388. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State0

792. Paris for Finletter and SACEUR. Deptel 566, Embtels 765 and 788.1 FonMin Erkin has just given me account of meeting on Jupiter replacement this afternoon attended by himself, Defense Minister Sancar and Service Chiefs and presided over by Prime Minister Inonu. Results basically favorable by decision accept in principle but issue needlessly and disappointingly complicated by FonMin’s mistaken impression that Polaris submarines would be manned in some way by Turkish crews. In order avoid just some such difficulty I had given Erkin at our first meeting an informal memorandum of points covered and we know from questions asked that head of NATO section of FonOff who translated memo and has acted as Erkin’s adviser in matter clearly understood. [Page 749] Against this background, following are conditions for acceptance of our proposal;

Two submarines should be placed under Turkish commander in NATO capacity.
Two “spare” crews should be sent to the United States for training for duty on Polaris.
Number of 104G’s of first squadron should be increased to 18.
Training for 104G pilots should be furnished by sending US training group here and sending Turk pilots for training in US.
Date for second squadron of 104G’s should be set.

Erkin also mentioned as “different matter” need of Turkish Navy for submarines, destroyers and patrol boats such as furnished Greece if Turk fleet not to cease being effective force by 1967 (this obviously part of current naval drive as reported A–6472 and believe no necessity to consider as directly related Jupiters). Erkin said decision would be communicated immediately to three Deputy Prime Ministers and then submitted for Cabinet approval next week. He asked my reaction.

I replied baffled by reference to subs under Turkish command with Turkish crews since there had been no such suggestion in our proposal. Erkin said in that case his presentation to meeting had been in error. He would however request that Turkish conditions be presented USG as given, presumably in order not be forced admit his error, although there is minimal possibility affair staged as tactical manoeuvre.

At this point I felt very glum indeed but Erkin then proceeded say Turks want very much to avoid giving impression of having been outdistanced by Italians and, depending on what put out following Fanfani talks, would like make announcement of comparable action here, hopefully next week. In this connection, he also indicated that Turkish reaction regarding assignment and manning Polaris subs would foreseeably be influenced by nature our agreement with Italians. He asked we submit our views as soon as possible in order move ahead.

I realize foregoing must sound grotesque but that is way it happened, and viewed in even such short retrospect, situation may not be as difficult as impossible Turk conditions would indicate. As matters stand our ace in hole would appear to be such agreement as reached with Italians and strong Turkish [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] urge not let appear that Italians beating out Turks in this particular field.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 782.56311/1–1863. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Rome and Paris.
  2. Telegram 566 is printed as Document 387. Telegram 765, January 12, reported that Erkin agreed with the United States on removal of the missiles, but believed that his government faced a major public relations effort in explaining their withdrawal to the Turkish public. (Department of State, Central Files, 782.56311/1–1263) Telegram 788, January 18, reported that Erkin had repeated and endorsed the substance of the U.S. position in a statement before the Turkish Senate and expected to seek final government and military approval for withdrawal of the Jupiter missiles in a January 18 meeting. (Ibid., 782.65311/1–1863)
  3. Airgram A–647, January 15, reported on discussions with the West Germans regarding assistance to the Turkish Navy. (Ibid., 882.5621/1–1563)