891.00/1937: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Iran ( Dreyfus )

314. Your 362, November 7 and Department’s 306, November 5.

London telegram dated November 7, 6 p.m. states Foreign Office agrees to our suggested changes in draft announcement on wheat and “asks that Department inform American Minister at Tehran accordingly and give him the necessary instructions to enable immediate publication of announcement.” Complete text of draft is being sent you separately.61 Please present this to Iranian Government and British Minister and request their agreement to its immediate publication. We assume Foreign Office has sent corresponding instructions to British Minister.
London is trying to make arrangements for shipment of 20,000 tons wheat as replacement for equal quantity said to have been purchased by Russians. It is proposed to ship this as follows: 5,000 tons in November, 5,000 tons December and remainder as soon as possible thereafter. Foreign Office considers earlier shipment impracticable because of shipping situation and probable congestion at Persian [Page 186] Gulf ports. Additional 5,000 tons may be sent if United States considers it essential.
Foreign Office prefers to consider this shipment as replacement, rather than as emergency reserve, since otherwise Iranians “might be less willing to cooperate in meeting situation which has arisen.”
Department is not informed regarding conditions which Foreign Office may wish to attach to use of this “replacement” shipment, but we consider it desirable that they should not exceed those originally proposed for suggested 25,000 ton reserve, namely, approval by majority vote of Iranian Food Minister, American Minister and British Minister.
Department approves your attitude toward additional demands proposed by British Minister. We are opposed to repeated changes in the bases of negotiation in a period of crisis such as the present. We believe any action which would bring about fall of cabinet is to be avoided if possible, since we fail to see how repeated cabinet changes may be expected to bring about greater order or enhance public confidence in Government. We are even more strongly opposed to forced suppression of Majlis and constitutional procedures or military occupation of Tehran. In our view, such advantages as might be gained would be more than offset by adverse reaction of Iranian people and probable repercussions among other Moslem peoples. We feel the more strongly on this matter because of the added responsibilities being assumed by United States in Iran through operation of supply routes to Russia and furnishing of numerous American advisory missions, notably the financial group to be headed by Dr. Millspaugh, which will need the willing cooperation of a stable Iranian Government with popular support. Department is expressing above views to London and, if you see fit, you may convey their substance to British Minister as representing Department’s attitude.
In your discretion, you may formally urge upon Prime Minister advisability of seeking full powers from Majlis. You may also urge fulfillment of terms of Anglo-Iranian financial agreement and, if it seems advisable, approval of that agreement by Majlis. However, neither these nor any other measures need be considered as essential conditions precedent to issuance of wheat announcement. Department leaves to your discretion whether any assurances should be obtained from Iranians prior to publication of announcement. We gather that Foreign Office is prepared to go ahead at once on wheat and work out other questions later, and we agree with your opinion that our objectives should be sought by use of informal and friendly pressure rather than by ultimatum.
Foreign Office now appears to favor four-power board as long-term solution of currency problem. We are not convinced that this is best procedure and are again stating our view that strict fulfillment [Page 187] of Anglo-Iranian agreement should be sufficient. However, in making any recommendations in this connection, you may wish to take into consideration probability that American expenditures in Iran will soon increase greatly and fact that we are not covered by Anglo-Iranian agreement.
  1. Not printed.