867.24/1–2846: Telegram

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


119. 1. Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs advises me Turkey has urgent need of 3,000 trucks, 1,000 automobiles and 45 [sic] tires and and has requested my intervention in obtaining quotas for these amounts for Turkey. While I appreciate that supply situation continues tight for these commodities, I feel this request has merit.

Number of nonmilitary trucks in operation does not exceed 7,000 including imports since 1940 totaling 2,763; therefore two-thirds of trucks in operation are over 6 years old and in very poor condition due to overloading and excessive use. Three thousand new trucks will provide for little more than replacement for trucks which will have to be withdrawn from service during year. Economic life of country depends on motor and rail transport systems which are heavily overburdened at present and any breakdown or reduction in service will have serious consequences.
Virtually no passenger cars have been imported since 1940. In recent months Ministry of Commerce has been refusing import permits for cars considering them as luxury items but we understand has now reversed its position. Total number of cars estimated at 1,500 consisting principally of official cars and taxis as operation of private cars is permitted only in exceptional cases. Additional new cars are needed to replace those which will no longer be serviceable for, and to provide for, expanding official needs. However, need for trucks is far greater than for automobiles.
Imports of trucks and passenger tires since 1940 are reported at 67,431 units or an average of less than 10,000 per annum for trucks alone. This represents far lower standard than maintained in Middle East where essential trucks have been supplied with slightly under 3 tires per vehicle per annum since 1940 (MESC monthly letter October 1945). There are no stocks to draw on and life of tires limited by overloading and poor roads. Unless 1946 tire quota increased substantially over quotas for previous 2 years considerable number of trucks will have to be withdrawn from service.

2. Urge that these factors be presented to supply authorities and that requirements as presented by Acting Foreign Minister be met in so far as consistent with more urgent requirements elsewhere. Please keep me advised of developments.