611.82/1–2152: Telegram

No. 459
The Ambassador in Turkey (McGhee) to the Department of State2

top secret

642. 1. Although I have, in accordance with precedent, had discussions with FonMin, with Pres on occasion of presenting credentials,3 and with Pres GNA and PriMin,4 they were of general and perfunctory nature and revealed little to report except that they indicated very cordial reception, strong appreciation for US assistance, confidence in US, and desire to work closely with US in future.

Following completion these formalities I was received in my first official visit with FonMin on Jan 19. He was accompanied by Nuri Birgi, Asst SecGen FonOff. Session lasted 2½ hours.

2. At FonMin’s request that I initiate discussions I opened by commenting on favorable auspices under which I undertook my present mission, that relations between our countries were so good and our agreement on major policy objectives so complete that I considered our task lay basically in perfecting our collaboration to assure that both countries were able to make their maximum contribution toward achievement of common objectives at this critical time. I emphasized that our common objectives flowed from our strong mutuality of interests. To achieve this end, I wished to make certain specific suggestions which, if FonMin agreed, I hoped we could seek to carry out together.

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Development as natural procedure of close and early consultation between our govts and coordination of our activities in connection with major world, UN and, in particular, ME problems. I expressed satisfaction at progress already made in this respect, as in case Iran, MEC and Korea. I stressed hope that we could develop even closer cooperation in this regard, using our relations with UK as example. I laid emphasis on desirability of regular exchange of information and appraisals on matters affecting third countries or areas, and suggested we give thought to some formal way in which this cld be done on regular basis.
Second suggestion was that we seek to give greater depth to US–Turk relations which have, up to this time, been most successful in security field. I pointed out that by strengthening existing ties and developing new common interests thru exchange of persons, cultural activities etc., we stood better chance of weathering any unexpected shock which our relations might be called upon to sustain.
I further proposed that we seek to perfect working relations between US missions in Turkey and Turk Govt, institutions and people. Presence large numbers Americans working on various projs in security econ and cultural fields creates a problem in working relationships quite different from that normally existing between govts. Since it is in our common interest that what technical and financial assistance we are able to offer and Turks desire to accept be utilized to maximum effectiveness, we should attempt to perfect our working relationships to this end.

3. FonMin expressed himself as being in accord with my suggestions, and we agreed that we would, in the near future, seek to elaborate how we could carry them out.

4. I then stated that I wished to present certain specific matters, mainly for purpose of emphasis and perspective, which could be gone into in detail at subsequent mtgs.

5. (NATO) I reviewed history of our relationship to question Turk admission NATO. I expressed our satisfaction NATO members at Ottawa5 and belief that quick action US Senate comite on ratification protocol6 presaged favorable vote in full Senate. I stated that our policy had been clear that Turkey shld be admitted into NATO without any qualifications and without any relationship to MEC. I added I was glad Brit had now made clear their position on this point and had further agreed to Turks coming under Eisenhower’s command. This shld remove any difficulties facing Adm Ulusan7[Page 867](now in Wash) and standing group in working out precise means whereby Turk entry cld be achieved. I stressed that Turkey’s relations with NATO wld inevitably involve give and take and that, assuming there were no fundamental points of principle violated, I felt sure Turks wld cooperate in facilitating agreement on various questions arising out of their entry. FonMin stated that Turks insisted that only two fundamental principles be met: (1) that technical mil requirements were complied with and (2) that decisions were made for gen good and not for benefit or for enhancement of prestige of any particular country. He expressed some resentment that Brit had allowed ambiguities to arise with respect to their position on Turk admission, which he attributed to traditional London FonOff thinking. Question of possible Brit commander over Turk troops was not mentioned. I pointed out that Turkey’s admission to NATO wld, of course, involve coordination of certain aspects Turk mil effort with other NATO countries. FonMin expressed some concern that this wld result in decreased aid from US and I assured him that, altho we must take into consideration our responsibilities to NATO and recommendations of NATO boards and Eisenhower, we wld, as Gen Bradley had assured them, continue to supply Turks directly and wld seek to maintain and if possible increase volume mil aid and training.

6. (MEC) I went into some detail regarding background MEC concept and explained that we had delayed its elaboration until Turk admission to NATO was assured. I pointed out that despite setback of Egypt refusal, which in end, of course, we anticipated, we considered it highly important that four powers proceed to set up command and to organize MEC defense as any other course wld be fatal display of weakness to states of area. I personally felt that mere existence of plan and four power agreement which it represented already had strengthening influence in ME. Altho we had made and wld make no specific plans except in consultation with other founding members, we hoped hdqtrs cld be set up some time in spring. We were gratified at Turks expression of willingness to participate in command. Altho we recognize that greatest contribution Turk can make to def of ME is to build strong forces in Turk, we hope Turk will, at some stage, be willing make direct contribution MEC del. FonMin replied that Turkey, because of its geographical position, naturally had a keen interest in defense of ME and in organization of command. It must be recognized that Turkey, itself, has principal mil forces in ME. He pointed out with some feeling various errors, mostly of psychological nature, which he felt had been made in launching MEC. In particular, four power [Page 868] support of res against Egypt regarding Suez in SC8 had caused Egyptian FonMin abandon his trip to Turkey, which would have afforded excellent opportunity make MEC proposals. He felt that other Arab states should have been asked join at same time as Egypt and that proposals should have been engineered so that ME states would have asked outside powers to set up command. I explained difficulties arising out of the points and in meeting Arab psychological requirements. FonMin stated that, in particular, Churchill’s statement of Dec 31 and recent statements by Gens Slim9 and Robertson10 had served to confuse ME states with respect to four power intentions. MEC had a chance of acceptance only if it was in fact what it purported to be, and not subterfuge for covering up defense of Brit interests. He further stated there were many questions to be answered before Turkey could decide what contribution she would make to MEC, including development of juridical base, definition of obligations of member and area concerned. Before final action could be taken it would be necessary obtain GNA approval. I pointed out that altho it would not be possible to develop juridical base corresponding to that of NATO, I agreed that four powers should jointly seek to further define MEC, which up to this point had been an expression of intent, and that Turkey would be consulted fully in this process. In response to his query, I said Egypt would probably not be available as headquarters. Neither Cyprus nor Brit command was mentioned.

