File No. 763.72119/2618

The Persian Minister ( Mehdi Khan) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: The war aims and noble sentiments of the United States Government, so eloquently set forth by His Excellency, President Wilson, in his message to Congress on December 3 [4],1 wherein a permanent peace is defined as one based upon international justice and guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of every nation, have encouraged and actuated the Imperial Persian Government to appeal to the Government of the United States to assist Persia to share in the benefits of these great blessings.

The Persian Government has therefore advised this Legation by cable to officially seek the assistance of the United States Government in securing for Persia representation in the peace conference which will convene at the termination of this great war. It is the ardent desire of Persia to place her sovereignty and independence upon a firm foundation without in any way infringing upon the rights of others.

It is a regrettable fact that in spite of her efforts from the beginning of the war to protect her neutrality, both of the belligerent groups have time and again violated Persian neutrality, and her territory has not been free from the forces of both sides. These forces have repeatedly inflicted severe losses upon the subjects of Persia in the north and in the south, as is well known by Your Excellency and by the United States Government.

Besides the heavy losses resulting from actual battles between hostile troops, who have burned and destroyed towns and villages, the Russian troops of both the former and recent régimes have perpetrated great intentional wrongs upon the people of Persia, and [Page 896] have levied large sums upon various communities, not to mention large supplies of food which they have requisitioned and extorted from the people. A detailed list of these losses will be submitted for the information of the United States Government.

Persia feels that these losses and wrongs necessitate and justify her to have representation at the peace conference, in order that the obstacles interposed through foreign interference with her internal affairs, which have threatened her independence and retarded her progress and development, may be wholly removed. These include certain treaties and conditions which foreign powers have forcibly imposed upon Persia. Another obstacle which has resulted in internal disorder and a violation of Persia’s sovereignty is the illegal activities of the military forces of the neighboring powers on Persian territory. The Legation therefore feels impelled to request the United States Government to use its good offices to the end that the forces of foreign powers who have wrought such illegal acts should evacuate the territories of Persia. The Legation, likewise, in view of recent developments in the Near East, requests the United States Government to make a declaration which will guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Persia. The granting of such help to Persia at this time will not only confirm and establish the principles of humanity and justice, which the. United States so nobly advocates for all nations, but it will secure the foundation of that lasting peace which constitutes the chief aim for which America entered the war.

Furthermore, it is my personal belief that, in view of the recent important events in Russia and the Near East, a favorable answer by the United States Government to the request from Persia will produce an immediate good effect in Persia and yield useful results for all concerned.

The Legation begs to submit herewith a memorandum containing the several requests made by Persia of the United States Government.

Please accept [etc.]

Mehdi Khan

The Persian Legation to the Department of State


… The just aims for the attaining of which Persia seeks the help and good offices of the United States are expressed in the seven following paragraphs:

Persian participation in the peace conference.
To guarantee Persia’s independence and sovereignty.
The evacuation of Persian territory by foreign troops.
To indemnify Persia for the losses inflicted upon her.
To eliminate foreign influence from the north and the south.
To respect the neutrality of Persia.
To revise the treaty of Turkomanchai (1828) and to abolish all other arrangements and agreements which have been forcibly imposed upon Persia, especially the forcible impositions of recent times.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1917, pp. ix–xvi.