Ankara Embassy Files, 1949, 120 Chiefs of Mission Conference

Recapitulation of Conclusions for Confidential Guidance of Chiefs of Mission in Oral Presentation to Governments


The principal purpose of the Conference was to exchange views and make recommendations to the United States Government concerning measures to safeguard and enhance security, promote political stability, and improve the economic position of the individual countries of the Near East and of the region as a whole. The consensus of opinion was that acts, not words, would constitute the best proof of the continuing interest of the United States in furthering these objectives.

With regard to security matters, it was felt that the American program of military assistance to Greece, Turkey and Iran is the clearest possible evidence of United States’ concern in the preservation of the territorial integrity and independence of these countries and of all the nations of the Near East. It was the consensus, however, that all the states in the Near East would be well advised to keep military expenditures to a minimum commensurate with security requirements so as not to place too heavy a burden on their national economy.

While approving in principle any regional pact formed within the framework of the United Nations and designed to enhance the peace, prosperity, stability and general well-being of the whole region, the Conference was of the opinion that it would be premature for the United States to consider associating itself with any possible regional grouping in this area. In this connection it was pointed out that American adherence to the Atlantic Pact constituted radical departure in the foreign policy of the United States and that any additional American commitments of like nature should not be undertaken without the most careful examination of all the factors involved.

It was believed, taking the long-range view, that security in the region could best be attained through the improvement of the economic and social position of the individual countries of the region and of the area as a whole. In this field the Conference devoted particular attention to the application to this region of the Point IV Program of President Truman, the studies and recommendations of the Economic Survey Mission of the Palestine Consultative [Conciliation] Committee and the development of mutually profitable trade and investment relations in the area. In this connection consideration was given to the possibility of negotiating treaties of peace, commerce, [Page 177] navigation and friendship between the United States and those countries of the region with which the United States presently has no such treaty relationships.

In the particular cases of Greece and Turkey, the operation of the European Recovery Program in these countries was examined and certain general suggestions advanced for more effective application. It was a general conclusion that in all the countries of the area as in the ERP countries, such aid and assistance as the United States might be able to furnish must be devoted to the external costs of technical assistance and economic development and in no case should be utilized for bearing internal costs.

The Conference was particularly impressed with the explanation furnished by Mr. Clapp concerning the methods, principles, purposes and objectives of the recommendations advanced by the ESM and felt that these recommendations provided hope of ameliorating the lot of the Palestinian refugees and pointed the way to more long-range economic improvement of the area.

In regard to the special problems of the area arising out of Arab-Israeli relations, the conference believed that the United States, while maintaining strict impartiality and continuing to support the PCC and the ESM as means of solving outstanding issues, favors direct negotiations as offering the best possibility of obtaining agreement between the parties concerned.

With reference to Jerusalem, the Conference saw no reason to recommend any change in the American position: internationalization in accordance with the draft resolution, before the General Assembly, incorporating the PCC statute for Jerusalem.

In regard to current movements towards the merger of Arab States, the Conference agreed that no change from the position previously announced by the United States was necessary: the United States while neither opposing nor favoring the merger of Arab States, was convinced that such union should be in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned and not as a result of force or outside intervention.

Finally, the Conference concluded that the safeguarding of security and the improvement of economic and social conditions in this area are closely connected with maintenance of political stability in all the countries concerned. It appears obvious, therefore, that the United States should continue to take an interest in every activity contributing to increased stability and peace, as well as the prosperity and well-being of the Middle East.