391.1164/89: Telegram

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

86. My 85, August 20, 1 p.m. The Foreign Minister began by saying that he was about to send for me when I called because the Iranian Government did not wish to give the impression that it did not appreciate the services rendered by Americans in the days when Iran was unable to help herself. On the contrary they were most grateful and if they now wished to take over the American institutions it was not in a spirit of hostility but merely as an administrative measure for the unification of their national educational system. He added that even before knowing the contents of my note he would request me to convey these friendly sentiments to the Secretary of State and to say that he had kept his promise and had obtained a month’s delay. As he obviously realized his mistake of not saying something conciliatory at our previous interview when he only seemed to reflect the stubborn truculence of his Imperial master I thanked him and readily agreed to convey his message to the Secretary.

I then read the note to him and begged him to give it his most careful consideration. I pointed out that one scholastic year was an extremely fair and reasonable period in which to adjust the manifold problems which would present themselves and that the Government could count on the wholehearted cooperation of the American staffs in avoiding the friction, confusion and unnecessary expense, which were otherwise inevitable. I suggested that inasmuch as the Government’s notice of its decision to take over the schools had now been given it really mattered [did not matter?] when physical possession took place so long as both parties worked harmoniously toward the same ultimate end.

The Minister replied at once that the thought appealed to him personally very much and that he would see what he could do to give it [Page 530] practical expression. I therefore feel reasonably hopeful that a satisfactory compromise may now be possible.