327. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs (Baxter) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen)1
The vague uneasiness which yesterday’s meeting3 raised in my mind was greatly increased by a call from Esenbel late last night. He said he wanted to see you urgently today (without Zorlu) preferably in the morning to discuss with you the “impressions” created by yesterday’s discussions. It was fairly evident that he had had a stormy postmortem session with Zorlu and that he hoped, by seeing you, to prevent an impasse—as he had tried to do yesterday when he pointed out that we should give serious consideration to the list of measures planned by the Turkish Government and which we had not heard of before. …
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Yesterday in talking to Erkin4 the Secretary was unstinting in his praise of Turkey; its brave stand on defense in a perilous advanced position was an inspiration to the rest of the world. When we go to the Hill on defense matters, the Secretary said, Turkey is our No. 1 exhibit. Probably Turkey has been foolish and over-ambitious in offering to carry a much larger defense burden than it should support, but in general we and Nato have eagerly accepted their proffers and shouted “stout fellow.” And Turkey might say, with some justification, that its efforts in another direction have made a start on Middle East defense arrangements—where the combined efforts of the US, the UK, and France failed miserably. Turkey is looked upon as our chosen vessel. If it falls flat on its face [Page 644] (and it makes no difference whether the US is “letting Turkey go bankrupt” or whether Turkey is going bankrupt because of its own bad management), other countries, particularly those of the Middle East, will wonder just how much US support is worth. …
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I think we should face up to the fact that Turkey is going to cost us considerably more for the next few years than we had thought. Instead of trying to decide on the magnitude of an “accommodation,” should we not agree internally that our regular aid be increased and then, by sitting down with the Turkish and figuring out their requirements for the next two or three months, say, and then for the next six months or so, get them to institute the drastic measures we think necessary in direct connection with the release of funds for specific obligations. (I’m getting fuzzy here, but I think some of our qualified people in Treasury, the Department and FOA could spell out a program.)
Sorry for the early morning aberration, but this problem has been keeping me awake of nights. It’s one that has to be solved, not by-passed, and I can’t yet see the way through it.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.82/5–555.↩
- A notation on the source text indicates that the memorandum was dated May 5. Baxter’s own notation indicates that the memorandum was written on “Wednesday morning”. Other indications in the source text, however, particularly Baxter’s reference to Dulles’ meeting with outgoing Turkish Ambassador Feridun Erkin, suggest that the memorandum was written on Wednesday, May 25.↩
- On May 24, representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, and the Treasury met with Zorlu to discuss the economic situation in Turkey. During the meeting, Zorlu presented a list of proposed economic measures that the Turkish Government was prepared to implement. A record of the interagency meeting of May 24 and Zorlu’s list are in Department of State, Central File 882.00/5-2455. In telegram 1529 to Ankara, May 27, the Department transmitted a report on the May 24 meeting. (Ibid., 882.10/5–2755)↩
- Erkin made a farewell call prior to assuming his new post at Madrid. (Memorandum of conversation, May 24;ibid., 782.00/5–2455)↩