The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Geddes)


On April 20th last His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador called upon the Secretary of State and, referring to an earlier conversation, left in his hands an Aide Mémoire with an accompanying memorandum, which set forth the views of His Majesty’s Government with respect to the existing situation in Persia and the prospective employment of American advisers in the financial administration of that country.

This Government is gratified at the assurances conveyed by this communication in which it is indicated that the question by whom Persia is to be regenerated is of vastly less importance than that her regeneration should take place, that as regards foreign commercial enterprise in Persia the principle of the open door is approved without qualification, and that any American officials chosen by this Government for service in Persia would receive the Diplomatic support of His Britannic Majesty’s Government at Teheran.

Fully appreciating this cordial expression of the views of His Britannic Majesty’s Government, the Secretary of State believes it is opportune briefly to indicate the attitude of this Government towards the employment of its nationals in the financial administration of Persia, in order to avoid the possible misapprehension that responsibility for Persian financial reform has been undertaken.

Pursuant to a request of the Persian Government, received through the Persian Minister in this city, Dr. Arthur C. Millspaugh, Economic Adviser of the Department of State, has been suggested as a person competent to act as Financial Adviser to the Persian Government. It is understood that this name was submitted by the Persian Ministry to the Persian Mejliss and was subsequently approved. Dr. Millspaugh, with a number of American assistants, will shortly leave for Persia in order to assume his new duties.

In the communication to the Persian Minister suggesting the name of Dr. Millspaugh it was stated that his official connection with the Department of State would cease immediately upon his entering the service of the Persian Government, and that this Government assumed no responsibility for any action of the Financial Adviser as an official in the employ of the Persian Administration.

It will be noted, therefore, that it is not proposed that American officials should proceed to Persia and that this Government has limited [Page 530]its action and its responsibility to extending assistance to Persia in the choice of a qualified American citizen for the difficult task of Persian financial reform.