891.00/1934: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

1908. Department’s 1304, October 26, 5 p.m. Following from feed Winant.

“Further discussions with Middle East authorities in Cairo regarding crisis in Iran bring out following points:

In view extreme emergency due to November 2 expiration date for further note issued [issue?] it is felt that it may be necessary to rely on notification to the Iranian Government to be simultaneously presented by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Governments requesting a continuance of the expiring time limit.
Currency note issue still main stumbling block. London feels Iranian Government should observe terms of financial agreement entered into for duration of war and questions efficacy of proposed currency commission. Here there are suggestions of possible concessions on rate of exchange and convertibility of balances into gold. Unanimous British opinion that use of force is very much last resort.
Food declaration in form of agreement to which Iranian Government would be party is fully agreed upon by British authorities. They question however the physical facilities of providing any immediate reserve of 25,000 tons of wheat in Tehran and also question location of any such reserve when it might be accumulated. They prefer location at ports to better service southern area and for reason that reserve in Tehran might prove deterrent to uncovering hoarded wheat. Also due to existing strained capacity of railroad Tehran should normally be supplied from adjacent and northern area.
Fact that Russians seek to purchase from Iranian authorities some 20,000 tons wheat and barley is not understood here to mean that no further supply of cereals will be available for Tehran from Russian zone in Iran. Cooperation of Soviet Government is sought not only to assist Iranians in wheat for Tehran but also to preserve operation of railroad from South at maximum capacity for war supplies for Russian front.
To replace the 20,000 tons of cereals for which the Russians negotiated it is proposed to import into Iran a like amount of cereals as the shipping situation permits.
In spite of scarcity of wheat in Tehran it is still felt here that motor transport is one of chief difficulties. Until appearance of civilian trucks scheduled for Persian Gulf area it is planned to provide lorries to assist temporarily Iranian Government in handling wheat. It is hoped to release 150 lorries over 1 month’s period for this work. Run from this area to Tehran requires about 17 days.
In all discussions to date and in most telegrams seen point has been stressed of importance united and fully cooperative action on part of United States and British Governments through their Ministers in Tehran. The British here point out the necessary concern of the United States Government in the matter of an adequate supply of rials. They believe that the two Governments should present a firm common front regarding financial aspects as well as regarding material supplies covering cereal requirements. They further believe that if the present pressing problem may be met that it is unlikely that future situations will be as complicated particularly in view of the expected increased efficiency of the Iranian Government because of the additions of American advisers.”

Not repeated to Tehran.