811.20 Defense (M) Turkey/775b: Telegram

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

696. 1. The following is the “New Plan” under which London and Washington are agreed that preemption in Turkey should be conducted henceforth. Provided that purchases are confined to the lists of commodities having preemptive importance (see paragraph 10 below) the conduct of preemption is the joint responsibility of you and your British colleague.

2. In accordance with the terms of this telegram you and the British Ambassador will each be supplied with funds to be spent on preemption as agreed between yourselves. At the start your discretionary fund, plus any balances remaining in your current authorizations for commodities bought in the past and now appearing in paragraph 10, is available for your use under the New Plan.

3. On the understanding that both UKCC and USCC are authorized to buy both officially and unofficially, your British colleague and yourself will employ UKCC and USCC as you think best in determining the strategy of purchases.

4. Provided that you and your British colleague are both agreed at the start of an operation, even though initially individual purchases may appear inconsequential, that there is a reasonable chance of obtaining a sufficiently large part of Turkey’s exportable surplus of any of the commodities in paragraph 10 with the view to reducing substantially the amounts of these commodities available to the enemy, you and your British colleague are authorized to purchase upon agreement any amount of these commodities by any means you see fit.

5. The assignment of purchasing responsibility commodity by commodity to either U.K. or U.S. under the previous joint program has now lapsed. In the future there will only be joint purchases on joint account although this does not mean that each commodity must be jointly purchased or jointly allocated, it being clear that either UKCC or USCC will have to effect separately individual transactions. New Plan envisages continued agreement equally to share preemptive losses (and profits if any) between the two Governments on all jointly agreed purchases. In order that USCC and UKCC reports may be a record of the progress made under the New Plan you and your British colleague should study the present accounting systems of the two corporations with the view to recommending any changes required. Supplementary joint reports every 2 weeks should be made by you and your British colleague to London and Washington covering the following points: (a) general policy aspects of New [Page 1147] Plan, (b) future prospects, (c) New Turkish commitments to the Axis, (d) reasons for making or not making particular purchases, (e) purchases effected and future commitments, (f) other comments and recommendations.

6. The two Ambassadors will have a free hand in the assignment of buying functions to USCC and UKCC; the effective execution of the New Plan involves abandonment of the principle of pre-determining primary purchasing responsibility in Washington and London.

7. Because the Turks may demand payment later in a currency which may not suit the United Nations, open end liabilities for payment of purchases should be avoided. The British fear that if the Turks demand dollars for official allocations to U.S. this may result in excessive Turkish dollar resources and affect the utility of the considerable sums in Turkish pounds owed to the UKCC by the Turks. Wherever possible full use should be made of the special account, but London and Washington are prepared to consider your agreed recommendations when you and your British colleague feel that effective preemption cannot be accomplished via the special account.

8. Subject to the provision of paragraph 4 above and the limits of the funds currently at your disposal no restrictions are placed on you and your British colleague in purchasing in agreement all commodities listed in paragraph 10 whose categories are not intended to indicate a chronological purchasing sequence but to indicate to you and your British colleague the relative strategic value of the commodities.

9. An effort is being made to work out with London a reduction in the number of items appearing on U.S. and U.K. supplemental lists. Possibly supplemental purchases will be entirely eliminated. Pending clarification regarding supplemental items existing contracts under current purchase authorizations should be honored but unless you are convinced that damage will be done to the enemy you should not enter into new engagements. Purchases made already in excess of existing authorizations will be regularized as soon as exchange of views between London and Washington referred to above is concluded. Pending agreement between London and Washington there may be delays in renewing purchase allocations for such commodities as casings, antimony, asbestos, etc.

10. From time to time changes and additions may be made to the following basic lists on which you and your British colleague will now operate. Note that each group is arranged alphabetically.

  • List A: copper, mohair, skins, valex, wool rags.
  • List B: cotton waste, rags and clippings; gallnuts; lamb casings for catgut; linseed; silk cocoons; and waste; valonia.
  • List C: flax, hemp, vegetable oils, and seeds.
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11. It has been agreed, subject to your approval, that the New Plan will be operative as soon as this telegram is received and the British Ambassador receives from London a similar telegram. Agreed commencement date of the New Plan should be telegraphed. The instructions from London and Washington are intended to be identical in meaning and it will be appreciated if you will bring to our attention any discrepancies in this message from that received by the British Ambassador.