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The Truman Doctrine: Turkey

Joseph C. Satterthwaite
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 401, America and the Middle East (May, 1972), pp. 74-84
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1039114
Page Count: 11
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The Truman Doctrine: Turkey
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Abstract

On February 21, 1947, the U. S. government was informed by the British government that by April 1 it would have to discontinue, because of its own difficulties, its military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. It hoped the United States could take over this burden in both countries. President Truman and the State, War, and Navy departments at once realized that unless the United States did so, Greece would be taken over by its communist partisans strongly supported by the Soviet government working through the communist Bulgarian and Yugoslav governments; that if this happened Turkey would find itself in an untenable position in spite of its large but antiquated army; and that the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East in that event would inevitably fall under communist domination. In a dramatic message to Congress on March 12, 1947, President Truman said that the U. S. must take immediate and resolute action to support Greece and Turkey. The Congress, after extensive hearings, approved this historic change in U. S. foreign policy in a bill signed May 22, known as Public Law 75. Out of the President's message came the Truman Doctrine. The principle of assistance to countries of the free world under the threat of communist aggression having been accepted by the Congress, the Marshall Plan followed not long after. The military and economic aid given Turkey in the ensuing years was highly effective: the U. S. probably received more per dollar advanced than in any other country, at least for the period of this study -which ends with the signing of the CENTO (Baghdad) Pact in 1955.

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