891.24/266: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

5300. Your 5908, October 22. Department is studying draft announcement prepared by British Legation Tehran and alternative draft drawn up by Iranian Government. It is understood both drafts have been submitted to Foreign Office.

Principal divergences appear to be (a) that Iranians place responsibility for road transport organization on Food Adviser Sheridan, whereas British leave this authority in Anglo-American-Iranian [Page 171] Transport Committee; and (b) Iranians request undertaking by British and American Governments to transport 25,000 tons wheat to Tehran immediately in order to constitute a reserve which would improve public confidence in Iranian Government’s ability to maintain food supply. British Minister Tehran objects to this request.

Department approves proposed announcement in principle and favors Iranian request for early supply of 25,000 tons wheat. However, pending clarification of certain points on which we are consulting Tehran, we are not prepared to make a decision as to the exact terms or wording. In this connection we should be glad to have any text agreed upon by Foreign Office and we shall submit our own as soon as sufficient information is received.

From reports which we have received, we believe food situation in Iran is becoming steadily more serious and that it may become disastrous if preparations are not made now to meet later contingencies. Minister Dreyfus reports that Soviets are seeking to buy substantial quantities of Iranian wheat, barley and rice. Such purchases will, of course, aggravate shortage in Iran and will also place a greater and more direct responsibility upon the United Nations for maintaining Iranian food supply.

Cairo now informs us British authorities there contemplate establishment of British-Russian-American-Iranian food board to deal with all phases of grain supply and distribution. We should be glad to have Foreign Office reaction to this proposal.