The British Embassy to the Department of State4


With reference to the conversation between the Secretary of State and His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador on February 11th last, the [Page 524] attached printed memorandum is communicated in order to make clear the views of His Majesty’s Government on the present situation in Persia and the question of the appointment of American advisers for that country.

It will be noticed that, in referring to the Anglo Persian Oil Company’s concessions, the Khostaria concession which is claimed by that Company is left out of account.5


The British Foreign Office to the Department of State


. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The British Government are mainly concerned in the maintenance of Persia’s independence and integrity, and are prepared to co-operate in any well-planned efforts to sustain and revive her national existence.
The development of Persian resources and the revival of Persian trade by any legitimate means are equally an object of interest to Great Britain.
His Majesty’s Government have paramount interests in Southern Persia and the Persian Gulf which impel them, to take a special interest in those regions.
His Majesty’s Treasury cannot lose sight of the indebtedness of Persia to Great Britain, and must look to the regular payment of interest and sinking fund on these debts out of Persia’s available resources, some of which are already pledged to her.
His Majesty’s Government, having tried unsuccessfully to assist Persia to improve her internal administration and to introduce sound financial methods, are prepared to extend a loyal assistance to the United States Government if the latter decide, after full consideration, to undertake the task. The question by whom Persia is to be regenerated is of vastly less importance than that her regeneration should take place. A better chance of effecting this end can hardly be imagined than that a great and friendly and disinterested Power like the United States should be willing to enter the field. Some things the United States Government will do best by itself. In [Page 525] others it may profit by the co-operation and support of those who have been so long on the ground. From this point of view His Majesty’s Government will give to any American officials who may be chosen by the United States Government their fullest diplomatic support at Tehran in the hope that by the united action of the British and United States Governments and by the frankest exchange of views between them a real improvement in Persia’s internal administration may result.
As regards foreign commercial enterprise in Persia, His Majesty’s Government adhere without qualification to the principle of the “open door.”
His Majesty’s Government have placed on record the above considerations, and now submit them to the United States Government in the assured conviction that Persia affords a field where the two great English-speaking nations may, by working together, bring about results that will enure both to the advantage of the Persian people and to the peace and prosperity of the Eastern world.
C[urzon] of K[edleston]

  1. Left with the Secretary of State by the British Ambassador, Apr. 20, 1922.
  2. The paragraph referred to is not included in the extract of the memorandum printed below; it reads as follows:

    “In Northern Persia, namely the provinces of Gilan, Mazanderan, Khorasan, Azerbaijan and Asterabad, to which the Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s concession does not extend, a combined Anglo-American group is at present negotiating on the basis of a joint exploitation of the oil deposits which are known to exist in certain regions within those provinces. His Majesty’s Government are watching these negotiations with sympathetic interest, and earnestly hope that a satisfactory understanding will be reached by the two groups interested in the enterprise.”