Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Satterthwaite)

Participants: The Turkish Ambassador1
NEA—Mr. Satterthwaite
Douglas Bryan2GTI

The Turkish Ambassador, during his call this morning, remarked that the question of Turkish-Iranian relations had been raised recently in Washington by American officials and in Ankara by the new Iranian Ambassador, Dr. Ghani,3 in the following instances:

“An American colonel”, recently returned to Washington from Turkey, had called on the Ambassador and inquired, during the course of the conversation, why it was that Turkey had not undertaken to improve its relations with its neighbor, Iran.
Mr. Ala,4 the Iranian Ambassador, had informed the Turkish Ambassador of a conversation with Ambassador Wiley5 in which Mr. Wiley had expressed the hope that there would be some improvement in Turkish-Iranian relations.
The new Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, Dr. Ghani, had proposed to the Turkish Foreign Office that a pact of mutual assistance be negotiated between Turkey and Iran.

Mr. Erkin stated that he wished to assure the Department that Turkish-Iranian relations were cordial and that there was no reason [Page 1643]for anyone to be concerned that these relations were wearing thin or would not continue cordial. He continued that his Government had been noncommittal to Dr. Ghani’s approach in regard to the mutual assistance pact and preferred, before replying to the Iranians, to first ascertain the views of the U.S. Government on the formation of such a pact.

I commented that the Department was well aware of the correct and friendly relations presently extant between Iran and Turkey and that, strictly in confidence, the Department’s principal concern was that Iranian jealousy of Turkey, engendered because of the greater U.S. military assistance being furnished Turkey, might, in the future, be manifested in less cordial relations between the two countries. I remarked that I believed Ambassador Wiley had this in mind when he spoke to Ambassador Ala.

With reference to the proposed mutual assistance pact raised by the Iranians in Ankara, and speaking for myself, I informed Mr. Erkin that such a pact seemed unrealistic when considered in the light of the present day situation, especially since the really effective security pacts now in existence and in the process of negotiation were based on a more extensive regional concept. I undertook, however, to ascertain the official views of my Government and promised to communicate them to the Turkish Ambassador at the appropriate time.

J[oseph] C. S[atterthwaite]
  1. Feridun C. Erkin.
  2. Officer in the Division of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs.
  3. Dr. Ghassem Ghani, the Iranian Ambassador in Turkey.
  4. Hussein Ala, the Iranian Ambassador in the United States.
  5. John C. Wiley, the U.S. Ambassador to Iran.