111.23/64: Telegram

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

43. Your 91, August 21, 3 p.m. It appears from your conversation of August 21 with the Chief of the Third Political Division that the Iranian Government, while pleased at the prospect of Mr. Murray’s forthcoming visit, is in some doubt as to Mr. Murray’s rank and is therefore disposed to suggest that it would be more appropriate if the President’s message to the Shah were conveyed by a person of rank “substantially equivalent” to that of Minister.

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You should inform the Foreign Minister in the above connection that no officials of the Department of State while on duty in the Department bear the title of Ambassador or Minister, but that, according to the rules of precedence as established by the Department of State, the chief of a political division has rank identical with that of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary.

During your further conversation with the Foreign Minister you should carefully avoid giving the impression that the Department is specifically requesting an audience with the Shah for Mr. Murray. You should at the same time explain in the most courteous language that the thought that His Majesty might desire to receive Mr. Murray during his sojourn in Teheran has been put forward by your Government as a courteous gesture of good-will toward Iran, having in mind particularly that Mr. Murray is the bearer of a personal message addressed by the President to His Majesty and that moreover Mr. Murray was, while American Chargé d’Affaires in Iran, the recipient of many marks of friendship and kindness from His Majesty. Your Government has, of course, never doubted that Mr. Murray would be accorded every courtesy suitable to the occasion.

In the event you have not already done so, you should refer in conclusion to the cordial letters exchanged last year between President Roosevelt and President Atatürk that were published in the Turkish press, together with extensive editorial comment.

For your strictly confidential information the Department considers that Mr. Murray should make the trip to Iran regardless of the outcome of the present discussions concerning the audience but for obvious reasons you should disavow any knowledge of his intentions in case an early and favorable decision on the audience is not forthcoming, and you should in particular not encourage any speculation as to what would, in that eventuality, become of the President’s letter.

Please report promptly by telegraph all further developments.