368. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State0
As it turned out Sarper himself opened Yassiada question, saying that he being very active in matter having discussed with Gursel, Inonu, Aksal and entire Cabinet, all of whom favor moderation. He had also just had two-hour talk with General Sunay who, as head TGS, key figure in army and he believed could now be counted on to work quietly against executions. There had also been some approaches by diplomatic representatives but matter is now one where “job can only be done here” and he believed maximum efforts being made. He requested I pass this on to Secretary in pursuance their previous discussion.
I replied Sarper had jumped gun on me a bit since I too had come prepared discuss Yassiada and had in fact prepared some notes on subject in order be as clear as possible. I then spoke from notes to following effect:
- Matter discussed on several occasions previously on understanding that an internal issue but nevertheless one having potential international ramifications.
- As trials appear be drawing to close I wished as representative of close friend and ally review again on informal basis but under discretionary authority my government.
- Turkey has important role in world today as example of country in evolution through democratic process which at same time recognized world responsibilities, serving as bridge between East and West and old and new.
- Military coup of last year was rational and bloodless; free world had been impressed.
- Imposition death penalty could alter this image, bearing in mind, among other things that political executions usually associated with non-democratic regimes.
- Also desirable all NATO powers put best foot forward in this time of danger.
- These thoughts not new and I had been assured they known to those in decision making positions.
- Aside form restating our views, I understood some missions had expressed their views more formally and I wished be assured that informal character of our approach, which had seemed appropriate in light delicacy of situation, should not be regarded as indication any lesser concern than more formal representations of other good friends of Turkey.
Sarper replied could assure that nature our approach would not mitigate its effectiveness; in fact, he still felt would have been inadvisable for us do otherwise since, in light closeness Turco-American relationship, formal intervention could easily be regarded as threat. He also wished assure that Secretary’s views had been communicated to appropriate government authorities.
Finally, noticing that I had spoken from paper, Sarper asked if I intended leaving it with him. I replied it not prepared for that purpose and asked if he actually wanted something or would himself make record of conversation. Sarper said did not think document of usual diplomatic character would be in order but might be useful if he could be given points covered on plain paper.
I said would do so and am inclined feel this rather useful device to get our position on record while still maintaining informal character of our approach, especially since would appear any more formal approach would have to be at presidential level in order equate with British, German and perhaps other messages. Text will be possible see Sarper to deliver before departure Paris. If not CFA will do so immediately on return. Foregoing discussed with Assistant Secretary Talbot during his short stopover here August 5 to change planes en route Delhi.4 He indicated approval both substance approach to Sarper and intended method of informal written confirmation, draft text of which read to him.5
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 782.00/8–761. Secret.↩
- Telegram 151, July 31, reported that the West German Government had urged Turkey to avoid “draconian” solutions in the punishment of the members of the Menderes regime. (Ibid., 782.00/7–3161)↩
- Apparent reference to the Nicosia conference of Ambassadors to the Eastern Mediterranean states, chaired by Under Secretary Bowles July 31–August 2. Documentation on the meeting is ibid., NEA Files: Lot 66 D 5, Regional Operations Conference.↩
- Secretary Rusk visited Paris August 3–8 for meetings with the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, and the Federal Republic of Germany and a separate meeting with the NATO Permanent Representatives.↩
- Talbot participated with Under Secretary Bowles in a regional Ambassadors meeting in Delhi August 6-d11.↩
- Text of the paper handed to Sarper was transmitted to the Department of State as airgram A–117, August 8. (Department of State, Central Files, 782.00/8–861)↩