391.1164/83: Telegram

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

79. Legation’s telegram No. 78, August 13, 9 p.m. I have just seen the Foreign Minister who confirms the decision. When I remarked that I thought it particularly unfortunate that the present moment should have been chosen for such a measure and that I feared it could not but create a most painful impression in America he said that the decision had been taken by the “highest authorities” meaning the Shah and the Council of Ministers and as it applied also to other foreign schools he believed it was irrevocable. I then said that pending instructions from my Government I desired to make the fullest reservations not only regarding the value of the properties but also the rights and possible claims of the board in America and of all individual American citizens connected with the institutions. He made [Page 526] no reply but when I added that this might include considerable sums for travel expenses of personnel now en route to Iran and to the United States he said he would try and obtain a reasonable delay. This gave me an opportunity to say that I considered a fortnight’s notice to institutions which had for a hundred years unselfishly served Iran little short of outrageous and I doubted whether the American people would understand such brusqueness. Again he made no reply.

Although neither he nor I mentioned American hospitals and missions I feel, and this feeling is shared by the missionaries, that their days are numbered too.

Upon inquiry I find that the French school in Tehran has received similar notice. British Legation has not yet heard anything as the only British schools are in the south. I shall, of course, keep in touch with my interested colleagues.