111.23/64: Telegram

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

91. My telegram No. 90, August 20, 2 p.m.22 This morning I was received by Entezam, Chief of the Third Political Division, who explained [Page 736]that the Foreign Minister had been unexpectedly detained by the Soviet Ambassador. Entezam, acting on behalf of the Minister, began by explaining that the Iranian Government is deeply moved by Murray’s proposed visit to Teheran bearing a message from the President and that the Shah has not definitely refused to receive him. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs however thought it appropriate [to] make the following two observations in this connection.

Considering the visit of the French Senator and ex-Cabinet Minister as a precedent (see despatch No. 1114, August 20, 193723) the Ministry would consider it more appropriate if the message were conveyed by a person of at least ministerial rank.
Since Murray was Chargé d’Affaires here at a period when relations between the United States and the Iranian Government were rather tense the designation of a different envoy might evoke fewer unpleasant memories.

Entezam made it clear that he was not suggesting the despatch of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Iran but merely a person of substantially equivalent rank. I replied that I had no knowledge of the nature of the proposed message and so was in no position to form an opinion about the rank appropriate to the bearer. It was also observed that the Ministry’s latest suggestion is practically the same as those which it previously advanced for the resumption of more nearly normal diplomatic relations. Naturally I acceded to the request that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ suggestion be transmitted to the Department.

The fact that Entezam once during the conversation said that the Shah “does not wish to refuse an audience to Mr. Murray” makes me believe that it might be advisable for any further request to appear to originate in the Legation.

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