124.615/378: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

479. My 476, March 10, 7 p.m. I am this morning in receipt of a telegram from our Legation in Tehran advising me that the Iranian Government issued a statement yesterday declaring ruble transactions illegal and prohibiting the export thereof, and that in consequence our only source in Tehran refuses to deal.

The belief expressed in my telegram under reference that the present ruble situation has been deliberately brought about by the Soviet Government would appear to be clearly confirmed by the action above described.62

  1. In his telegram No. 299, February 18, 3 p.m., the Ambassador reported that Teheran had become the sole source of black market ruble purchases in reasonable supply since the summer of 1940. Thereafter a decline in the exchange rate began, which became serious during January 1941. The Ambassador in the Soviet Union was convinced that the decline was the result of intervention by the Soviet Government. In the summer of 1940, the average rate had been 30 rubles for $1.00. By the middle of December 1940, the rate had fallen to 28 rubles, then 23 rubles for $1.00, until 18 rubles for $1.00 was reached in the first of February 1941. On February 18, the rate was only 14.08 rubles for $1.00. (124.615/375)