740.00112 European War 1939/10770: Telegram

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

845. In view of instructions received by my British colleague and Department’s 397, May 5 to me, he and I conferred yesterday with a [Page 839] view to deciding what immediate action should be taken by us in light of views of our Governments and what recommendations we should make to our Governments regarding further action. We were of opinion it was imperative both of us should see the Foreign Minister separately as usual as soon as possible in order to make clear to him that while we were appreciative of action taken in respect to chrome our Governments desired discontinuance of shipment to Axis of all other strategic materials specified in our notes33 and in order to dissipate any impression under which he might be laboring as a result of our failure during past 2 weeks to approach him on subject that we were satisfied with the generalities contained in his reply34 to our notes and with his oral assurances to us that he contemplated reducing the export of strategic materials other than chrome to the Axis by approximately 50%. Furthermore we were disturbed by the conclusion of the new trade agreement between Turkey and Hungary.35

It was agreed that in the course of our visits each of us should make the following points to Numan:

That while appreciative of the action taken with respect to chrome our notes covered other strategic materials of importance to the Axis.
That while the Turkish note expresses the best of intentions as to the action to be taken concerning other strategic materials, negotiations with Hungary have been concluded and negotiations with Germany and Rumania are reported to be under way and we did not know of any step thus far taken by the Turkish Government to discontinue exports to the Axis of strategic materials other than chrome.
That our respective Governments regarded any new agreement with Germany, Hungary or Rumania involving exportation of strategic materials listed in our notes as incompatible with the Turk Government’s note of April 17.
That we felt that Turkey can only continue to maintain her ambiguous position as regards trade with the Axis in these strategic materials at the expense of her commercial relations with the United States and Great Britain; that as soon as the Turk Government has definitely decided to discontinue the supply to the Axis of all of the commodities listed in our notes of April 14 and thereby evidenced its intention to cooperate wholeheartedly in the economic field with the Allies, the American and British Governments will be prepared to examine closely the question of Turk essential needs and that in this connection our respective Governments were not unmindful of these essential needs and were aware of the necessity of meeting them to the best of our ability should Turkey discontinue the shipment of all strategic materials to the Axis.

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I am replying to the Department’s request for my views and comments on various aspects of our economic negotiations with the Turk Government by separate telegram within the next day or two.

  1. U. S. and British notes dated April 14; see telegrams 678, April 15, 6 p.m., and 689. April 15, 12 p.m., from Ankara, pp. 825 and 827, respectively.
  2. Turkish note dated April 17; see telegram 702, April 18, 11 a.m., from Ankara, p. 829.
  3. The new commercial agreement between Turkey and Hungary was concluded on May 3.