Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Controls (Green)

The Iranian Minister called at my office this morning. He told me that he had two problems which he wished to discuss.

He said that the Iranian purchasing mission now in this country had been negotiating with three aircraft companies but had delayed placing orders because of the necessity of settling beforehand such questions as whether the aviation gas obtainable in Iran was of sufficiently high quality for use in American aircraft engines, whether machine guns already in the possession of the Iranian Government could be installed on the airplanes which the mission was considering purchasing, etc., etc. The mission was now prepared to place orders but had been distressed to learn that the prices of the planes which it wished to purchase had increased somewhat since the beginning of its negotiations and that the large number of foreign orders recently accepted by the manufacturers would make it impossible for them to deliver planes to the Iranian Government as soon as the mission had hoped. The mission was therefore confronted by unexpected difficulties. The Minister asked me whether I could give him any advice as to how the mission should proceed.

I told the Minister that the President had recently established an Interdepartmental Liaison Committee under the Chairmanship of Captain Harry E. Collins, Chief of the Procurement Division of the Treasury,36 charged with the duty of assisting foreign purchasing missions and coordinating their purchases with those of this Government. I told him that I thought it would be very much to the advantage of the mission to explain their difficulties fully to Captain Collins who would, I was sure, do everything possible to assist the mission. I said that I would be glad to arrange an appointment with Captain Collins if the Minister so desired.

The Minister said that he would discuss this matter with the mission and would call me by telephone within a few days to request a definite [Page 640]appointment with Captain Collins. He said that he would probably ask for an appointment for himself and for officers of the mission.

The second question which the Minister wished to discuss was in connection with the desire of the Iranian arms purchasing mission in Europe to buy in the United States contact mines for coast defense. He said that an officer of the purchasing mission had reported that he had endeavored to obtain the assistance of the American Minister in Bern but had been informed that the matter should be taken up direct in Washington. The Minister asked how he should proceed.

I told the Minister that this was also a matter in which Captain Collins could be of great assistance to his Government. I suggested that, when he called on Captain Collins, he should take this matter up with him in order that Captain Collins might give him information as to the companies with which his Government might wish to communicate.

Joseph C. Green
  1. The President authorized this committee in a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated December 6, 1939. See United States Government Manual, Fall 1940, p. 59b.