391.1164/86a: Telegram

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

36. Department’s 35, August 15, 6 p.m. Unless you perceive some serious objection, you should incorporate the following text in a signed note to be delivered without delay to the Foreign Minister:

“The Government of the United States has been informed that the Iranian Government desires all properties belonging to American educational institutions in Iran to be turned over to it before the opening of the fall term, and that representatives of the Ministry of Education would appear at the American College in Tehran on August 24 to give effect to this decision. Since the first indication of the proposed action was received on August 13, less than 2 weeks’ notice has been given to the college authorities of the Iranian Government’s intentions.

“My Government has instructed me to state that it views with serious concern the extreme abruptness with which the Iranian Government is seeking to carry out this decision. The Iranian Government must, of course, realize that the time allowed for the transfer of these American properties is wholly inadequate. A careful estimate of the situation confirms the belief of my Government that a delay of at least one year is essential in order to permit of an orderly process of adjustment to the contemplated change. Entirely aside from the compensation which, my Government has noted, the Iranian Government is prepared to make for the properties, numerous complicated details must necessarily be settled with respect to the rights and future plans [Page 528] of the American citizens connected with the several institutions. Serious personal inconvenience and loss incurred by so drastic a change in the administrative program for the approaching scholastic year may certainly be anticipated.

“My Government is moreover of the opinion that the abrupt termination of the valuable services which these American educational institutions have for more than one hundred years rendered to Iran would be interpreted as a lack of the traditional Iranian courtesy and hospitality and would receive widespread publicity in the United States of a most unfavorable character. The scant consideration shown by the Iranian Government in this respect would not only be deeply resented in this country but would be regarded, without doubt, as unreasonable and unwarranted by the American press—over which, as the Iranian Government is aware, the American Government exercises no control.

“On the other hand, if an adequate period is permitted for working out the details of the transfer, my Government is confident that an amicable adjustment can be made. My Government believes, in this connection, that it would be to the advantage of the Government of Iran to allow the American interests concerned an opportunity to present certain general proposals on the subject which they already have in mind.

“My Government therefore urges that prompt steps be taken with a view to postponing the effective date of the transfer of these properties in order that the numerous complex questions involved may be settled in full cooperation with representatives of the American Mission Board.”