S/S–NSC Files, Lot 63 D 351, NSC 36 Series
Report by the Secretary of State to the National Security Council 1
Construction of Airfields and Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey
1. Should the U.S. seek arrangements with the Turkish Government for the construction of airfields or for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey?[Page 1655]
2. The question of seeking an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the construction of airfields in Turkey adequate for the operations envisaged in U.S. strategic plans and for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey must be considered in the light of the fact that it has not been possible to include Turkey in the North Atlantic Treaty. Moreover, we have not been willing at this time, as desired by Turkey, to encourage or support a Mediterranean pact. In the face of our unwillingness, so far, to give a guarantee or other formal assurance that the U.S. will safeguard Turkey’s territorial integrity, and having regard to Turkish disappointment in this respect, it would be unwise for the U.S. Government to urge upon Turkey any action which would expose it to increased pressure from the Soviet Union.
3. The construction of these airfields and the stockpiling of aviation gasoline would be regarded by the Soviet government as a threat to the security of the U.S.S.R., and would stimulate further Soviet pressure on Turkey and perhaps Iran. Furthermore, it is clear that the Soviet Union is watching carefully for any developments which could be exploited to support the Soviet thesis that the Forth Atlantic Treaty is aggressive in intent and operation. The construction at this time of forward air bases in Turkish territory might be an important factor in leading the Soviet Government to the erroneous conclusion that the Treaty is not solely defensive in character. It would also cause doubts among a considerable number of persons in other countries as to whether the Treaty has a truly defensive character.
4. It would be unwise at this time to seek an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the construction of the airfields envisaged in NSC–36, or for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline referred to in the communication of April 2, 1949 from the Secretary of Defense to the Executive Secretary of the NSC.*
5. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the construction of these airfields and the stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey would be in accordance with U.S. strategic requirements. Therefore, the Department of State should keep the matter under continuous review, with a view to reconsideration by the National Security Council when more favorable circumstances justify.
- The conclusions set forth in this report were concurred in by the National Security Council at its meeting on April 21. The President approved the report the same day. For a review of the circumstances attending the preparation of this report, see the editorial note, p. 1644.↩
- Memorandum for the National Security Council from the Executive Secretary, April 4, 1949, subject: “Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey”. [Footnote in the source text. Regarding the memorandum under reference here, see the editorial note, p. 1644.]↩