891.00/1939: Telegram

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

6327. For the Secretary and the Under Secretary. Immediately on receiving the Department’s 5604, November 7, 7 p.m., the last paragraph was called to the attention of the Foreign Office. I felt, however, because of the confidential insert in paragraph 262 that I should take this subject up at length with Mr. Eden himself. I did so this morning. I read to him the entire message excepting the confidential [Page 189] section. He confirmed the statement of a German plot and told me he was in agreement with the message. I then went on to say that there has again arisen some question as to British policy in Tehran. We went into this in great detail and, I am certain, with complete frankness on his part. I saw both the secret minutes of the Cabinet meeting on this situation and the file of his exchanged messages with his Minister in Tehran. Eden does not want to occupy that country and in this he has the support of the War Cabinet. The plot was not manufactured for political reasons but was a seriously organized conspiracy by the enemy. It was discovered by General Wilson, a general I know, who has a great deal of common sense and is not at all interested in politics. In a recent message to his Minister, Eden explained that no occupational program could be undertaken without first consulting both the United States and Russia.

It is true, in my opinion, that the British would take action if military necessity required it but after notifying us. The strategic value of this area has, I believe, taken on added importance since the British victory in Egypt and our African operations. I am certain that Eden is set against any intrigue to take over this country for selfish British interests.

  1. Last paragraph in telegram No. 361, November 6, 5 p.m., from the Minister in Iran, p. 179.