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

959. Paris for Finletter and SACEUR. Embtel 944 and Deptel 721.1 Erkin told me this morning that he discussed Sancar letter2 at length with Inonu yesterday afternoon and had suggested matter be withdrawn because of confusion it causing. In so doing he presented my views on six numbered paragraphs of Sancar letter and said they also [Page 756] represented his understanding of situation. At end of conversation Inonu said he hesitated demand retraction of letter for fear of hurting feelings of military but suggested question might be resolved by making clear that points specified by Sancar were not conditions but rather expression of Turkish needs and desires.

Erkin said he had agreed and said he would see Sancar and then advise me. He doubted if he could do so before first of next week due his own and Sancar’s immediate preoccupation with budget presentation to House. However, he would do so as soon as possible, using same arguments he had with Inonu and hoping Sancar might actually agree to revising letter. Meanwhile, however, it should be considered as having status suggested by Inonu. He also expressed opinion that points raised by Sancar would not in any event be appropriate for inclusion in bilateral agreement.

I observed this latter point very important since Sancar letter as received had referred to possible “deadlocks” in implementation which I could only interpret as suggesting removal Jupiters could be held up if specified conditions not met. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Erkin said Sancar had no authority impose such conditions since decision exchange Polaris for Jupiters had been taken by Cabinet and represented government position.

Erkin then inquired regarding approach to NATO saying he could understand Stikker’s impatience and indicating he was ready proceed as soon as he heard from us how we proposed going about it. I told him I was expecting information in this regard momentarily and would get in touch with him as soon as it was received. (Deptel 721 received after this conversation.) In light foregoing, I agree with suggestion in Deptel 721 that Secretary Defense reply to Sancar be deferred. Re contents, I would hope to be in better position submit suggestions after I have been advised of outcome Erkin’s talk with Sancar.

Suggest we be advised soon as possible regarding nature approach to NATO so that we can proceed with joint approach as we originally proposed to Turks. Advantages joint approach might justify short postponement of presentation in NAC, should that be necessary obtain full understanding in advance. Also suggest Ambassador Finletter may wish keep Birgi informed in detail our plans for NAC presentation in order keep all lines clear. In making these suggestions we cognizant Polto 283 but, since notification of intention to NAC was on tripartite basis, we would assume this concept would be retained in some way in succeeding steps.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 Tur. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Rome and Paris.
  2. In telegram 944, February 13, the Ambassador reported on discussions with Erkin regarding Defense Minister Sancar’s position on removal of the Jupiter missiles. (Ibid.) In telegram 721, February 13, the Department of State outlined the position it would take on Polaris deployment if the issue were raised by the press. (Ibid., Def 12 NATO)
  3. Sancar’s February 12 letter to McNamara was transmitted in telegram 943 from Ankara, February 13. While accepting the U.S. proposal for Jupiter withdrawal, it raised a number of issues of linkage between Jupiter withdrawal and supply for the Turkish armed forces. (Ibid., DEF 12 Tur)
  4. Polto 28, February 14, reported Stikker’s views on how to present the Jupiter replacement to Turkey. (Ibid., Def 12 US/NATO)