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stated that he would appreciate the Department's assistance in enlisting Doctor Paul's cooperation.
I am of the opinion that such a commission would have a good effect on American-Iranian relations and that the idea should be encouraged if the Department feels such a course is wise under present conditions.
391.1164/173a : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Iran (Dreyfus)
WASHINGTON, October 29, 1941–8 p. m. 126. Anticipating the probable inability of the Iranian Government in its present impaired financial position to make further instalment payments to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in compensation for the school properties which that Government has taken over, the Department recently inquired of the Board whether it would consider a resumption of its educational work in Iran as a means of meeting the situation which would arise in the likely event of nonpayment.
In making this inquiry the Department was actuated primarily by the belief that a resumption of this work and the presence of American teachers in the Russian-occupied zone, in addition to the hospital workers now in Tabriz, would exert a restraining influence upon Russian attempts to Sovietize that area. Such attempts have been evidenced by Soviet activities which are inconsistent with Russian assurances to respect the political independence and territorial integrity of Iran. You will recall that those assurances were noted by this Government and referred to by the President in his message of reassurance to the Shah (Department's 80, September 2, 6 p. m.58). As a measure likely to contribute to the preservation of Iranian customs and institutions during the Russian occupation, it was considered that a suggestion contemplating a return of the properties to the Board might be welcomed by the Iranian Government and regarded as a manifestation of American friendship. However, in order to accomplish the ends in view, it may be necessary to consider a temporary arrangement whereby the Mission would operate under the ostensible control of the Iranian Government so that the Russians will not be provided with an excuse to open their own schools in the occupied area.
Responding favorably to the Department's suggestion, the Board decided to investigate the possibilities of re-establishing its schools
* Post, p. 447.
under its control and of repossessing its educational properties in Iran. With this in view the Board sent the following cable to its Iranian Mission:
"Inquire Government attitude toward reopening schools on Christian basis under Mission control. Suggest adjustment whereby pay, ments made be available for operating schools over defined period thus conserving Mission appropriations and ensuring smaller enrolments, more effective work. If conditions favorable and Mission approves authorize negotiations. If conditions or judgment unfavorable cable advice future payments (and security property).”
The project under consideration by the Board has been discussed by the Department with the Iranian Minister in Washington who has telegraphed his Government regarding it.
You should assist and cooperate closely with the Board's representatives and in this connection familiarize yourself thoroughly with the history of the taking over of the Board's properties and with the Department's instructions to the Legation in regard thereto. In assisting the Board's representatives by discussions with Iranian officials you should indicate clearly to the latter that the proposal of the Board meets with the approval of your Government, but you should be careful to point out that the Board's proposal is made in order to assist Iran during a difficult period rather than from any desire on the part of the Board or this Government to take advantage of the present situation in order to further American interests.
Although the Board has informed the Department that it assumes that a change in the operation of the schools would not be contemplated before the beginning of the next academic year, it is the opinion of the Department that time is of the essence of the undertaking and that the change should occur as soon as practicable. In order that no unnecessary time may be lost in the process of negotiations you should follow the matter closely and exercise your good offices in assisting to formulate a plan acceptable to both the Board and the Iranian Government which will accomplish effectively the purposes contemplated by the Board and the Department.
The matter referred to in your 190, October 15, 11 a. m., bears a close relation to the Board's proposal and that which the Department has in mind. Dr. Monroe is endeavoring to obtain personnel for a commission of the type suggested by the Minister of Education but he has indicated to the Department that it is unlikely that such a commission can depart for Iran before spring.
Please keep the Department fully informed of developments regarding matters referred to in this telegram.
391.1163/125 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. Gordon P. Merriam
of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs
[WASHINGTON,] November 10, 1941. Mr. Young asked to speak to Mr. Parker,57 who was out of the office, so I offered to take the message.
Mr. Young said that he and Dr. Dodds had just concluded an interview with Mr. Schayesteh, the Iranian Minister. The interview had been far from momentous. The Minister first informed them that following his conversation with Mr. Murray, he had cabled to Tehran stating that American help in educational matters might again be forthcoming and that perhaps Iran could again profit thereby. He had received a reply from Tehran to the effect that all American educators had now left Iran, and that if they now desired to return, the Iranian Government desired to know who would be going back and what their plan was.
