The Chargé in Iran (Engert) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 28—5:45 p.m.]
87. Yesterday morning I was again sent for by the Prime Minister38a who seemed more agitated and worried than I had ever seen him and said that he had something important to tell me: the Iranian Government had decided to dismiss all British air craftsmen and technical advisers now employed in the Iranian airplane factory and to engage Americans in their stead. He therefore requested me to assist him. Does the Department believe that some 12 such skilled workmen and supervisors could be found?
Although he gave as a reason that the Government was buying planes in America and therefore wanted to adopt American systems and methods his embarrassment was so obvious that I fear this is but another instance of Soviet pressure. (See also Legation’s telegrams 60, April 2,39 second paragraph of 71, April 1440 and paragraph 4 of 77, April 17.41)
Iran is of course prepared to go to the utmost limit in reorganizing her relations with the Soviets for the length of their common frontier gives Moscow power to bully Iran into “cooperation”. Hence her [submission?] to Russia in relatively minor matters but there is growing [Page 642]preoccupation with the extent of Moscow’s appetite. Since the developments in Scandinavia42 the Soviet Ambassador in Tehran is said to have expressed solitude [solicitude?] for Iran’s neutrality in order to prevent her from becoming “a basis for aggression against Russia.”