S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 36 Series

No. 462
Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1

top secret

Subject:

  • NSC 36/1 “Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey.”

The conclusions of NSC 36/1, approved by the President on April 21, 1949,2 required the Department of State to keep under continuous review the question of seeking an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the construction of the airfields envisaged in NSC 36 and the stockpiling of aviation gasoline as proposed in the Secretary of Defense’s memorandum of April 2, 1949 to the Executive Secretary of the NSC.3 It had been concluded at that time that circumstances were not favorable for seeking such arrangements with the Turkish Government.

With respect to airfield construction, arrangements have since been reached with the Turkish Government within other terms of reference, and construction work undertaken, on which a report to the Council is now in preparation.

With respect to the stockpiling of aviation gasoline, the Department of State believes that circumstances now are favorable for Council reconsideration of the proposal of the Secretary of Defense. The American Embassy at Ankara reports that, under certain conditions, it would be timely and appropriate to make an approach to the Turkish authorities with respect to the aviation gasoline project. The American Embassy in Moscow does not consider that possible Soviet reaction to the stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey should be considered a determining factor in case a decision has been reached within this Government on the basis of military necessity. Moreover, the admittance of Turkey into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization places the project in a new light.

It is accordingly requested that this memorandum and the enclosed discussion of the problem be circulated for the information [Page 882]of the Council and referred to the Senior Staff for preparation of appropriate recommendations.

Dean Acheson

[Enclosure]

Subject:

  • Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey
1.
In a memorandum to the National Security Council of April 2, 1949, the Secretary of Defense stated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved a project to stockpile aviation gasoline in Turkey subject to clearance by the Department of State. At that time only a small quantity of aviation gasoline was involved (12,000 barrels). The Joint Chiefs of Staff had also approved the recommendation that authority should be given to CINCNELM to proceed with negotiations on this matter, subject to the following conditions: (a) that the matter be cleared by the Department of State and (b) that upon initiation of the project CINCNELM be directed to consider stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey from an over-all requirements point of view rather than from the point of view of naval requirements.
2.
The project, as outlined in the memorandum of April 2, 1949 of the Secretary of Defense, was considered in conjunction with the study of the desirability of seeking an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the construction of airfields, which study took the form of NSC 36/1. The conclusions reached in NSC 36/1 were that

“it would be unwise at this time to seek an arrangement with the Turkish Government, . . .4 for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline referred to in the communication of April 2, 1949.…

“. . . 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.”

3.
The Department understands that the Department of the Navy, on behalf of itself and the Department of the Air Force, seeks the establishment of the following gasoline storage facilities for the United States Armed Forces in Turkey:
  • Navy—1200 barrels each at Balikesir and Diyarbekir, to be available for use in connection with 6th Fleet carrier-based aircraft missions involving attacks on targets in the Caspian and Black Sea area and possibly in support of ground forces.
  • Air Force—100,000 barrels at Adana and 10,000 barrels each at Balikesir and Diyarbekir, based on post-strike medium bombardment [Page 883]operations centered on Adana with a small reserve for cripples at the other two fields.
4.
Embassy Ankara believes that reasonable stockpiling implemented as normal MDAPPOL shipments can be accomplished without giving rise to suspicions. However, the facilities now available in Turkey would probably not make it possible for the full requirements as specified in paragraph 3 above to be met. The Embassy suggests that the project should be under the guise of Turkish stockpiling and not involve written agreements with the Turkish Government and that the United States should pay all costs, including transportation, storage fees and expenses incident to periodic rotation. The Embassy further suggests an approach to the Turkish Chief of Staff on the project.
5.
Embassy Moscow does not consider that Soviet reaction to stockpiling of aviation gasoline should be considered as a determining factor if a decision has been reached regarding the military necessity therefor. However, it does consider it desirable that stockpiling be done in the name of Turkey and that any agreement with the Turks be oral.
6.
Turkey became a full member of NATO on February 18, 1952 upon deposit of its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty. It is thus in a much stronger position than before to cooperate with the United States and other NATO members in undertaking measures of mutual security. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised in carrying out such measures, which, should they become known, might expose Turkey to increases pressures from the Soviet Union.
7.
In light of the above, the Department perceives no objection at this time to seeking an arrangement with the Turkish Government for the stockpiling of aviation gasoline in Turkey provided that (a) the stockpiling is done under the cover of stockpiling for the Turkish Armed Forces, (b) the gasoline is stockpiled in amounts and in a manner which the Department of State and the Department of Defense in collaboration with the American Ambassador in Turkey and the Chief of the Joint Military Mission for aid to Turkey (JAMMAT) agree are reasonable, (c) every effort is made and precaution taken to prevent knowledge of the role of the United States in the stockpiling coming to the attention of the Soviets, and (d) arrangements between the United States and Turkey are on an oral basis.
  1. Drafted by Moore (NEA/GTI); cleared with S/P, C, and EUR; and transmitted to the National Security Council with a covering memorandum by Lay, Apr. 18.
  2. See NSC Action No. 205. [Footnote in the source text. Regarding NSC Action No. 205, see the editorial note in Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1644. NSC 36/1 is printed ibid., p. 1654.]
  3. See Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject, “Stockpiling of Aviation Gasoline in Turkey,” dated Apr. 4, 1949. [Footnote in the source text. Regarding that memorandum, see the editorial note, ibid., p. 1644.]
  4. Ellipses in this document are in the source text.