867.51/11–1046: Telegram

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


1180. Mytel 1174, November 8. In view Prime Minister’s request for additional credits Turkish Navy’s request for credits to recondition battleship Yavuz (mytel 1157, November 148) and indications we shall probably be asked consider credits for modernizing Turkey’s military defenses, I wish to revise recommendations in my 1157 that we accede to request re Yavuz and in my 1147, October 28, re additional credits. I believe that, before reaching decision on these matters, consideration should be given to such factors as (a) value and utility of reconditioned battleship in relation to other elements Turkey’s defenses for which credits may be needed (this may require [Page 918] study and advice by General Staff), (b) Turkey’s essential economic development projects (this may require expert economic study and advice) and (c) independent assessment of extent to which Turkey’s assets and revenues could contribute to financing above needs (Lawson49 has already begun study of this point and is exchanging views informally with British colleague).

What strikes me about these various requests for financial aid is that they lack coordination and planning. Consideration of Turkey’s essential needs in fields economic development and national defense in light of whatever credits we and British may be able to furnish with resultant establishment priorities would seem important if Turkey is to derive maximum benefit from outside assistance.

I should appreciate Department’s views.50

  1. See footnote 47, above.
  2. Edward B. Lawson, Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs in Turkey.
  3. In telegram 750, November 13, 7 p.m., to Ankara, the Department expressed full agreement with the Ambassador’s views, reported that the Navy Department has suspended action on the Yavuz case, said Turkey’s economic development and problems of national defense were under active consideration in Washington, and requested an appraisal of Turkey’s heavy burden of military expenditures (867.51/11–1046).