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Finletter, Thomas K. (Thomas Knight) 1893- 1980

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October 26, 1962

American Embassy Rome Telegram 436 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

On October 26, 1962, as the Cuban Missile Crisis is unfolding, U.S. Ambassador G. Frederick Reinhardt replied to a State Department inquiry about possible Italian reactions to withdrawal of the Jupiters, stating that they “would probably be manageable,” but also recommending early consultations with the Italian government if they were to “form part of negotiated settlement.” In particular, Reinhardt suggested offsetting the withdrawal with gestures to appeal to the Italian government’s craving for status, such as (a) presenting the removal as an Italian contribution to the relaxation of East-West tensions, (b) some kind of “big power consultation” between the U.S. and Italy, coupled with assurances on “the presence of Polaris submarines in the Mediterranean,” (c) “public emphasis on Italy’s role in NATO in order to counter-balance loss of value which missiles have for Italy in calling attention to its role and position in alliance,” and (d) a promise to halt further reductions of U.S. military commitments in Italy. In short, Reinhardt saw a phase-out as a possibility but something to be “be very carefully handled.”

October 26, 1962

American Embassy Ankara Telegram 587 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

In an “eyes only” response to a State Department query about the Jupiters, U.S. Ambassador Raymond Hare observed that “if proper means could be found, good case could be made for removal of Jupiters from Turkey as counter for removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.” Yet, withdrawing the missiles as part of a Cuban Missile Crisis arrangement would pose a problem that was “partly psycho-political” and “partly substantive.” With reference to the “psycho-political” problem, Hare’s explanation was framed ethnocentrically: The Turks “are proud, courageous people who do not understand concept or process of compromise.” In that context, the U.S. would lose much “if in process of Jupiter removal [the] Turks should get the impression that their interests as an ally were being traded off in order to appease an enemy.” He recommended several alternative solutions to the problem; for example, if the missiles are phased out, the U.S. could provide Turkey with a backup, such as the proposed Multilateral Force (MLF) or Polaris missiles. If Italy gave up its Jupiters, he suggests, that could help with an approach to Turkey. 

January 14, 1963

American Embassy Rome Telegram 1367 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

When Reinhardt met with President Antonio Segni, a Christian Democrat, the latter accepted the reasons for replacing Jupiters with Polaris, but nevertheless emphasized the “grave psychological and political implications” because the Jupiters had been a “symbol of Italian determination” to take part in the defense of the West. Worried that there was “too much neutralism” in Italy, Segni was concerned about the electoral impact of the Jupiter decision and believe that the “operation should be carried out in such a fashion as to leave no inference of a lessening of Italian participation in nuclear defense.”

February 7, 1963

American Embassy Ankara Telegram 911 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

In this telegram, Hare asks Foreign Minister Erkin where things stand and informs him that the U.S. would be ready to “take speedy implementation action” on the Jupiters once Turkey had decided. Alluding to the military’s pivotal role in important government decisions, Erkin says that the military has the “final word,” and he would let Hare know once he has heard from them.

March 18, 1963

American Embassy Ankara Telegram 1097 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

Hare informs the Department that, in light of the Wood mission, the Turkish military would not request any changes in the text of the notes to be exchanged on the Jupiters/Polaris arrangement. It might be possible for the Turkish government to sign an “executive-type” agreement instead of taking the matter to parliament.  With the U.S. willing to talk with Turkish officials and provide “reassurance,” the Wood mission “played large role in obtaining Turkish cooperation” in the details of the “missile substitution.”