811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/420a: Telegram

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

240. 1. The Department has been informed by the British Embassy here that you and your British colleague are in general agreement on the advisability of jointly approaching the Turkish Government in the immediate future and requesting that Turkey should place an export embargo vis-à-vis the Axis on certain strategic materials, in return for which the British and ourselves would agree to purchase the entire exportable surpluses of such materials. While sharing what is reported to be your and your British colleague’s opinion that such a request is unlikely of fulfillment, the Department and Board of Economic Warfare agree not only that it is desirable to take such action as a logical consequence of the Adana conference,17 but also that it is tactically advisable in view of Clodius’ impending arrival in Turkey. You are therefore authorized to join with your British colleague in an approach along these lines to the Turkish authorities.

2. It is presumed here that the details of your approach and the extent to which you go into detail in defining the commodities to which the embargo would be applied had best be discussed and decided by you and your British colleague on the spot. Both the Department and the Board of Economic Warfare believe, however, that any list communicated to the Turkish authorities should err on the side of comprehensiveness. The Department has been informed that the list originally suggested by London as the objective should include [Page 1121] only copper, skins, mohair, opium, valonia and valex, but that the British Embassy in Ankara recommended the addition of silk, cotton and woolen rags, gallnuts, casings and gum. To this we believe cotton and all oilbearing seeds and nuts and vegetable oils, including olive oil, should be added.

3. We assume that chrome has been omitted from consideration because it is the object of separate negotiation.18

4. In the event that the approach described above fails of success, the Department and the Board of Economic Warfare believe that every effort then should be made to secure an undertaking from the Turks that they would not enter into any agreement as successor to the Clodius Agreement which would stipulate that specific quantities of strategic materials are to be reserved in future for Germany.

5. If in any respect you are doubtful as to the wisdom of this course of action, or if your British colleague fails to receive parallel instructions, it is requested that you telegraph the Department urgently.

Repeated to London.

  1. For correspondence relating to the conference at Adana, Turkey, on January 30 and 31 between British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and President Ismet Inönü of Turkey, see pp. 1058 ff.
  2. See pp. 1150 ff.