File No. 763.72111/6909

The Minister in Persia ( Caldwell) to the Secretary of State


Your March 21, 1 [5] p.m. Allied forces Urumiah district under British and French officers consist of armed and collected Armenians [Page 905] and Syrians numbering 5,000 to 7,000. British forces Kermanshah and Hamadan were sent from Bagdad, number under 2,000 but more coming. British Minister says that none will pass on into the Caucasus and that object of troops is to prevent hostile jungle tribes and German agents, sympathizers and such from tampering with or stirring up populace, incidentally protection of India. Protection of Armenians and Syrians is being considered but our Tabriz Consul reports that they are in great danger. Nevertheless both Armenians and Syrians are not free from blame, according to my best accounts, and feeling of hostility towards them prevails. Russian subjects informed me confidentially that the unfortunate recent affair at Urumiah (see my telegram of March 1, 11 a.m.1), according to their best judgment based on full details, was very evidently fault of Syrians; this is confirmed from other sources.

British note was kept from the public a few days but it has produced some bad feeling since its publication; public indignation meetings were held, Persian Government replying at length. Will telegraph substance soon. Personally I do not believe that there is slightest danger of Persia breaking off relations with Great Britain, much less entering into war which would be almost impossible at present, but the British Minister does not altogether share this view but feels that arrival of British forces may prevent such break or declaration of war.

I do not know of anything in particular United States could do to aid situation except to continue helpful assurances, guaranteeing, if practicable, representation at the peace conference, expression of intention to assist Persia in any proper manner, etc. British Minister believes that it is important to force Cabinet change, but I do not altogether agree as to this view.

Bolshevik soldiers remain at Resht, not particularly hostile to Armenians.

  1. Not printed.