811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/693b: Telegram

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

615. 1. Recent reports that Turkish commodities are moving to Axis Europe in increasing quantities are disturbing the Department and BEW increasingly.

2. Known exports to Axis destinations during January and February, 1943 (the latest period for which a global figure is known) totaled 19,000 tons according to MEW reports. The enemy will receive a greater quantity of goods from Turkey in 1943 than 1942 should this rate be sustained.

3. To June 5 of this year 3,610 tons of copper have been shipped to Axis destinations according to Embassy’s 1170, July 2.37 For all of 1941 copper exports total 776 tons and for all of 1942, 3,117 tons.

4. Compared with 4,329 tons in all of 1942, your telegram shows exports of 3,917 tons of cotton to June 5.

5. Other commodities of strategic importance to Axis Europe show similar tendency.

6. If sustained, the rate of movement of chrome in April and May will yield Germany the entire quantity for which it qualifies.

[Page 1142]

7. It seems unlikely that the considerable improvement in Turkish rail facilities in recent months is alone responsible for Turkish exports moving to the enemy at an increased rate.

8. Finding these developments difficult to reconcile with assurance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the effect that the Turkish Government would place every possible obstacle in the way of transporting goods to the enemy, the Department and BEW would appreciate your views as to the reasons why Turkey is increasing its exports to the Axis.

  1. Not printed.