391.1163 Lutheran Orient Mission/96: Telegram

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

25. My telegram of March 24, noon. Foreign Office states that the mission at Saujbulak is being expelled for continued association with disaffected elements in a frontier province. It is possible that the mission will be permitted to become established elsewhere. Mission was given 15 days, now about to expire, to dispose of property and has asked me to obtain 6 months. However, the Government desires them to depart at once and arrange disposal of the property later.

Two communications received from the mission have failed to give any facts or reasons which might explain action of the authorities.

I doubt if the foregoing results from any general policy to rid the country of missionaries since Soheily24 was unacquainted with the matter. Also the Foreign Office states that it was approached in the first instance about the mission by the Azerbaijan authorities, it advised to act in accordance with its duties and that the mission has been under surveillance for about 5 months.

Shall I make further representations or inform the mission that it should work out its difficulties as well as it can.

  1. A. Soheily, Iranian Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.