The Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson) to the Ambassador in Turkey (Wilson)

top secret

Dear Ed: Since the enclosed letter from Dean to you51 was drafted, I understand we have heard that the Secretary, in his talks with Bevin, has been somewhat more favorable towards our doing something for the Turkish Navy. It is my understanding that some of the officers of the Navy have gone so far as to suggest that we might sell a cruiser to the Turkish Government rather than to undertake the expense of renovating an old battleship. There is also some talk to the effect that it might be a mistake for Turkey to go into debt deeply for naval or other armaments at a time when it should use its resources to strengthen the economic life of the country.

I had a talk yesterday with Captain Trammell52 and was somewhat disturbed at his pessimistic outlook with regard to Turkish economy. It would be too bad if the strain upon Turkey of maintaining and moving large armed forces should result in economic collapse. On the other hand, I imagine any Turkish Government would have difficulty in selling the idea of a reduction of Turkey’s military expenses at a time when the country is under such strong external pressure.

[Page 919]

We are hoping that we will get another $25,000,000 from the Export-Import Bank for Turkey. Upon receipt of your telegram on the subject the other day, the Secretary asked Mr. Clayton53 to take the matter up personally with the National Advisory Council. We do not know yet, however, whether, because of lack of funds, the Bank will be able to find another $25,000,000. I think, however, that the chances are good. Unfortunately, $50,000,000 will not carry Turkey very far so long as expenses in connection with defense are so enormous.

Sincerely yours,

Loy W. Henderson
  1. Of November 8, p. 916.
  2. Capt. Webb Trammell, former Naval Attaché and Naval Attaché for Air in Turkey.
  3. William L. Clayton, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.