Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs (Jernegan)

top secret

Lord Jellicoe1 said that the Embassy had received an instruction from London to inquire regarding our attitude toward the British request for our support of their projected request to the Turkish Government for permission to carry out certain photo reconnaissance flights in Turkey, I explained that we had received this request some time ago through military channels and had recently gotten off a reply to the Secretary of Defense.2 I anticipated that the British military authorities in London would soon receive a formal reply from Admiral Conolly. However, to enable the British Embassy to answer the Foreign Office inquiry I said that Lord Jellicoe could report that the Department of State agreed to support the British request when made to the Turkish Government and that we would send an appropriate instruction by air mail to Ambassador Wadsworth. The Ambassador would be instructed to consult his British colleague and make such representations to the Turks as might seem appropriate. The only condition which we imposed was that this action on our part should not in any way commit us to participation in the photo reconnaissance operation nor to any future joint consultation or planning with the Turkish authorities. I said I assumed our military people would be glad to discuss the results of the reconnaissance with the British military authorities but would not wish to be involved in any discussions or staff talks with the Turks.

As a matter of possible interest, Lord Jellicoe told me that the areas which it was proposed to include in the photo reconnaissance were (1) the principal Turkish ports (2) the coastline from the Straits to the Syrian frontier, and (3) the road and rail communications leading to the Syrian frontier. He said that he deduced from this that the principal purpose of the reconnaissance was to prepare for eventual denial operations, through aerial bombing and otherwise, in the event of a Soviet occupation of Turkey and, possibly, to prepare for defense against Soviet landings or to facilitate possible eventual allied landings along the Turkish coast. I agreed that these seemed reasonable deductions but added that I had not previously inquired into the [Page 1682]details of the proposed operation since it was to be a purely British affair and since I had been assured that it would be on a relatively limited scale and would not involve the widespread use of ground personnel such as would be required by the earlier proposal for a complete Anglo-American aerial mapping job on Turkey. I reminded Lord Jellicoe that we had objected to the proposed mapping enterprise.

  1. Second Secretary of the British Embassy in the United States.
  2. The communications under reference here, the memorandum of August 23 by Brigadier General Loper and the letter of October 4 from Deputy Under Secretary of State Dean Rusk to Secretary of Defense Johnson, are not printed (867.014/8–2349).