354. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

2183. From Richards.2 Mission met yesterday afternoon for about 2 hours with Turkish Prime Minister, acting Foreign Minister, Minister Defense, Minister Finance, Foreign Office SecGen and other Turkish staff. Atmosphere friendly, easy. Prime Minister who had just returned from attending naval maneuvers eastern Aegean aboard Forrestal was in excellent mood.

Prime Minister opened by giving brief review of ME situation, Russian attempts take advantage recent crisis and role BP. He stressed GOT fully aware importance we attach to BP and considers US “two-thirds member” but is fearful that without full US adherence enemies of Pact will broadcast propaganda that US not fully interested.

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With respect American doctrine,3 Prime Minister stressed his government not trying get lion’s share for Turkey but rather is primarily interested in ME security. He did, however, state that US should look to declared friends first, consider second those states which are uncommitted but working for same ideas and should disregard third group composed of those states opposing efforts buttress ME security. GOT realizes, Prime Minister continued, great wisdom inherent doctrine to help everyone possible but in politics hard choice must be made.

I replied by stressing great importance US government and people attach to Turkey, and to Turkey’s forthright and steadfast position in free world collective security system. I spoke of Turkey as strong rock of ME, eastern anchor NATO, and western anchor BP. I brought warm personal messages from King and Prime Minister Libya both to Turkish Prime Minister and acting Foreign Minister, and I mentioned King’s reference to “little Russia” alongside Libya in addition to “big Russia” farther away.

Re US adherence BP I understood great desire have US join but stated that there were certain considerations which conditioned present US decision this regard.

Re American doctrine, I stated that it meant what it said, as Turkish Government and people well aware, but that certain other governments might not be so conscious of US intentions re ME security. Re priorities as among friends, fence sitters and others, I said that we understood his views but that we also feel encouragement USA government to weaker governments in ME would have tonic effect on all. A relatively small portion of aid to weak country might create new friend who could join old friends in area. In any case, I added, formulation American doctrine in effect tantamount to US adherence Baghdad Pact since it comprises even further commitments than adherence itself would involve.

At this point, Prime Minister interjected that fully appreciative thought GOT was of great value doctrine, and thought his awareness might appear inconsistent with GOT desire USA adherence BP, [Page 712]there really no contradiction because other countries do not have same comprehension as Turkey, and might say in effect that those not fully with us are against us.

I then stated, on confidential basis, willingness US upon invitation from BP Council to join military committee. I said Prime Minister free to notify other Baghdad Pact members this effect on confidential basis.

Underlining financial limitations of plan and extent of area to be included, I referred to regional planning projects including railroad to Iran, Istanbul–Karachi highway and telecommunications, adding experts could discuss these later.

I declared US willingness supplement present military program, and Captain Pitts, Defense representative on mission, explained we proposed to provide:

One squadron F–100 aircraft (re unnumbered joint State–Defense message March 19 to Tripoli for Richards signed Sprague).4
One submarine on loan.

He made clear aircraft were intended as first step toward modernization Turkish AF enabling it to expedite transition to most recent type interceptor. Turkey would be first country in NATO or ME to have this type plane. He emphasized strictly confidential nature these matters, and I added suggestion information be withheld even from BP partners. Menderes agreed saying Turkey not anxious make others envious.

Prime Minister suggested another meeting March 22 at which time he has offered (and I have enthusiastically accepted proposal) to submit certain GOT views on other countries in area which mission might visit.

No substantive information re meeting given to press.

Communiqué for issuance following meeting March 22 being prepared and will be coordinated with Turks.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 120.1580/3–2357. Secret. Repeated to London, Paris, Tehran, Karachi, Kabul, Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Beirut, Athens, Rabat, Tunis, New Delhi, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Jidda.
  2. On March 12, Ambassador Richards left the United States for a 57-day mission to the Middle East. Richards visited 15 countries as part of an effort to explain the President’s January proposals on economic and military assistance to countries in the Middle Eastern area. Richards visited Turkey between March 20 and 23.
  3. On January 5, President Eisenhower in a statement before a joint session of Congress requested legislative approval to authorize military and economic assistance to countries in the Middle Eastern area that requested aid. The measures that the President proposed also included the employment of the Armed Forces of the United States “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid, against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism.” The President’s message, introduced into the House of Representatives on January 5 as H.J. Res. 117 and into the Senate on January 9 as S.J. Res. 19, was approved by Congress and signed by Eisenhower on March 9. The Middle East Resolution became popularly known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. For full texts of the initial resolution, and its amended version, see AFP: Current Documents 1957, pp. 783–830.
  4. Not found.
  5. Transmitted in telegram 2198, March 23. (Department of State, Central Files, 120.1580/3–2357)

    In telegram 2203, March 23, the Embassy at Ankara conveyed the substance of the second 2-hour meeting between Richards and Menderes. The conversation dealt with the situation in the Middle East, focusing on the situations in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Afghanistan. (Ibid.) Richards met again with Menderes on March 25 (telegram 2228 from Ankara, March 27; ibid., 120.1580/3–2757) and with President Bayar on the same day. (Telegram 2219 from Ankara, March 26; ibid., 120.1580/3–2657)