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

No. 231

Sir: I have the honor to report that the status of the American [Page 543]Financial Mission in Persia continues to be the all-engrossing subject of interest from the point of view of American affairs.

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Accordingly, in the course of a conversation with the Prime Minister today, the 30th instant, I mentioned the report of steps being taken to limit the powers vested in Doctor Millspaugh in the case a renewal of his contract should be decided upon by Persia. I said I felt sure that such a proposal would not be made by the friends of the Financial Mission or even by those who were convinced of the personal integrity of Doctor Millspaugh and the efficacy of his efforts in behalf of the Government and people of the country. I said that in my opinion the curtailing of the powers which were accorded to the Administrator General under his existing contract would render his work largely abortive and the position of the entire Mission an untenable one.

The Prime Minister replied that he had heard of the intention, both in and out of the Medjlis, to take under consideration and discussion certain articles of the Millspaugh contract when its renewal should be officially decided upon. He was not informed as to the specific articles objected to in some quarters. However, he assured me emphatically that personally he was opposed to any diminution of the powers now vested in the Administrator General and that he would do all he could to insure against such a decision.

Mostowfi-ol-Mamalek then spoke at length of his interest in the Mission and his desire to see its work, “which has only begun”, crowned with success. He reverted to the necessity for great tact, patience and carefulness on Millspaugh’s part in the application of his reforms to a country such as Persia. In this connection he said that, when Prime Minister several years since, he had impressed upon Millspaugh, at the outset, the absolute necessity for slow and persuasive measures rather than those of an abrupt and didactic nature if success were to be attained. He still considers the work but at its commencement, though he acknowledges that great and surprising advances have been accomplished, and he sincerely hopes that every means will be adopted by Millspaugh and his associates to conform their work rather to the understanding and the character of the people than to drastic rules and regulations suitable, perhaps, to a western nation with a very different past and very different problems from those of Persia, etc. The Prime Minister concluded by assuring me that his best efforts both with the Shah and his Cabinet would be given toward the assurance of the retention of the American Financial Mission and the success of its efforts.

I have [etc.]

Hoffman Philip