215. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Turkish-United States Relations; Vietnam


  • Mr. Ihsan Sabri Caglayangil, Turkish Foreign Minister
  • Mr. Haluk Bayulken, Director General, Foreign Office
  • Mr. Ilter Turkmen, Director, Policy Planning, Foreign Office
  • Ambassador Turgut Menemencioglu, Turkish Ambassador
  • The Secretary
  • The Under Secretary
  • Raymond A. Hare, Assistant Secretary for NEA
  • William B. Buffum, IO
  • George T. Churchill, Officer-in-Charge, Turkish Affairs
[Page 455]

After an exchange of courtesies had established a cordial atmosphere, Caglayangil opened the discussion (Bayulken translating) with a statement of the new Government’s emphasis on strengthening relations with the United States and the West. He mentioned that the Justice Party had received a substantial majority which would permit a stable government for the next four years. There has been a tendency in Turkey, made possible by increased freedom of the press, toward a more neutral foreign policy and toward leftism. The result of the recent elections indicates, however, that the great majority of Turkish people do not approve of tendencies that would take Turkey away from its traditional policies or, in the guise of social justice, move the country to the far left. The Justice Party won on the basis of a clear platform, and the people of Turkey have defined their leadership and the policies they want to have followed.

Caglayangil said that the democratic system has many opportunities but also has some inherent disadvantages. The Turkish Government, Caglayangil went on, has decided to make every effort to preserve and improve United States-Turkish relations. He is sure the United States will do its part to ensure that the relationship is not harmed by these (leftist) tendencies. If the relationship is not to be damaged, both countries must keep these tendencies in perspective.

The Secretary said he was encouraged that the Turkish people had made such a clear-cut decision, and that there was a good prospect for a political continuum. He said the new Government need have no doubt about our concern for Turkish stability and well-being. This was a stable concern, as it was based on our own self-interest and on our commitments, which we value and intend to honor.

PL 480

Caglayangil said he would be grateful if something could be done to accelerate work on a new surplus agreement, as progress was now very slow. Mr. Churchill explained that a rather technical discussion was going on within the United States Government to determine what commodities might be delivered, and also on the question of export restrictions. Since the Turkish Government had indicated it wanted export restrictions eliminated or reduced in the new agreement, we were trying to determine what flexibility might be allowed under the legislation.

The Secretary said he would involve himself personally in this matter. He said he was seeing Secretary Freeman December 3.2 The Secretary added that the surplus situation in the United States was changing. We don’t have the same stockpile as before. Wheat has dropped, and rice is in short supply. We will continue to take into account the needs of other [Page 456] countries, but the changing supply situation will affect what we can do in the future with PL 480.

Military Assistance

Caglayangil said he knows that the concerned authorities in the United States have the whole military assistance problem under review, but he wanted to stress Turkey’s need for all-weather aircraft and Hawk missiles.

The Secretary responded that we planned to give substantial support for Turkey’s military program. However, there are a couple of difficulties that arise, both attributable to Vietnam: (a) the problem of appropriations—our “bank balance” is overdrawn because of Vietnam; and (b) the question of types of equipment available. We are in a war in Vietnam and cannot be entirely sure where it will lead. This means we cannot clearly determine what our own equipment requirements will be, and thus what will be available for others. The Secretary said he did not mean this as a negative response, but only as an indication of the complications involved.

Economic Situation

Caglayangil stressed the importance the new Government places on planned development and the achievement of a self-sustaining economy through self-help. He was sure the United States would do everything possible to help achieve these goals. The Secretary said we were encouraged by development results in Turkey so far. He urged that the Turkish Government extend its own diplomacy to the limit in talking to other Consortium members. He said we would, of course, continue to do our part, but our approaches to the UK, FRG, and others may carry less weight than the Turks’ own efforts, since we are pressing these countries all the time on so many issues.


According to Caglayangil, Turkey participates in NATO in the sincere belief that this organization has been successful in achieving its primary missions in the past and will continue to be useful in the future. Developments within NATO should be participated in by all member countries. It is the Turkish Government position that a directoire should not be formed within NATO.

USSR Relations

Caglayangil stated that the Turkish Government is interested in establishing good neighbor relations with the Soviet Union, according to the principles laid down by Ataturk. However, Turks do not forget that Turkey has been at war with the Russians thirteen times in the past. Since every war sets a country back fifty years in economic development, [Page 457] Caglayangil said, Russia bears a large responsibility for Turkey’s present underdeveloped state. The emphasis in Turk-USSR relations will be on the development of trade. The Secretary said we do not object to our allies having normal relations with the USSR. Specifically, we support the idea of Turkey’s normalizing relations with Russia. However, the USSR could conceivably cause difficulties again in the future. If relations again become abnormal because of Russian pressure, we would share Turkey’s interest in restoring the situation.


Caglayangil identified two phases of the Cyprus problem: (a) the immediate issues in the UNGA, and (b) the substantive problem of finding an ultimate solution. On the UNGA phase, Caglayangil said that if the “Cypriot” resolution drafted by 24 United Nations members were accepted, it would give encouragement to the Greek Cypriots and will ensure Makarios’ freedom of action for further faits accomplis. Although the present Turkish Government is firmly in power, it does have a responsibility to the Turkish public and cannot ignore public opinion, especially in an issue of national importance, such as Cyprus. Caglayangil said that the adversary in this instance (the Cypriot Government) has an ever-changing policy. Now they are for full independence; but last month they were for enosis. They talk about human rights, but deprive the Turkish community of every right and treat them as rebels. Therefore, Caglayangil said, the Turkish Government is concerned that any resolution which might look like a political victory for the adversary might bring about disastrous consequences. Despite Turkey’s desire for restraint, it might prove necessary to act, in the face of the Greek-Cypriot attitude.

Caglayangil continued that even if a procedural resolution is adopted in the United Nations, the problem of finding an ultimate solution remains. After the UN debate, Caglayangil said, he hoped Turks and Americans could join to search out the alternatives, to look at each one and to find the best, so that an optimum solution could be worked out.

Mr. Buffum agreed that the 24 member draft resolution was not acceptable, and said we were working for a procedural resolution. On the longer range aspect, the Secretary said the Cyprus question is full of agony for everybody. If it could be settled without us, we would be very happy. Our basket is already full! However, we are prepared to be helpful, and we would be glad to have a serious discussion in depth if the Turks would find it helpful.

Responding to the Secretary’s query about possibilities for resumed Greek-Turkish talks, Caglayangil said the Turkish Government had always favored bilateral talks, but he was not sure about the Greek Government. There are indications that the Greeks may want to resume, but there is no way of knowing when or how they plan to start. Tsirimokos [Page 458] came to a Turkish cocktail party in New York and talked to Caglayangil for a few minutes, but showed no inclination to talk substance. The Secretary said he would talk to Tsirimokos in Washington next week and would explore this question again in Paris at the NATO Ministerial. Mr. Ball commented that the Greek-Turkish talks were first started as a result of the NATO Ministerial in May, and that perhaps they could be revived at the December meeting.

[Here follows discussion of Vietnam.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Turkey, Vol. 1. Confidential. Drafted by Churchill and approved in S and U on December 16.
  2. No record of the meeting has been found.