75. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State0

Polto 506. Eyes only for Secretary. Department may desire repeat Ankara and Rome eyes only Ambassadors. Policy. Reference:Deptels 2345 and 2349.1

Turkish PermRep here has consistently made it clear that Turks set great store in Jupiters placed in Turkey. He makes very clear that Turkey regards these Jupiters as symbol of Alliance’s determination to use atomic weapons against Russian attack on Turkey whether by large conventional or nuclear forces, although Turks have been most reluctant admit presence IRBM’s publicly. Fact that Jupiters are obsolescent and vulnerable does not apparently affect present Turkish thinking. My impression is that symbolic importance represents a fixed GOT view, although of course Hare can comment much better than I on this point.
For above reason any arrangement of kind suggested reftel which would not have received prior complete support by GOT would, it seems to us, be most damaging. I emphasize prior consultation, and I think it should be an arrangement freely arrived at by them. My guess is that any arrangement that would not substitute some other considerable kind of atomic capability in Turkey for Jupiters would be rejected by them. See suggestions paras. 8 and 9 below.
In this connection, would appear preferable, since Cuba is by definition outside NATO area, to offer close down some US nuclear-capable base outside NATO area rather than making deal involving Turkey or Italy. Such deal would then be strictly US-USSR trade rather than involving one of our NATO allies in any deal.
I think that we must be fully aware there is real possibility that, outside of any arrangement made in over-all disarmament context, whole Alliance might be dismayed by such a deal which would compromise and invalidate firm US action re Cuba which has received substantial approval from Alliance. As all know, these weapons were put in Europe as result of heads of government decision in 1957 in response to boastful Soviet MRBM threat to Europe, and Alliance might very well conclude that US was willing weaken nuclear defenses in Europe in order to remove threat in Western hemisphere. However, cannot discount possibility that some members Alliance might be willing accept [Page 214] Cuba-Turk deal “to avoid nuclear war”, i.e., Norwegians, Danes and maybe even British.
Re question of removal Jupiters accompanied by stationing of Polaris submarines in area, doubt whether mere deployment Polaris would be attractive to Turks since they really would have no say in use of Polaris in time of crisis and they turned down similar proposal in April 1961. Nevertheless, one might argue Turks really have no say over Jupiter use now because of custodial arrangements, but they feel some assurance in having weapons on their territory and somewhat in their hands. Turkish concern re Polaris substitution might be partially met by consulting them on targeting so as to assure that targets of interest to them are covered by Polaris. Also could point out that three Polaris submarines in area would effectively more than double coverage presently afforded by obsolete Jupiters. Doubt, however, above arrangements would adequately compensate Turks.
Re suggestion reftel concerning some other significant military offset such as NATO seaborne multilateral nuclear force, we believe most expeditious way do this would be set up small southern command multilateral seaborne force on a “pilot basis”. If such firm suggestion made this should be acceptable arrangement to Turks to compensate for loss of obsolete Jupiters. Such offer would take form of converting a number of merchant-type vessels to MRBM force, utilizing Polaris A-2 missiles along general lines of US studies and presentation to NAC by Smith on 22 October.2 Ships could be deployed in eastern Mediterranean and could be manned by Turkish, Italian and American mixed crews and also possibly Greeks, with appropriate targets of interest to Mediterranean allies covered. Although implementation of this type of force could be realized in short period of time, it would be necessary, as interim step before force comes into being, to station Polaris, as suggested reftel, in eastern Mediterranean. Polaris deployment would then fill gap caused by removal of Jupiters, while Southern Command Multilateral Force was being put together. At same time, rest of Alliance could be investigating possibility of setting up NATO-wide multilateral seaborne force. Southern Command MLF might well serve as model for larger force and could be expanded as other allies indicated desirability to join arrangements this type. To make this whole alternative palatable to Turks and others would require clear US support to implement multilateral seaborne-type force, and if properly presented to Turks and Italians we could highlight flexibility and greater efficiency this type force over Jupiters. [Page 215] Our impression here is that Italians more prone to dismantle Jupiters if proper substitute can be found.
Such pilot arrangement, which would not come into being immediately, could permit us offer Soviets withdrawal obsolete Jupiters as face-saving device for Cuban withdrawal (Polaris deployment would cover in interval). Whether or not this would be acceptable to Soviets, the gesture could be made and might well look good in face of world opinion. Whether or not they accept this type of trade, we believe that in any event strong consideration should be given to withdrawing Jupiters and creating pilot MLF since this would strengthen NATO nuclear capability in eastern Mediterranean. Although Turks didn’t agree to stop Jupiter program in 1961, even when faced with facts Jupiters obsolete, of no military value and good Soviet target, they might be willing now to accept substitute in MLF which more effective from all angles.3
  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Jupiter—Cuba. Secret; Priority. Received at 6:41 p.m. October 25.
  2. Document 56 and footnote 1 thereto.
  3. Descriptions of the North Atlantic Council briefing on October 22 are in Polto 502, October 23 (Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2362), and Sherman Kent’s November 14 memorandum for the record. (Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 84-00499R, Box 1, HS/HC 850A) See the Supplement for both.
  4. On October 26 the Embassy in Rome replied that removal of the Jupiter missiles from Italy “would probably be manageable,” but the United States should consult with the Italian Government before making the final decision. (Telegram 936 from Rome; Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Jupiter—Cuba) See the Supplement. On the same day Ambassador Hare replied from Ankara that removal of the missiles from Turkey would present a major problem not only for U.S.-Turkish relations but also for NATO. He explained in detail the ramifications of removal and how some of them might be met. (Telegram 587 from Ankara; Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Jupiter—Cuba) See the Supplement.