Ankara Embassy files, lot 57 F 72, “320—Greek-Turk-Yugo Pact, Jan. 1953”

No. 318
The Counselor of Embassy in Turkey (Rountree) to the Ambassador in Turkey (McGhee), at Istanbul

top secret

Dear Mr. Ambassador: Sadi Eldem has confirmed that the Foreign Minister plans to go to Istanbul by night train tonight (Friday), leaving there for Belgrade Sunday night. He said that Sunday would be a convenient time for you to see the Foreign Minister.

The British Ambassador has already seen the Foreign Minister, and the French Counselor saw Nuri Birgi, to give them such information as their respective governments are in a position to supply at this time. According to Scott-Fox, the British Ambassador said that the time is not ripe to encourage Yugoslavia to join NATO, and that in any event the British doubt that Yugoslavia would be willing to join; even if she were there would be some members of NATO, particularly Italy, who might argue that she is not eligible. The Ambassador said that while the British do not know exactly what the Foreign Minister has in mind about a regional organization linked to NATO, the British feel that it is an interesting idea which should be studied. He expressed the view that it is advisable [Page 608] to push ahead with the Turkish-Yugoslav talks on a purely military basis. I gathered that he also added some comment to the effect that the difference in the situations of Greece and Turkey would probably render it impossible to have integration between the Turks and Yugoslavs to the same extent as between the Greeks and Yugoslavs. Here, I understand, he had in mind that the military involvement of Greece in any satellite action against Yugoslavia would be far more automatic than in the case of Turkey.

Scott-Fox said that the Foreign Minister’s principal comments to the Ambassador were to reiterate that he felt that military talks can’t go very far without political commitments, although he understood that such commitments do not appear possible at the present time. He said that while in Belgrade he will, without committing himself, make soundings regarding the Yugoslav attitude toward adherence to NATO. He commented that the EDC concept would be second-best to NATO, but if NATO is impossible he considered it a very useful instrument by which to bring Yugoslavia into coordinated military planning. He said that he thought that Italy would insist upon being included in any such separate alliance.

I gather from Wapler that the instructions which the French Embassy received and upon which he acted were very similar though not identical to those of the British.

As to the line which you might take with the Foreign Minister, I am afraid that at best there can be very little of substance. Essentially the position is that we are not able at this time to give any definitive views either upon the question of Yugoslavia’s adherence to NATO or the creation of a complimentary tripartite or quadripartite defense arrangement linked with NATO; we believe that for the time being there should be no commitment of forces or political commitments which might be inconsistent with Greece’s and Turkey’s present responsibilities to NATO; but that, nevertheless, we look with considerable favor upon continuation of talks between the Turks and Yugoslavs on the basis of contingent military planning. I have gone over the file of telegrams received and despatched and have drafted the attached suggestion which encompasses points which I consider most appropriate for communication to the Foreign Minister. It frankly is pretty lifeless, but I trust that you will embellish it and breathe a little life into it in your oral presentation.

I am also enclosing copies of the pertinent telegrams,1 some of which arrived after your departure. Since several were delayed in [Page 609] transmission, I suggest that you review in particular all dated from January 4th. (Please bring or send them all back as they are from our main file on the subject.)

Incidentally, while the Department’s telegram 858 of January 8th2 purports to give us guidance as to what to tell the Foreign Minister, it refers to telegram 2143 of January 7th to Athens3 for such guidance, the latter telegram referring in turn to telegram 1848 of December 5th to Athens.4 The final reference includes a hodge-podge of information from which it is extremely difficult to extract guidance for discussions with the Foreign Minister. In my attached suggestion I have, however, attempted to extract the most pertinent features and have added a couple of obvious points.

I hope that this will be helpful to you in your talk with the Foreign Minister. I might add that he undoubtedly has been prepared in the French and British approaches to expect very little specific advice at this time from his colleagues.

Best regards,




Suggested Line To Take With Foreign Minister Koprulu Upon Yugoslavia

Re-emphasize the interest of the United States in the Turk-Yugoslav discussions, and our appreciation of the Foreign Minister’s frankness and willingness to keep us informed upon this matter.
Inform the Foreign Minister that Ambassador Allen will be most happy to discuss these problems freely with him during the Foreign Minister’s visit to Yugoslavia.
As the Foreign Minister knows, the United States favors the development of Yugoslav-Greek-Turkish cooperation to the maximum extent consistent with the responsibilities of Greece and Turkey to NATO. It was, however, consideration of the responsibilities of the US, UK and France to NATO which counted in large measure for the limitations upon General Handy’s terms of reference, which in turn seem to have disappointed the Yugoslavs but which in the last analysis might act as a spur to progress between Yugoslavia and Greece and Yugoslavia and Turkey.
As to the question of encouraging Yugoslavia to join NATO, we regret that we are unable at this time to give the Foreign Minister definitive views of the United States. This is a matter which must be considered at the highest governmental level in light of an evaluation of all pertinent factors, including, of course, the reaction of other NATO members. Similarly, we are not yet in a position to advise the Foreign Minister upon the question of a separate tripartite security organization linked with NATO.
Until it becomes possible to foresee the manner and means by which military planning with Yugoslavia will be integrated into the NATO military framework it will be impossible fully to resolve overlapping aspects of US/UK/French-Yugoslav, Yugoslav-Greek, and Yugoslav-Turkish cooperation and planning, nor can the total impact of this planning upon political relations between Yugoslavia and the West be calculated. The Department does not, however, anticipate that this temporary disability should prove an insurmountable impediment to progress. Meanwhile, the United States hopes that rapid and concrete progress can be made in military planning in Greek-Yugoslav and Turkish-Yugoslav military talks, although there might be positive value in including the explicit reservation that understandings reached on a bilateral level would be subject to subsequent coordination with arrangements made between Yugoslavia on the one hand and the US, UK and France on the other. It also should be clearly understood that all planning is on a purely contingent basis and hence subject to affirmative governmental decision at the time action is required.
In summary, the United States favors maximum possible progress in contingent military planning between Turkey and Yugoslavia and Greece and Yugoslavia, although we consider that there should be no commitment of forces at this time. Such commitment should of course be subject to governmental decisions in light of all circumstances and in consultation with NATO allies as appropriate.
  1. Not found attached to the source text.
  2. See footnote 7, Document 316.
  3. Supra .
  4. Printed as telegram 3207 to Paris, Document 313.