811.20 Defense(M)Turkey/1005: Telegram

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

730. Repercussions from Turkish Government’s publicly announced decision to discontinue all further shipments of chrome to Germany have been swift. First noticeable effect is consternation which this action has evoked in German circles. Steadily increasing strain on Anglo-Turkish relations during past 2 months which was well known to German Embassy had engendered conviction that there was no longer any possibility of Turkey’s entry into war on side of Allies. [Page 832] Abrupt action of Turkish Government in publicly announcing repudiation of its obligation to deliver over 100,000 tons of chrome to Germany, for which Germans had made payment in advance over past year by delivery to Turkey of war material including tanks, airplanes, et cetera, has made Germans uneasy. I am reliably informed that Von Papen has inquired of Numan as to whether he should “pack his bags”. In short, action of Turkish Government has revived German fears that Turkey has decided to engage in more active participation on Allied side.

The critical attitude of the Turk press during the past 10 days towards the American and British representations to the neutrals27 indicates that the press was not prepared for the action taken by its Government. In consequence it may now be expected that the Turk press will shift its line and adopt a more friendly attitude towards the Allied position on this subject. The effect in Parliamentary circles and among the public in general should also be favorable.

Having announced its intention to discontinue shipments of chrome to Germany and having already offered United States from 4000 to 5000 tons of copper provided 3000 tons are paid in Swiss francs it should not now be too difficult to arrive at a satisfactory understanding with the Turk Government with respect to shipments to the Axis of the other strategic materials listed in our note provided we and the British are prepared to guarantee to the Turks the delivery of commodities vital to the continuance of Turk economy and which they have heretofore been receiving from the Axis.

The decision of the Turk Government in the matter of chrome is generally regarded here as implying that Turkey is now prepared to more actively associate itself with the United States and Britain in bringing the war to a speedy conclusion and as therefore having political implications transcending the economic action taken in this particular matter.

  1. For correspondence regarding representations to neutral governments against the granting of asylum to persons guilty of war crimes, see vol. i .