800.24/9–2044: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey ( Steinhardt )2

900. Your cable [1935] of October 10, 1944. The Department welcomes the information that the Turks expect no serious difficulty in having the agreement approved by the Parliament and hopes that on the basis of the following understanding the agreement will be signed shortly.

1. With respect to the proposal of the Turkish Government for an exchange of letters under the terms of which the Turkish Government would have the option, in the event of a demand by the President of the United States under Article V for the return of the materials, to pay therefor in lieu of returning the materials, you are authorized to reply, orally or by an exchange of letters if you find it necessary, in the following sense:

Since this Government cannot foretell its own future needs for material that has been transferred to other governments under lend-lease, it would not want to bind itself at this time to relinquishing the right to request return for such materials as it might find desirable to have returned to the United States for the reasons cited in Article V. It may be stated to the Turks, however, that the Government of the United States would at a mutually satisfactory time after the signing [Page 911] of the agreement provide the Turkish Government an ample opportunity to discuss with the United States Government the retention of such materials as the Turkish Government desired to purchase.

2. The Turks’ question as to whether Article VII might be construed by the United States as a binding commitment or obligation by them to agree to any demands that may be made with respect to the matters referred to in Article VII may be answered, in a manner which you consider appropriate, in the following sense:

The Article pledges the signatories to work together with all other countries of like mind for the economic objectives therein described. Since it is recognized that the reduction of trade barriers, for example, is a matter for action by each country in accordance with its own constitutional procedures, provision is made for conversations to determine the best means of attaining the stated objectives of each government by their own “agreed” action. The broad discretion given to the President in Section 3 (b) of the Lend-Lease Act to determine the benefits to be received by the United States for lend-lease aid would, of course, permit him to take cognizance of the agreed action contemplated by Article VII as a benefit under Article VI. It may be appropriate to point out to the Turkish Government that there is some advantage to it in signing the agreement at least to the extent that Article VII establishes the principles on which a final settlement is to be based and to that extent indicates the area of discretion to be exercised by the President with respect to his determination of what constitutes a satisfactory settlement.

3. With respect to the Turks’ inquiry as to whether the signing of the agreement would be availed of by Washington to terminate lend-lease to Turkey automatically, you are authorized to answer, in a manner which you consider appropriate, in the following sense:

It is not the intention of this Government to use the signing of the agreement as a basis for automatically terminating lend-lease assistance to Turkey. The amount of assistance in the future depends, of course, upon the course of the war. Our position in this respect remains as stated in Department’s [811] September 20, 1944.

4. The Department’s views as expressed in Department’s [880] October 10, 1944 are not to be considered as modified in any sense by the foregoing comments.

  1. Ambassador Steinhardt advised the Department in telegram 2020, October 21, 4 p.m., that he had called on the Secretary General of the Foreign Office that morning to convey to him the substance of this telegram, and had left with him an aide-mémoire which summarized the views of the Department on the three points raised in their previous conversation. Açikalin said that he would discuss the matter further with the Foreign Minister and hoped that it might “be possible to conclude the mutual aid agreement.” (867.24/10–2144)

    In telegram 2157, November 11, 1 p.m., the Ambassador reported on a conversation with the Turkish Prime Minister, in which the Ambassador had expressed to him “dissatisfaction with the continued delay in concluding the mutual aid agreement.” Thereupon the Prime Minister telephoned to the Secretary General and “directed him to prepare in conjunction with the Embassy the final documents for signature without any further delay.” (867.24/11–1144)