During his meeting with Turkish defense minister Sancar, McNamara raised the risks posed by, and to, the Jupiter missiles and the need to withdraw those “obsolete” missiles and replace them with Polaris SLBMs. Turkish officials would play a role in targeting the missiles at NATO military headquarters. Worried about the implications of withdrawing the Jupiters, Sancar expressed concern about the impact that removal of the missiles would have on Turkish “confidence” in the U.S., the need to avoid “moral depression” (meaning morale) among “the people or the army” and stressed that the U.S. (“the best of allies”) was leaving Turkey “to a condition of ‘aloneness.’” McNamara did not believe that substituting Polaris for Jupiters would have that impact. Both agreed on the importance of proceeding in secrecy.
When Sancar observed that the late delivery of F-104G’s would adversely affect morale, McNamara said that an earlier date would be possible and suggested the possibility of announcing earlier delivery with the removal of the Jupiters. McNamara added that “time was of the essence.”
The State Department later sent a telegram to the ambassadors in Italy and Turkey reporting on McNamara’s meetings with Andreotti and Sancar.