165. Telegram 192427 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey1 2


  • Letter to Turkish Prime Minister on Opium Poppy Controls

1. Following is the text of the original of the letter to Prime Minister Ecevit signed today by the Secretary, pouched Ankara. This should replace the letter dated August 6 signed by President Nixon, the original of which was sent to you by pouch.

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

“I have asked Ambassador Macomber to carry this letter to you so that you will know of my deep personal concern and that of the people of the United States regarding the possible serious consequences arising from your government’s decision to rescind the opium poppy ban.

“I am sure you are aware that this decision has received widespread and severe criticism in our country and is a cause of much concern and dismay. The problems of heroin addiction have been serious indeed and the American people have in recent years become deeply committed to the struggle to reduce this evil, particularly since it has endangered the lives of so many of our young.

“I have no doubt, further, that you have been following the serious problems we are now encountering in the Congress, problems which have become even more serious because of the recent events in the Eastern Mediterranean. This has already been reflected in the adoption by an overwhelming vote of an amendment to an important appropriations bill in the Senate which would cut off aid to Turkey unless the ban is restored or effective controls established. The House of Representatives has passed a resolution containing a similar provision and has amended the Export-Import Bank legislation to eliminate loans to Turkey unless certain conditions are fulfilled. Candidly, we expect even more far-reaching legislative proposals in the days ahead.

“As distressed as we are over your decision, we recognize that as a friend and an ally there are other broad mutual interests which have long served well both Turkey and the United States, and which are essential to preserve. But this cannot be done, I fear, without your help. Concrete steps are required which will give effective assurance that the gains in the fight against heroin, to which Turkey’s decision of 1971 made such a critical contribution, will not now be vitiated.

“In this connection, we have noted your government’s assurances that Turkey is determined to prevent a recurrence of the smuggling problems of the past. In view of the circumstances which I have described, there is a critical need now for us to be advised of a Turkish control plan which will demonstrate irrefutably that your country is taking effective practical measures which will assure against the dangers which we so greatly fear. Initially, I hope that your government will find a way to severely restrict acreage in the first year and expand only as controls are proven to be effective.

“Ambassador Macomber will go into greater detail in discussions with you; but above all, I have asked him, in the spirit of friendship, to reflect forthrightly the depth of our concern and the essential necessity for prompt action by Turkey in the furtherance of our broader interests and shared common goals.
Henry A. Kissinger.”

2. In delivering this letter, you should, as suggested in its last paragraph and pursuant to the President’s policy decision (which has been sent to you septel), enter into discussions with GOT on specific measures it will take to prevent opium smuggling. Discussions with the relevant United Nations agencies, also envisaged in the President’s policy decision, should, of course, be directed among other matters to coordination of our respective efforts. You may wish to discuss this subject with Sir Harry Greenfield now in Ankara in response to GOT request to the DND for advice on the control mechanisms to be adopted by GOT.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Repeated for information to the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva. Drafted by Hirshorn; and approved by Kissinger, Vance, Stabler, and Woods.
  2. Secretary Kissinger instructed Ambassador Macomber to deliver a message personally to Prime Minister Ecevit concerning U.S. concerns about opium smuggling accompanying the reintroduction of poppy cultivation.