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Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of
[WASHINGTON,] March 19, 1941. The Iranian Minister called at my office this morning by appointment. He referred to our conversation on January 4 in regard to the desire of his Government to ship arms, ammunition, and implements of war from New York to Iran on vessels stopping at belligerent ports en route. He asked whether the passage of the Lease-Lend Act 15 had altered the situation of which I had informed him in that conversation.
I replied in the negative, inviting his attention to Section 2 (a) of the Neutrality Act.
The Minister urged that in its administration the law be relaxed in the interests of Iran.
I endeavored to explain that this difficulty arose not by reason of the administration of the law but by reason of the terms of the law itself which could not be altered except by act of Congress.
JOSEPH C. GREEN
811.20(D) Regulations/2447a : Telegram
WASHINGTON, May 10, 1941–7 p. m. 30. As of assistance in consideration of export license applications for commodities and materials desired by Iranian Government agencies ostensibly for reconstruction activities and for communications and transport the Department desires your opinion whether there is danger of re-exportation of such supplies to Germany via Russia or to Russia. Please telegraph reply promptly.
The Chargé in Iran (Moose) to the Secretary of State
TEHRAN, May 16, 1941—3 p. m.
[Received May 18—11 a. m.] 45. The Iranian Government's urgent need for structural steel, rolling stock and rails makes it probable that purchases of such materials are intended for use and not for re-export. The Legation would be in a better position to express an opinion on other materials if the items under consideration were specified.
15 Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.
891.248/120 Memorandum by Mr. W. L. Parker of the Division of Near Eastern
[WASHINGTON,] May 20, 1941. Mr. Hiss 16 (A-A) telephoned this morning to say that the Department of Commerce, with the approval of the Department of Justice, has modified the navigation and clearance regulations to permit American vessels stopping for fuel at a belligerent port en route to carry war supplies to Persian Gulf ports.
The Iranian Minister was informed of the substance of the foregoing by telephone this morning.
811.20(D) Regulations/2781: Telegram
TEHRAN, June 16, 1941–2 p. m.
[Received June 16–1:35 p. m.] 59. The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs requests that the Department assist in obtaining export permit for aluminum valued at about 7,000 pounds sterling and 110 tons of copper tubing which he states are intended solely for the Iranian Army and not for sale nor re-export.
The Iranian Minister in Washington is being instructed to pursue the request and to supply details.
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Iran (Dreyfus)
WASHINGTON, June 20, 1941–5 p. m. 43. Your no. 59, June 16, 2 p. m. Supplies of aluminum and copper in this country are scarcely adequate to meet the essential defense requirements of the United States and of those countries which we are assisting in resisting aggression. Therefore, their exportation and domestic use have been severely curtailed. Under these circumstances, it is extremely unlikely that aluminum or copper could be found available for exportation to Tehran.
Department's no. 30, May 10, 7 p. m. Please endeavor to verify Acting Foreign Minister's statement that desired aluminum and copper tubing are not for sale nor re-export and to ascertain purposes for which the Iranian Army desires these materials.
Donald Hiss, apparently on duty in the office of Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson (A-A).
811.20(D) Regulations/2942: Telegram
TEHRAN, June 23, 1941–11 a. m.
[Received 11:55 p. m.] 61. Referring to the Legation's telegram No. 59, June 16, 2 p. m., the Shah is pressing the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs to secure permission to export from the United States eight more orders of equipment for the Iranian Army, including tires, wire cables, chemicals, spare parts for airplanes, et cetera, and the Acting Foreign Minister insists that the Legation request the assistance of the Department in these matters as well as in the fulfillment of an alleged contract by the United States Steel Export Company to supply tin plate. Suggestions that the Iranian Government act through its Washington Legation produce no visible impression.
It would be appreciated if the Department would indicate whether or not it can help the Acting Minister. Duplication of effort might be avoided if the Legation were authorized to inform the Foreign Minister that such requests may not properly be transmitted by this Legation.
