124.91/64: Telegram

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

34. I have now met most of the more important Persian Government officials several of whom including the Prime Minister and the Minister [Page 725] of Foreign Affairs held office when I was here in 1920 and 22. Although I had known the Shah as Minister of War and he had dined at my house and had lent me polo ponies I have purposely made no allusion to that fact and have expressed no desire to renew our acquaintance. So long as His Majesty remains sensitive regarding his less exalted past I for one have no intention of reminding [him] of it.

However, in my conversation with Government officials especially those who have the Shah’s ear such as the Premier whose son recently married a daughter of the Shah—I have taken the line that the relations between the United States and Persia are intrinsically perfectly normal and friendly. I made light of any difficulties and misunderstandings to which they themselves referred and told them that if any existed it was their business and mine to iron them out. I assured them that I was personally animated by the most cordial feelings towards Persian Government and people and that I knew these sentiments were fully shared by the American Government and people or I would not have been sent here. They could therefore count upon me to the utmost to assist in interpreting the one to the other.

So far all officials have been scrupulously correct in their manner towards me but I doubt whether there will be any marked [apparent omission] of coolness until perhaps some of the things I have let drop have had a chance to penetrate to the Shah. They are all waiting to take their cue from him.

In the meantime I am quietly and largely informally, as if dealing with matters of routine rather than controversial subjects, keeping before the Foreign Office the stupid and irritating question of the non-delivery of second class mail9 as well as the desirability in the interest of harmonious intercourse of negotiating extradition10 and trade agreements. I shall of course report from time to time any appreciable progress made in those directions and should welcome any specific instructions you may wish to issue for my guidance.

  1. See pp. 728 ff.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. iii, pp. 391 ff. No further progress regarding negotiation of an extradition treaty was made in 1937.