195. Letter From Acting Secretary of State Rush to Secretary of Defense Schlesinger1

Dear Jim:

Our longstanding problem with Turkey over providing their armed forces with an electronic warfare capability has now come to a head. If it is not resolved there will probably be a direct impact on the operation of our important intelligence installations in Turkey. If allowed to fester, I am concerned that this problem could have a harmful effect on the overall climate of our complex security relationship, inevitably affecting other of our important assets such as the present relatively free access to Turkish air space. I know that the details of this problem are familiar to some members of your staff, but I believe the matter is urgent enough to warrant your personal attention.

In 1957 in connection with our obtaining Turkish acceptance of an Electronics and Communications agreement governing both intelligence activities and certain operational communications, we agreed to provide the Turkish armed forces with an electronic warfare capability. This was reaffirmed by a 1962 Memorandum of Understanding, and a 1963 protocol to that MOU provided that this assistance be made available outside of the regular Military Assistance Program.

In accordance with this commitment, the U.S. Department of Defense in the early and mid-1960’s provided equipment, training, and logistical support to develop an EW commitment for the Turkish First and Third Armies. The equipment provided at that time is now obsolete and Turkish authorities have requested that we provide additional equipment to modernize the EW elements of those two armies and provide an EW capability to the Second Army. The Turks have also indicated interest in obtaining assistance in upgrading the EW capability of the Air Force and Navy, though the nature of our commitment to these services is more ambiguous than in the case of the ground forces.

One of the more troublesome aspects of our undertaking to the Turks has been its open-ended nature both as to time and dollar amounts. Earlier [Page 651] 1 line not declassified] the operation of which is sanctioned by same 1962 MOU.

While we have not committed ourselves to modify our earlier offer, we have told the Turkish Foreign Ministry that the whole matter would be reviewed once again by the U.S. Government.

In indicating its intention firmly to reject our $2 million offer, the Turks have shown understanding of the problems we have with an open- ended commitment and have proposed that military officials of our two governments get together to work out a new package which would be mutually acceptable. Until we actually enter into such discussions, it will be impossible to know the price of the minimum package that will satisfy the Turks. It is probably realistic to assume that, at a minimum,

We have requested [less than 1 line not declassified] an evaluation of the value of our intelligence facilities in Turkey including an assessment of the impact of their being curtailed or closed down. Without awaiting the results of such a study, however, I think it safe to say that our intelligence facilities in Turkey, as well as the other security-related privileges we enjoy there, are of such value that we should attempt to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Turks on this issue.

While I am fully aware of the Department of Defense’s budgetary difficulties, I believe that given the military importance of certain of our facilities in Turkey and the importance of the intelligence derived from others, it would be appropriate if funds could be allocated to solving this problem both from Department of Defense resources and those of the intelligence community. I would appreciate your having this matter reviewed once more to see if we cannot find some way out of this troublesome situation.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Director of Central Intelligence as this subject, while having broad policy implications, concerns in the first instance our intelligence activities in Turkey.

With warm regards,

Sincerely,

Ken
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 TUR. Secret. Drafted by Nicholas Murphy (NEA/TUR) on July 13; cleared by Robert Dillon NEA/TUR), Rodger Davies (NEA), Ray Cline (INR), and Thomas Pickering (PM). Rush’s handwritten signature is at the bottom of the first page of the letter.