163. Memorandum of Conversation1 2


  • Turkish Opium Production


  • Mr. Martin Pollner, Member, INCB
  • Mr. Guy Wiggins, USUN
  • Mr. Louis Cavanaugh, IO/HDC

Mr. Cavanaugh opened by stating that the purpose of this conversation as well as others which might be held was to exchange views and information to the benefit of both parties. He emphasized that the material discussed was confidential and was not available for quotation. He hoped that Mr. Pollner might find the views expressed useful as background to the poor performance of his duties with the INCB. Mr. Pollner said he understood the terms under which the conversation was held as well as his own position as an American national, not a USG representative, serving as a member of the INCB.

Mr. Cavanaugh provided a brief summary of the reaction of the international organizations and the USG to Turkey’s rescission of its opium ban: that in response to a Turkish request the Division of Narcotic Drugs/UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control were sending an expert mission to advise on control procedures; that the US hopes the UN organizations will act to ensure strict controls; that the US will support international efforts but will be ready for increased bilateral efforts should they not prove successful. Mr. Cavanaugh summarized the main recommendations of the Ad Hoc Working Committee on the Optimal Control Procedures for Turkish Opium Production.

Mr. Pollner commented during the course of the briefing that he could not subscribe to the concept of Turkey’s undertaking “effective controls” in the time allotted by its Government’s decision. He noted that it had taken India centuries to institute effective controls. Therefore, unless cautioned at the highest levels of the [Page 2] USG, he intended to propose at the October meeting of the INCB that the Board impose sanctions on Turkey for violating its international commitments.

He stated that a recent heroin seizure indicated that stockpiles of Turkish opium were being released. He asserted that the halting of Turkish production had reduced the number of American addicts from 600,000 to 200,000 but that now we were faced with a return to the former level of addiction. He was concerned not only with the way the Turks went about it: “they had not discussed it with our Ambassador, whom they had snubbed” and they had not informed the President of the INCB, who also was upset by their decision. Mr. Pollner said the advantage of his position in the INCB was that he was not a government official and therefore could express his own views. He said the US was the major victim nation of illicit trafficking and he strongly believed sanctions were in order.

Mr. Pollner stated his intent to write to all members of the INCB (except the Turk and possibly the Russian), telling them that he was going to propose sanctions and seeking their support. He would then write the Turkish member and inform him about what he had done. He had already written to Reuter about his proposal and thought that Reuter would support him.

In response to Mr. Pollner’s inquiry whether the USG was contemplating cutting off aid to Turkey, Mr. Cavanaugh replied that cutting aid right now would increase the difficulty of convincing the Turks that the proposed controls should be adopted. Mr. Pollner doubted whether the Turks would accept more than a recommendation to appoint a special assistant on narcotics matters for the Prime Minister. He questioned whether they seriously wished to cooperate.

Mr. Pollner requested a copy of the Ad Hoc Committee’s report for his background information.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P740097–2072. Confidential. Drafted by Cavanaugh and Wiggins. Copies were sent to Vance, Gough, the narcotics coordinator for EUR, and Hirshorn.
  2. U.S. representatives discussed with INCB member Pollner how to respond to the Turkish government’s announced intention to reintroduce licit opium cultivation.