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

top secret

Dear Loy: I received yesterday your top secret letter of November 758 with its attached memorandum on Turkey of October 21, 1946,59 as well as Dean Acheson’s letter of November 8 and your further letter of November 12.

I enclose herewith copy of a letter I have addressed to Dean under today’s date60 in reply to his letter of November 8. This covers some of the points which occur to me in connection with this important question of assisting Turkey as regards military equipment as well as economic development.

As concerns the Turkish economic situation, you have our views in our telegram no. 1208, November 23.61 A more detailed report on which Ed Lawson is working will go forward by air mail.61 While the burden on Turkey of maintaining relatively large armed forces is of course a heavy one, nevertheless we do not see signs of anything in the nature of economic collapse. The question, however, arises of the extent to which Turkey can safely incur further charges for foreign loan services, and this question is considered and our views given in telegram no. 1208. Briefly, we feel that Turkey could on a sound basis absorb further loans of moderate size—by which we mean about $50–$60,000,000.

As I see it we have taken our decision on policy. What are we going to do now to make the policy effective? Specifically, 1) What requests are before us for furnishing arms to Turkey (we here have knowledge only of the Turk Navy’s requests), and what if anything will we furnish Turkey through British channels? 2) How are we going to aid Turkey’s economy, now that a further Export-Import Bank loan appears to be out? If we in general do not furnish military supplies, and if we cannot increase the Bank credit, it is difficult to see how we are going to implement the policy stated in the memorandum “to give positive support to Turkey”.

I think it would be very helpful if Turkey’s needs for arms and military equipment could be studied by the U. S. and U. K. General Staffs and friendly advice given the Turks so that they would get the most in defense value for their money, whoever furnishes the arms.

Yours very sincerely,

Edwin C. Wilson
  1. Not printed, but see footnote 12, p. 894.
  2. Ante, p. 894.
  3. Supra.
  4. See footnote 54, p. 920.
  5. See footnote 54, p. 920.