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761.91/12-844 : Telegram

The Ambassador in Iran (Morris) to the Secretary of State

TEHRAN, December 8, 1944-2 p.m.

[Received 7 p. m.] 917. ReDepts memo of conversation with Michael Wright November 25 [24]. Since Saed's resignation on November 9, I have heard of no action by Soviet Embassy or Kavtaradze which could be clearly construed as undue interference with internal Iranian affairs. Minor incidents continue to occur but they do not appear serious although it is, of course, possible that a new flare-up may come at any time.

Therefore, it would not appear that recent actions by responsible Soviet authorities here have been such as to warrant at this moment new representations to Soviet Government regarding its policy in Iran. Sent to Department, repeated to Moscow and London.



Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State

[WARM SPRINGS, GEORGIA,] December 8, 1944. I think this Soviet-Iranian matter should be taken up by Harriman with Stalin in person. The Teheran agreement was pretty definite and my contribution was to suggest to Stalin and Churchill that three or four Trustees build a new port in Iran at the head of the Persian Gulf (free port), take over the whole railroad from there into Russia, and run the thing for the good of all. Stalin's comment was merely that it was an interesting idea and he offered no objection.


891.6363/12–944: Telegram

The Ambassador in Iran (Morris) to the Secretary of State

TEHRAN, December 9, 1944—7 p. m.

[Received December 18–11:03 a. m.] 918. Court Minister Ala told me today Soviet Ambassador Maximov and Kavtaradze had called on Prime Minister Bayat 2 or 3 days ago and Maximov had read statement to effect that Soviet Government considered passage of law forbidding oil negotiations as objectionable and obstructive and felt that it should be revised.

Bayat replied that even if he wished he could do nothing about it since it was a law enacted by the legislature.

Kavtaradze left by air for Moscow this morning.

To Department as No. 918; repeated Moscow as 112; repeated London.



Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and

African Affairs (Murray)


[WASHINGTON,] December 11, 1944. The attached memorandum to the President 96 on Soviet-Iranian relations represents the considered views of this Office, after consultation with Mr. Bohlen.

Our proposed memorandum tells the story and I will therefore not amplify it here. Needless to say, all of us and Mr. Bohlen are in complete agreement that it would be a great mistake to proceed along the lines suggested in the President's underlying memorandum of December 8, 1944.96a

To take such action now might well cause the whole house to fall in on our heads, and we do not see how we could properly act in the sense suggested by the President without full prior consultation and approval of the British who are parties with us to the Declaration on Iran, signed just a year ago.



Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

[WASHINGTON,] December 18, 1944. Your memorandum of December 8, 1944 suggested that Harriman take up with Stalin the question of difficulties between the Soviet Union and Iran. Fortunately, a telegram from Ambassador Morris in Tehran dated December 8,97 reports that since the Iranian Government resigned last month, Morris has heard of no action by the Russians which could clearly be construed as further undue interference in internal Iranian affairs.

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Addressed to the Secretary of State and the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn).

Apparently the memorandum, or a draft thereof, which went to President Roosevelt under the date of December 18, infra.

982 Ante, p. 483. 97 Telegram 917, p. 483.

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An approach by us to the Russians at this moment might aggravate the situation, causing the Russians to flare up with a harder policy against Iran than ever. I believe it would be a mistake for Harriman to approach Stalin at the moment, as long as there is a possibility that the tension in Iran is easing. We are following the developments minutely, and are keeping Harriman posted. If you concur, we will instruct him to stand by, to be ready to act when the proper moment comes.

I should like to talk with you about the free port-railway trusteeship plan at one of our early meetings.



Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and

African Affairs (Murray) to the Secretary of State


[WASHINGTON,] December 19, 1944. MR. SECRETARY: On December 8, 1944 the President said, in a memorandum to you, that he thought Harriman should talk with Stalin regarding an international trusteeship to operate the Iranian railways and a port on the Persian Gulf. In your memorandum of December 18, you informed the President that you would like to talk with him regarding the trusteeship plan.

In any conversation you may have with the President on the subject, you may wish to have in mind the following considerations: The high motives which prompted the President's suggestion are obvious. An honest international trusteeship for the railway and port could serve both Iran and Russia profitably, and might conceivably aid in preventing Soviet aggression against Iran.

