387. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey 0

566. Paris for Finletter and CINCEUR. Joint State–Defense message. For Ambassador.

USG desires replacement Jupiter systems in Turkey and Italy as soon as possible. You should therefore begin consultations at appropriate level GOT as soon as possible, following on letter from Secretary Defense to Turk MOD, and using approach outlined below.
With decisions reached at Nassau Conference, process of revitalizing and modernizing nuclear defense of NATO area has begun. USG envisages staged evolution toward effective multilateral NATO force, integrating existing independent nuclear forces, and with eventual control and manning arrangements in which Turkey as well as other smaller NATO powers would participate. Precise shape and timing this evolution not yet certain, but it is inevitable conclusion train of events started at Nassau. USG, during coming years of evolution this force, intends utilize its influence to see that final configuration will include significant participation by Turkey, which we regard as an especially close and dependable ally and as a basic military pillar of NATO. We hope and expect that Turkey will, in the course of future movements toward more effective NATO nuclear defense concepts and structures, continue as it has in the past to give its best efforts toward strengthening of the NATO alliance.
While many basic steps toward improvement NATO nuclear posture will of course require time for technical arrangements as well as cooperative re-thinking of problem on part of NATO allies, there are other steps which can be taken in near future which would not only improve present NATO defense posture but would provide valuable impetus toward re-examination of basic postulates by industrialized NATO countries which is a prerequisite for meaningful progress in new directions. One such step, on which we wish consult with Turkey, is the substitution of more modern weapons systems for the existing obsolescent Jupiters now stationed in Turkey and Italy. Simultaneous consultations are taking place in Italy. You might refer to the British decision to dismantle Thor IRBM’s as an example of the fact that the first generation of IRBM’s is obsolete.
We are ready, as an interim arrangement toward the eventual NATO multilateral force envisaged at Nassau, to assign Polaris missiles under SACEUR to the Mediterranean with the intention of having at least three boats for the Mediterranean force. Missiles will be on station by April 1, 1963. This weapons system, with an extremely low degree of vulnerability to an enemy first strike, would, along with our own rapidly expanding Minuteman force, be able to cover the targeting assignments previously handled by the Jupiter system. Turkey and Italy, through SACEUR, would of course be expected to participate in the targeting of the Polaris system. Once the submarines force is assigned, we would be happy to make such arrangements as Turkey might feel desirable for short visits to Turkish ports, with attendant publicity, in order that the Turkish people may be reassured that they are constantly guarded by this undersea force.
Some time in 1963, the United States will begin the dispersal to Turkish airfields of nuclear weapons under United States custody for use with Turkish aircraft.
The U.S. will never forget, and will always be grateful for, Turkey’s swift response to collective security needs in agreeing to accept and man the Jupiter installations on Turkish soil. The need at the time was great, and IRBM’s were the best response the Free World could make to the Soviet threat as it was then apparent to us. The value of weapons systems changes, however. Nuclear delivery systems falling between the first efforts and the first generations of highly invulnerable, fast, accurate, and reliable systems such as Polaris and Minuteman have been shown to have a very short lifetime of military usefulness. We feel that the Jupiter system has simply been outmoded. Its vulnerability and relatively slow reaction time make it a standing temptation for an enemy first strike, nuclear or conventional, and its manning and maintenance make it a drain on resources which could be put to better use. The Jupiters on Turkish soil do not represent a military error; they have performed a perhaps critical duty in deterring aggression against the alliance. But, like all other weapons, they eventually reach obsolescence, as we mentioned to you in April 1961. The immense efforts we have devoted to the improvement of our nuclear delivery capacity have rendered their period of useful life shorter than is the case with other types of weapons. Jupiter was from the beginning a stop-gap.
You may during course of these discussions request the presence in Ankara of a senior U.S. military officer. You may also make reference to the importance of obtaining SACEUR’s views. You should be guided by following considerations: [Page 747]
USG desires Turkish agreement as soon as possible for replacement of Jupiters at earliest time possible following stationing of the Polaris force in the Mediterranean.
If Turkey agrees in principle, it should at earliest possible time after consultation with SACEUR (we will also consult SACEUR) approach NAC through SACEUR, and jointly with the US notify NAC of its intention dismantle Jupiters after Polaris missiles are on station. Timing of announcements, including possibility even of trilateral announcement, is subject to arrangement, and we would go as far as we could toward meeting Turkish preferences. We do not feel, however, that we can authorize announcements or inspired press comment until NAC has been formally notified, since we must avoid impression that three NATO states have altered NATO defensive arrangements without consultation with other NATO allies.
Technical details of dismantling and withdrawal Jupiters could be discussed between Turkish General Staff and JUSMMAT.
Should Turks at any time intimate that they suspect they are being equated with Cuba, you are authorized respond such intimation that when Soviets, in course of Cuban crisis, attempted compare Jupiters in Turkey with Soviet missiles on Cuba, we responded flatly and publicly that we absolutely refused accept any such comparison; our position was and will unalterably remain just that. If it appears desirable to strengthen the presentation, you may in your discretion wish to indicate along the lines of Secretary McNamara’s December 13 conversation with Defense Minister Sancar1 that the Cuban crisis did not even remotely inspire us toward making a deal with the Soviets involving the security of a faithful and trusted ally; it did bring home to us uncomfortably the dangers and incongruity of maintaining such obsolescent weapons systems as Jupiter when better and far less vulnerable systems are available in growing quantities.
Should Turks indicate they may balk at Jupiter replacement unless further improvements are in sight for their conventional military capability, [Page 748] you are authorized to state that Turkey will be given first priority on F–104G aircraft as they come off the assembly lines. Fourteen F–104G’s will be delivered in April 1963 if the Turks agree to the Jupiter proposal. You may not make any commitment as to delivery of the second squadron.
FYI. USG is reviewing current policy affecting following bilateral problems having connection with Turkish defense and Turkey’s status as U.S. ally:
Soviet chrome ore shipments to U.S.
U.S. support of Turkish consortium.
Interpretation of Status of Forces Agreement.
US attitude toward Turkish association with EEC. End FYI.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 782.5611/1–863. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Bowling; cleared by Meloy, Lubkeman, Hare, Talbot, S/S, EUR, RPM, the Department of Defense, and the White House; and approved by Kitchen. Repeated to Rome and Paris.
  2. In telegram 576 to Ankara, January 10, the Department of State noted that a portion of the guidance had been omitted from paragraph 3a. The missing portion reads: “If it appears desirable to strengthen the presentation, you may in your discretion wish to indicate along lines Secretary McNamara’s December 13 conversation with Defense Minister Sancar that the Cuban crisis did sharpen in our minds the dangers to NATO’s military posture and to world peace of the existence of obsolescent systems such as that of Jupiter within range of Soviet conventional forces. We naturally were forced to consider that Soviets might be tempted strike at Turkish Jupiters. Should this have occurred, we would have been forced respond with adequate countermeasures, and entire world would have been in imminent danger escalation to thermonuclear exchange which was not desired by either side.” (Ibid., 782.5611/1–1063)