Mr. Young said that this response of the Iranian Government tended to put the matter on an undesirable footing. He said that he and Dr. Dodds told Mr. Schayesteh that the Presbyterian Board had no idea whatever of pressing the matter, of taking any advantages of Iran's present position, or even of making any request to be permitted to return. Before going back they would want a clear indication that their return was desired and requested by the Iranian Government. In view of what had happened before, the Iranians would have to convince the Board that its educators would be welcomed.
The upshot of the interview was, according to Mr. Young, that Mr. Schayesteh said he would again telegraph to his Government stating that the Presbyterian Board would be receptive to a proposal that it resume educational work in Iran, that some of its educators were still on the ground in Iran, and suggesting that the Iranian Government enter into negotiations with the American Mission in Iran, which was empowered to enter into such negotiations.
The Minister in Iran (Dreyfus) to the Secretary of State
TEHRAN, November 25, 1941–8 a. m.
[Received 7:15 p. m.] 237. Referring to the Department's telegram No. 117 of October 17, 11 p. m.58 The Minister of Education informs me that the Council
" W. Leonard Parker, Division of Near Eastern Affairs. 88 Not printed.
of Ministers has now authorized him to extend an official invitation to American educators to come to Iran to make an educational survey.
TEHRAN, November 26, 1941–3 p. m.
[Received 3:33 p. m.] 241. Referring to the Department's telegram No. 126, October 29, 8 p. m. The Mission Board in Tehran has now made formal request to the Minister of Education for an indication of the attitude of the Iranian Government toward the possible reopening of the American schools under mission control on a Christian basis. The question will have to be considered by the new Cabinet which will shortly be formed since the present Cabinet will present its resignation tomorrow.
Three Cabinet Ministers have expressed to me their desire to effect a return of the properties and numerous newspaper editorials have agitated strongly for this procedure.
The Minister in Iran (Dreyfus) to the Secretary of State
TEHRAN, December 15, 1941-4p.m. [Received December 15—1:39 p. m.]
p.m. 257. Reference my No. 157.59 There are indications of growing opposition in reactionary circles to the Educational Mission. A deputy speaking in the Majlis on December 11 attacked the mission stating that it was coming to proselytize. If this opposition continues it is probable that the mission would produce negative or even harmful results. Therefore, and because in my opinion the mission would be unwise, under existing war conditions, I recommend that the Department suggest to Dr. Monroe the inadvisability of coming to Iran. I should appreciate telegraphic advice as to Dr. Monroe's decision.
391.1163/125a : Telegram The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom
WASHINGTON, December 20, 1941–7 p. m. 5972. With the full approval of the Department, the American Presbyterian Mission recently has taken up with the Iranian Government the question of a return to the Mission of school properties in Iran taken over by that Government a few years ago. It is considered that such a return of the properties would avoid difficulties likely to arise in the event of the probable financial inability of the Iranian Government to continue payments for the properties; that it would be a desirable influence in the northern-occupied zone through the presence there of American teachers; and that it would be instrumental in bolstering the educational system of Iran during this difficult period.
6o Despatch No. 157, November 25, not printed.
Dr. Issa Sadiq, former Iranian Minister of Education, has extended on behalf of the Iranian Government a formal invitation to Dr. Paul Monroe, President of the World Federation of Educational Associations at Garrison-on-Hudson, New York, to form a commission of American educators to conduct an educational survey in Iran. Dr. Monroe has virtually completed the formation of his mission and plans to depart for Iran about March 1, 1942.
The Department has cooperated fully with the American Presbyterian Mission and with Dr. Monroe in the belief that the undertakings which they contemplate will strengthen cultural ties between Iran and the United States and will prove of benefit to Iran and its people.
Please seek an early opportunity to express to the Foreign Office the sympathetic interest of this Government in the two proposed educational undertakings in Iran and state that it would be greatly appreciated if appropriate British officials in Iran might be specifically instructed to lend their support thereto.
Please inform the Department by telegraph of the nature of the British response to your request.
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Iran (Dreyfus)
WASHINGTON, December 20, 1941—8 p. m. 161. The Department has transmitted to the Embassy at London a telegram 6° setting forth background information concerning steps taken by the American Presbyterian Mission to resume its educational work in Iran and concerning the invitation extended by the Iranian Government to Dr. Monroe to conduct an educational survey. This telegram contained the following paragraph:
“Please seek an early opportunity to express to the Foreign Office the sympathetic interest of this Government in the two proposed educational undertakings in Iran and state that it would be greatly appreciated if appropriate British officials in Iran might be specifically instructed to lend their support thereto."