However, those of us in the Department who have considered the idea are unanimous in our view that it would be impossible to make the trusteeship plan attractive to the Iranians at this time. No matter how it might be drawn up, it would look to Iran, and I am confident to the rest of the world, like power politics and old-world-imperialism. The Iranians made the most strenuous efforts, with much self-denial, to build the railroad themselves, at a cost of some $150,000,000, without foreign borrowings, and their ownership of it: is a matter of the most intense patriotic pride.

Our experts on Soviet Russia are most dubious that Russia would be interested, at least for the present, in an international trusteeship or would participate in it in the genuine manner intended by the. President.

The British, moreover, would doubtless raise strenuous objections. Britain's policy for a hundred years has been to prevent Russia or any

other great power from establishing itself on the Persian Gulf, and there is no indication that British policy has changed in this respect. There is, in fact, sound reason for the continuation of this policy. If we proceed on the assumption that the continuance of the British Empire in some reasonable strength is in the strategic interests of the United States (and I understand the strategists of the War Department proceed on this assumption), it is necessary to protect the vital communications of the Empire between Europe and the Far East. Britain has always tried desperately to keep Russians, whether of the Czarist or Soviet variety, away from the Persian Gulf, and will doubtless continue to do so.

The foregoing considerations might possibly be brushed aside if there were any reason for confidence that the Soviets would participate in an international trusteeship on the high principles the President has in mind. We would be deluding ourselves, however, if we built our plans on such hopes.


891.6363/12-2144 : Telegram

The Ambassador in Iran (Morris) to the Secretary of State

TEHRAN, December 21, 1944—noon.

[Received 10:10 p. m.] 942. Re Embassy's 918 December 9. Foreign Minister Entezam has told British Ambassador that Soviet Ambassador Maximov called on him 2 or 3 days ago to say that following Kavtaradze's return to Moscow and consultations with him there Soviet Government saw no reason to modify its view that law prohibiting oil negotiations was ill advised and should be modified. (Sent Department as 942 repeated Moscow as 129 and to London.)


891.6363/7–744: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Iran (Ford)

WASHINGTON, July 7, 1944-8 p. m. 411. Military Attaché 98 Tehran has informed the War Department that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company has reportedly applied to the

Col. Joseph K. Baker.

Iranian Government to buy the land at Abadan 99 on which the United States air field, camp and assembly plant have been built. Such a purchase, it is thought, would be a serious blow to the large American investment involved and to eventual postwar rights on the fields.

Please give the Department urgently any information you may obtain on this subject.


811.248/7–1344 : Telegram

The Chargé in Iran (Ford) to the Secretary of State

TEHRAN, July 13, 1944–3 p. m.

[Received July 13–11:45 a. m.] 498. Department's 411 July 7. Iranian Government Administration of Public Domains informally states land on which our Abadan installations are built is public domain and that Anglo-Iranian Oil Company has recently filed application to occupy it under provisions of its concession. I hope to have further details in next few days. There appears no danger that early action will be taken on application which would require approval of Cabinet.

PGC 1 has received instructions from War Department to block any attempt at purchase of land in question and has requested Legation to act accordingly through Iranian Government circles but I have so far confined myself to informal inquiries regarding facts.

If it develops that application might prejudice our interests I suggest that in interest of mutual American British understanding it would be better for Legation to approach British Embassy frankly and endeavor to reach adjustment rather than ask Iranian Government officially to refute [refuse] request.


811.248/7–1344 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Iran (Ford)

WASHINGTON, July 18, 1944–6 p. m. 434. Your 498, July 13, 3 p. m. For your information Department is advising British Government of its intent to seek commercial air

* Island 40 miles long by 2 to 12 miles wide in the Shatt-al-Arab delta in western Iran; the town of Abadan on the island is the terminus of the oil pipe line from Masjid-i-Sulaiman, one of the important oil fields of western Iran, and has large oil refineries.

* Persian Gulf Command, the service command of the United States Army charged with the mission of operating a supply route across Iran for the transit of lend-lease supplies to the Soviet Union, Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly commanding.

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