7. (Mutual Security Program) I explained new emphasis of MSP on mil assistance and in light of recent criticisms in Turk of sufficiency of Amer aid, I gave brief background of our econ and mil assistance to Turk. Turk Govt itself had expressed full understanding of this problem and appreciation for our aid; however, some people in Turk still seemed to think aid was being given in return for favors or sacrifice or on some prorated basis among countries. I pointed out that Turk had recd in econ and mil aid some $1 billion and that econ aid had been averaging some $100 mil a year despite fact that Turk did not conform to orig ECA concept. Turk, of all countries in world, had been able obtain large scale econ development program through ECA. Altho he could be assured that mil assistance to Turk would continue at same rate or increase, we would be faced with difficulty in getting econ assistance not directly related to mil effort or of long-term nature. FonMin appeared to appreciate considerations presented and raised no issue with respect to [Page 869] them. He felt that emphasis on security objectives should be to Turks advantage and Turk could concentrate on short term projects. I emphasized, to dispel recent press speculations, that there would be no drastic changes in personnel or org of our aid effort here and that, altho Amb assured leadership of entire MSP effort, econ and mil programs would be administered by Dorr and Arnold, respectively, in whom I and our govt had full confidence.

8. In reviewing working relationships which our missions enjoyed, I expressed full satisfaction on mil side but stated that cooperation achieved on econ side left much to be desired. I did not raise any question of personalities or goodwill, but stated I hoped that FonMin and myself could discuss this problem as whole at early date. FonMin expressed full satisfaction with relations in mil field and paid complimentary tribute to Arnold. He said he had no complaint on cooperation in econ field and spoke highly of Dorr.

9. (VOA) I reminded FonMin of proposal that had been made to him by Amb Wadsworth for erection of VOA relay station in Turk. I was not asking for final decision, but wished to emphasize importance we attached to this station which would fill important gap in our world program to project truth into Russia. I stated that, in light of Sov propaganda to Turk and our operations in Salonika and Ceylon, there should be no embarrassment to Turk, particularly after she is admitted to NATO. I pointed out that radio provided one of few positive means of achieving our objectives inside Russia. FonMin promised early reply but made no comment.

10. (USIE) I stressed importance which I attached to our USIE program and hoped our efforts could be expanded to other cities in Turkey. I pointed out this should be considered important means achieving our agreed objective of creating greater depth to our relations. I hoped we could have early reply to our proposals this regard as well as to related but separate question of status USIE personnel in Turkey.

11. (Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation) I reminded FonMin that we had no reply to our suggestion of February 1951 that we consider negotiation modern treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation. I emphasized importance we attached to negotiation on such treaty, not only to fill gaps in our treaty structure covering trade, investment and estab, but also from psychological standpoint as representing another tie between our countries. I pointed out importance Amer investors and Chamber of Commerce attached to such treaty. FonMin appeared surprised at time which had elapsed since matter presented, said it was under consideration and that he himself attached great importance to it and that we would be given an answer shortly.

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Mtg was terminated on cordial note with request by FonMin that I come see him early next week for resumption our discussions.11 Any Dept comment on conversation would be appreciated,12 however, particular matters thought to require Dept decision or action will be covered in separate Embtel.13

  1. Transmitted in five sections.
  2. McGhee presented his credentials on Jan. 15.
  3. No record of these discussions has been found in Department of State files.
  4. For documentation on the Seventh Session of the North Atlantic Council held in Ottawa, Sept. 15–20, 1951, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, pp. 616 ff.
  5. Reference is to the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on accession of Greece and Turkey, done at London, Oct. 17, 1951, entered into force for the United States, Feb. 15, 1952. (3 UST (pt. 1) 3; also, 126 UNTS 350)
  6. Rear Adm. Aziz Ulusan, Turkish member of the NATO Military Representatives Committee.
  7. Reference is to the resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council, Sept. 1, 1951; for text, see AFP, vol. II, p. 2251.
  8. Field Marshal William J. Slim, Chief of the British Imperial General Staff.
  9. Gen. Brian H. Robertson, Chief of British Middle East Land Forces.
  10. See telegram 673, infra.
  11. Telegram 623 to Ankara, Jan. 26, expressed interest in this report and, with respect to paragraph 5, stated that any suggestions by the Embassy on countering criticism in the Turkish press and the Grand National Assembly on the sufficiency of American aid would be welcome (611.82/1–2152).
  12. Not further identified.