Memorandum by the Acting Legislative Counsel (Sandifer)


Subject: Foreign Relations Committee Hearing (Executive) on the Greek-Turkish Question

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an informal executive session today to consider the President’s message on Greece and Turkey. Mr. Acheson, Secretary of War Patterson, and Secretary of the Navy Forrestal attended at the request of the Committee. The following points developed in the course of the meeting.

It would be difficult to take action in “two bites”, a possibility suggested by Senator Vandenberg. Mr. Acheson pointed to the provision in the draft bill worked up in the State Department for the $100,000,000 advance by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
The reasons for the inability of the Export-Import Bank and the International Bank to advance funds were explored. It was clear that the International Bank could not deal with a situation such as that in Greece where there is total economic collapse. A small part of Turkey’s needs might be met by a Bank loan.
As to whether the funds should be provided as a loan or gift, it was indicated that only part of it could be as a loan.
Turkish needs were said to derive from the strain on her resources caused by the long-continued mobilization of 500,000 to 600,000 men.
Senator Vandenberg objected to the language in paragraph 1(c) of the draft bill concerning the detailing of officers and enlisted men as military advisers. It was agreed that this language should be put in a more restricted form.
There was extended discussion of the reasons for the inability of the United Nations to handle this question. In summarizing, Senator Vandenberg said that the United Nations did not have the military resources immediately available and that it did not have funds of its own for relief. As to the former, the delay was due largely to stalling tactics of the Russians. On the latter, funds, if provided as a result of United Nations action, would have to come largely from the United States, and the position of the United States has been that it wants to control funds supplied by it.
In connection with the discussion of the United Nations and of the military reasons for the action to be taken, there was a general feeling of need for a clear and emphatic statement to the American public of the fundamental reasons for the proposed action.
Senator Vandenberg called attention to a statement issued by the North American Newspaper Alliance to the effect that there is in London $220,000,000 in blocked funds. Mr. Acheson pointed out that the real question here was that of the convertibility into dollars of sterling.
There was a review of the extent of contributions made to date to Greece by the United States. This was said to amount in all to about $900,000,000, a considerable part of which has been contributed through UNRRA.
There seemed to be agreement that the reasons for the proposed action should be made public promptly. This would be done in hearings in the House and Senate Committees. There was special discussion of how far the military aspects of the situation should be publicly discussed.
It was stated that these funds would cover a period of fifteen months and that probably additional funds would be needed at that time.
The military implications of the proposed action were reviewed by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy.

Senators present were Vandenberg, Connally, George, Thomas, Capper, Wiley, White, and Smith.

Durward V. Sandifer