701.9111/645: Telegram

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

16. Legation’s No. 27, March 21, 9 a.m. While the Department was pleased to note the Shah’s cordial response to the President’s telegram, your ensuing conversation with the Acting Foreign Minister raises the question whether the Iranians may not have misinterpreted our motives in the matter. In this connection see the Department’s telegram of June 18, 1937, 5 p.m.,11 and Murray’s amplifying letter of August 30, 1937,12 regarding the improvement of our relations with Iran. The views therein expressed are regarded as essentially applicable to the present situation.

Under the circumstances the Department desires that, while continuing to maintain a cordial and correct attitude toward the Iranians, you carefully avoid giving the impression that this Government is soliciting the reopening of the Iranian Legation here. Although the Department is always ready to meet the Iranians half way in any reasonable steps which they may make toward the resumption of normal relations it is strongly of the opinion that the initiative in this matter, as well as that of the trade agreement, should rest with them. This policy would seem to recommend itself all the more in view of the fact that American interests do not appear to be disadvantageous affected under the existing situation.