811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/228: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

121. For the Department and Board of Economic Warfare. Reference Embassy’s 7045 of December 12 and Department’s 6619 of December 28.3

[Page 1112]

Meeting was held January 5 at Ministry of Economic Warfare on priorities for exports from Turkey attended by Ministry of Economic Warfare, Embassy, United Kingdom Commercial Company,4 Ministry of War Transport, and Ministry of Supply.

Embassy was shown telegram sent last month by British Embassy, Ankara, stating that the American priorities for Turkish exports were as follows: Copper 5,000 tons, nutgalls 50 tons, opium 100 tons, chrome 180,000 tons, hemp 85 tons, valonia and extracts 2,000 tons, balsams 40 tons, emery 2,500 tons. Telegram also stated American Ambassador in Ankara was telegraphing to the Department in the same sense.

It was the opinion of the meeting that the commodities purchased in Turkey and desired by the United States and United Kingdom for supply uses should be given transport priority. Recent developments would appear to make the lifting of purely preemptive purchases in Turkey less urgent but the Committee felt that preemptive purchases should be moved out of the Istanbul area into Asiatic Turkey if storage facilities permit, and that after the necessary quantities of supply commodities have been lifted from Turkey commodities purchased solely for preemptive reasons should then be moved.

The Ministry of Supply representatives indicated the following priorities for British supply commodities: Emery 7,000 tons a year at a rate of 600 tons a month; silk and silk waste 150 tons a year; nutgalls 50 tons a year; flax 600 tons a year at a rate of 50 tons a month; opium 25 tons for the year; hemp 350 tons per year at a rate of 30 tons a month; valex 600 tons for the year at a rate of 50 tons a month. In addition shipping priorities will be considered for purchases of tobacco, sponges and dried fruit. The quantities of these commodities have not yet been determined.

The meeting felt that it would be helpful for the Ministry of War Transport to receive from our Government a statement of the priorities for supply commodities we intend to lift from Turkey, the total amounts thereof for this year, and a program of the minimum monthly amounts desired. In preparing such a statement our Government may wish to indicate what amounts of supply commodities will be carried from Turkey to the United States in American ships and what amounts it is desired to have the Ministry of War Transport move from Turkey to Egypt. It would be desirable to have the statement include a schedule of shipping priorities for preemptive commodities in case it should become possible to move them.

The United Kingdom Commercial Company is requesting Ankara to prepare a statement showing the rate at which the Turkish commodities [Page 1113] being purchased for supply and preemptive reasons may be expected to come forward during this year. The Embassy suggests that the Department make arrangements to have this statement transmitted direct by our Embassy in Ankara.

When our Government’s statement is received, it is intended to call another meeting to prepare a comprehensive shipping program dovetailing the American and British statements. Rail transport of commodities to Turkish ports, including movement of mohair and skins to Russians, will also be considered.

The Embassy would appreciate being advised when it may expect to receive the statement of our supply priorities and transport program.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. The United Kingdom Commercial Corporation was an overseas purchasing agency of the Ministry of Economic Warfare.