701.9111/510a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Iran (Merriam)

15. Department’s No. 12, March 26, 6 p.m. On March 28 the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires made an urgent request for an interview and on instructions from his Government handed me the following communication:

[Here follows substance of information given by the Iranian Under Secretary of State to the American Chargé as noted in telegram No. 26, supra.]

I expressed to the Chargé my astonishment and regret that the Shah should have responded in such fashion to the repeated evidences of [Page 357] good-will and sympathy of the American Government and people and asked him to convey at once a message to the Shah in the following sense:

“The Secretary of State speaking for his Government expressed great surprise and regret when I acquainted him with your message proposing to dissolve diplomatic relations. He said that his Government and the entire American people are now and have been wholeheartedly friendly towards His Majesty the Shah and the Iranian people; that only a few scattering irresponsible and uncontrollable newspapers have been more or less critical, but with no ill will. The Secretary of State earnestly requests, on behalf of his Government, that the Iranian Government delay the proposed action for one or two weeks until that Government can more fully and more to its satisfaction ascertain the exact truth regarding the warm friendship of this Government and the people of this country towards His Majesty and the people of Iran.”

This message was telegraphed to Teheran immediately by the Chargé and he received a curt reply on March 29 instructing him to carry out the Shah’s orders to close the Legation and return to Iran, together with all Iranian career consular officers in this country.

Please telegraph any information you may be able to obtain which would throw light on the attitude of the Shah which to us is not only surprising but incomprehensible.

I should also like to have you endeavor to ascertain discreetly and informally and report immediately whether a request, if made, that the Shah receive a special envoy to be sent to Iran to discuss the present situation would meet with a favorable response. It would be the purpose of the special envoy to convey to Reza Shah the exact truth regarding the friendship of this Government and the people of this country toward His Majesty personally and toward the people of Iran.