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

No. 98

Sir: The Department refers to previous correspondence relative to the Senate reservation regarding the Persian Gulf in the Geneva Arms Convention of 1925, and encloses a copy of a note dated February 23, 1935, addressed to the Secretary of State by the Persian Minister on this subject.3

For reasons which were set forth in the Department’s instruction No. 45 of August 28, 1934,4 no reply has been made to the note in question. However, the Department considers it undesirable to ignore entirely the obviously false construction placed upon the Senate reservation by the Persian Minister as set forth in the second paragraph of his communication, wherein he states that “the amendment is a mere declaration of policy on the part of the United States Government [Page 454] to the effect that American warships would not undertake control of arms traffic in the Persian Gulf in a way that might infringe upon the sovereign rights that Persia may have in the Persian Gulf”.

The Department therefore desires you to seek a suitable opportunity of orally and informally pointing out to the Prime Minister that the Senate reservation in no sense constitutes a declaration of policy on the part of the United States Government as claimed by the Persian Minister. You should make clear to the Prime Minister that the Persian Minister’s interpretation goes far beyond any intention which the Senate may have had in mind when accepting the reservation, and that you are calling his attention to the matter in order to remove any erroneous conception which might possibly be entertained by the Persian Government in this connection.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
  1. Not printed. It was the Minister’s version of a conversation on February 21, with Mr. Green of the Division of Western European Affairs who noted in his memorandum of February 21 that the Minister had “reiterated at great length all of the arguments in favor of the reservation which he set forth to the Secretary and to other officers of the Department in conversation last year.” (500.A14/738.737)
  2. Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. i, p. 483.