to say that the British Foreign Office understood that at Casablanca the President had given the Prime Minister primary responsibility for “playing the cards” with Turkey. In the course of further discussion Mr. Wright said that he understood that the agreement arose out of discussion on the possibility of bringing Turkey into the war.19

In view of a possible misapprehension of some of the British authorities in regard to this matter, I think I should point out clearly that notwithstanding any military understanding reached, I am not aware of any commitment made by the President at Casablanca which relates in any way to the surrender by the United States of its full independence of action with regard to relations between the United States and Turkey in either the political or the economic sphere, either during the war or after. I hardly need assure you that this Government has every desire and intention of continuing the closest collaboration with the British Government in our mutual relations with Turkey, and that I have no apprehension whatever of difficulties in this regard. I feel it advisable, however, to clarify the situation by the present statement.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Concerning the attitude of the United States toward the question of the entry of Turkey into the war, see bracketed note, p. 1057.