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

No. 275

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a circular letter (marked confidential) from Doctor A. C. Millspaugh to members of the American Financial Mission under date of January 31, 1927 (Bahman 10, 1305).19

Doctor Millspaugh informs me that this letter was destined as a means of giving his colleagues an insight into the situation as regards a possible renewal of his contract and of advising them as to the most appropriate attitude for them to adopt in the circumstances.

In the meantime, the question of the renewal of the contracts of Millspaugh, MacCormack and Hall, which will expire in the fall of this year, has now become the all important factor in the future of the Mission.

The crux of this question of course is to be found in the eventual decision of the Persian Government as to the retention of Millspaugh.

Of this, I feel it is possible to say, a very large majority of the public opinion in Persia is in favor. I would go further and surmise that the Shah also is in favor of this, although he may feel that he would prefer a more complaisant and personally sympathetic chief of the American Mission. I am also of the opinion that the actual enemies of the Mission feel that they are hardly strong enough to bring about the defeat of a proposal to renew Millspaugh’s contract.

Therefore, I judge that the point upon which the future of the Millspaugh Mission will turn is that of the powers to be vested in the Administrator General of Finances in a new contract.

This feature is one of vital importance to the future work of the Mission. It is that in regard to which the attitude of the Shah is [Page 548]uncertain as yet. It is that upon which the enemies of the Mission probably will focus all their energies.

It is that question of powers which doubtless forms the chief topic of innuendo and suggestion on the part of various foreign interests who seek to discredit and weaken the position of the American Advisers.

Doctor Millspaugh has emphatically stated to me that he would not remain should any material curtail[ment] of his authority be decided upon, but that he is prepared to continue his work should he be offered a contract of the same nature as that now held by him. In this eventuality, I understand he has several propositions to make in regard to minor changes in his contract as well as in the composition of the Mission.

I may mention that a certain urgency attaches to the question of the renewal of the contracts of Millspaugh, MacCormack and Hall owing to the fact that they are all entitled to leave of absence during the summer months. This leave extends to the dates of expiration of their contracts. Therefore it is most important to the individuals concerned that they be informed before their departure on leave from Persia whether or not their return will be desired.

Much interest has centered upon the advent of Prince Firouz (Nosrat-ed-Dowleh) into the Ministry of Finance. …

The new Minister already has displayed insistent determination to assert his authority in matters pertaining to the Mission and to seek out matters which may be open to criticism. In certain respects he has given the impression that he believes his predecessors have been entirely too subservient to the will of Doctor Millspaugh and that they have in this connection failed to exercise many of the powers to which they have been entitled. I have counseled Millspaugh to meet this attitude with entire equanimity and to cheerfully afford Prince Firouz every opportunity of familiarizing himself with the real aims and difficulties of his work. The result of such a course should be to render the more obvious and public any attempt on the part of the Minister to bring unjust criticism to bear upon the efforts of the Mission.

Millspaugh now seems inclined to believe that Prince Firouz will recognize both the advantage to his official career in supporting a work so palpably beneficial to the public weal, as well as the futility of openly attacking the Mission in the face of existing popular opinion in its favor. The Minister recently informed one of Millspaugh’s assistants that he intends soon to see the Shah and to recommend the retention of the Millspaugh Mission. No allusion was made however to the probable attitude he would assume with the Shah respecting the powers to be vested in the Administrator General under a new contract.

I have [etc.]

Hoffman Philip
  1. Not printed.