Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Murray)19

It seems to me that the present political crisis in Iran which has resulted in the fall of the Soheily Cabinet is of such vital concern to us that we cannot ignore it.

The obvious fact is that we shall soon be in the position of actually “running” Iran through an impressive body of American advisers eagerly sought by the Iranian Government and urgently recommended by the British Government.

We have had in Iran, as you will recall, General Greely, acting as Quartermaster General of the Iranian Army, and the British are pressing us to send a military mission to take entire control of the training and functioning of the Army. Two first-class Army officers have already proceeded to Iran to organize and run the gendarmerie of the country which will guarantee internal security. A competent [Page 243] police official in this country is about to be engaged to reorganize the police forces of Iran. The Public Health Service is finding us an official to head that service in Iran. A Director of Supply and Transportation is about to be engaged and has already agreed to accept the offer of the Iranian Government. And, finally, a full-fledged Financial Mission, more ambitious even than the Millspaugh Mission of 1922–1927, is about to be assembled here and sent to Iran.

In the light of these developments it seems to me odd indeed that the British and Soviet Ambassadors in Tehran should be picking over the lot of Iranian politicians and deciding “whose man” should be put in power without prior consultation with our Legation.

I had occasion to discuss this situation briefly and informally with the Iranian Minister on Saturday, and I told him quite frankly that from my experience in the past in Iran I would not be prepared to recommend to the Department that we proceed with this impressive group of American advisers for Iran unless it was clear beyond any doubt that the various members of any Government that might be formed in the country were competent and willing to cooperate fully with our people there. I said it was simply a waste of time and services of valuable people to send them to Iran and spend most of their time overcoming the hurdles and obstacles placed in their way by intriguing Government officials who gave public lip service to the efforts being made by our people but secretly worked to nullify their accomplishments.

The Minister, who is fully aware of the almost constant intrigues against the Millspaugh Mission when it was in Iran, said he entirely agreed with me that we should not let that situation occur again, and that he wished to think the matter over and discuss with me again the ways and means to facilitate, and not obstruct, the efforts of these first-rate American advisers who are being employed in this country to help Iran in these desperate days.

Wallace Murray
  1. Addressed to the Under Secretary of State (Welles) and to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle). Marginal note by Mr. Murray: “Discussed orally with Mr. Welles.”