740.0011 European War 1939/2–444: Telegram

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

196. For the President, the Secretary and Under Secretary. The British Ambassador informed me yesterday that he had received instructions in the morning directing the immediate departure of the British Military Mission from Ankara. He was instructed not to give any reason to the Turk authorities for the departure. Accordingly the entire mission left last night for Cairo. The Ambassador further informed me that all shipments of war material to Turkey are being suspended and that he had been directed to avoid association including social relations with Turk officials other than relations regarded by him as essential pending further instructions from London. Hugessen said that no action has as yet been taken by his Government to suspend commercial shipments to Turkey because of possible retaliation by the Turks with particular reference to chrome. He added that when the inevitable inquiries are made of all of us by the Turk authorities as to the reasons for the action taken by the British Government it is desirable that no reason be ascribed so that the Turk Government will be left to draw its own conclusions from the action taken. He said he assumed the Russian Ambassador7 and I would receive instructions to conform our course to his.

The abrupt departure of the British Military Mission after several weeks of fruitless discussion as to the amount of war material to be delivered to Turkey is designed to impress upon the Turk authorities the extreme displeasure of the British Government with the attitude [Page 818] adopted by Turk authorities in the course of the negotiations. It now remains to be seen whether the action taken by the British Government will cause the Turk authorities to recede from their position that they will accept nothing less than the entire 180,000 tons of war material requested by them exclusive of 68,000 tons of gasoline.

  1. Sergey Alexandrovich Vinogradov.