891.248/125 Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State
[WASHINGTON,] July 8, 1941. The British Ambassador 17 called to see me this morning at his request.
The Ambassador requested, by instruction of his Government, that the Government of the United States refuse to grant further export licenses for the shipment from the United States of aircraft to Iran. The British Government, he said, had received information which led it to believe that airplanes sent to Iran might be utilized, in view of changing developments in the Near East, against the British forces there, and the British Government therefore was hopeful that we would prohibit any further export of aviation matériel to Iran for the time being. I said that I would have immediate attention given to this request.
S[UMNER] W[ELLES] 891.248/125 Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs
17 Viscount Halifax.
(Murray) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
[WASHINGTON,] July 14, 1941. Mr. WELLES: Co 18 has interpreted your attached memorandum of a conversation with the British Ambassador on July 8 19 regarding the granting of further export licenses for the shipment from the United States of aircraft to Iran as an instruction to terminate forthwith all such further shipments, and oral instructions have already been given to revoke certain licenses issued to the Curtiss-Wright Corporation authorizing the export of aircraft parts to Iran.
Would you please let me know whether you intended that such drastic action, including a ban on the exportation of aircraft parts, should be taken without further investigation of the situation existing at present in Iran.20
811.20(D)Regulations/3305 : Telegram
TEHRAN, July 14, 1941–10 a. m.
[Received 7 p. m.] 72. Referring to the Legation's telegram No. 61 of June 23, 11 a. m. The Prime Minister 202 also has now urgently requested me to ask the Department's assistance in obtaining the export license for tin plate and accessories ordered from the United States Steel Export Corporation largely for the Shah's factories.
891.248/125 Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
[WASHINGTON,] July 16, 1941. Mr. WELLES: In accordance with your suggestion I took up with Mr. Butler 21 yesterday the matter referred to in the attached memorandum.22
Division of Controls.
Marginal note: "You may wish to explore this with the British EmbassySW”.
20a Ali Mansur.
Mr. Butler explained that as far as he knew when the Ambassador spoke to you recently about the desire of the British Government that further aircraft exports to Iran be held up, the latter had in mind the general unsatisfactory Iranian attitude toward Great Britain rather than any particular new development.
Mr. Butler went on to describe the well known traditional antiBritish attitude of the Iranians and expressed the opinion that in view of the present German drive into Russia and the possibility that German armies might reach the Caucasus in the near future, it was only natural that the British authorities should wish to meet as far as possible the inevitable pressure which Germany may bring to bear on Iran once she had reached the Iranian frontier in the Caucasus.
I told Mr. Butler that in my opinion these precautionary steps of the British seemed entirely reasonable and that I very much doubted that any further requests of the Iranian Government for the purchase of aircraft in this country would get any favorable consideration. I felt, however, that the matter of the small order of aircraft parts for Iran could be placed in a separate category. The Iranians had ordered these spare parts a long time ago, had paid for them and the parts were now ready for shipment. If the parts were shipped at once it would of course take several months for them to reach Iran. If, meanwhile, there were further developments growing out of the Russo-German hostilities indicating that it would be unwise to entrust even this small shipment of spare parts to the Iranians the shipment could easily be held up by the British between here and the Iranian port in the Persian Gulf where they will expect to land. Mr. Butler agreed that this was true.
Continuing our discussion I reminded Mr. Butler of growing resentment of the Iranians against us because of the almost continuous rejection of all their requests for purchases, however small, in this country. The Iranian Minister was of course under heavy pressure from the Shah and had during the recent months been telephoning us on an average of twice a day regarding these rejected orders. While it would be a simple matter to turn him down on future aircraft orders, it might be difficult and cause bitter resentment if we turned him down on this small order of aircraft parts which, in any case, would not add greatly to the efficiency of Iranian aviation. In conclusion I remark[ed] that it might be decidedly in the British interest for our own relations with Iran in times like these to remain as friendly as possible since it appeared not unlikely that Anglo-Iranian relations would be subjected to serious strain and possible disintegration in the not too distant future. Mr. Butler said he fully agreed.