Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. C. Thayer White of the Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements

Participants: Mr. Allah Yar Saleh, Chief, Iranian Trade and Economic Commission
Mr. Parker, NE70
Mr. Hawkins, TA71
Mr. White, TA

Mr. Saleh said that the Iranian Government would like to conclude a trade agreement with the United States and requested the resumption of conversations to that end. Mr. Saleh said that a great many people think that Iran is no longer an independent country and do not even realize that there is still an Iranian Government. He felt that the conclusion of a trade agreement with the United States would call attention to the fact that Iran is a going concern.

Mr. Saleh indicated that since he was formerly Under Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and is now its representative, and because of his knowledge of the United States and its requirements, he thought that the proposed discussions would go more smoothly than those we had held in the past. In response to a question by Mr. Parker, Mr. Saleh also indicated that he has the power to make decisions himself.

Mr. Hawkins stated that we would be glad to discuss the matter with him and outlined the procedure followed by this Government in the negotiation of its trade agreements. In this connection, it was pointed out to Mr. Saleh that as a matter of policy we like first to agree upon the general provisions to be included in an agreement. To this end, it was understood that in the course of the next day or so we would send Mr. Saleh for his consideration an indication of what we would wish in the way of general provisions.

It was also understood that in the coming week the Department would prepare a very tentative list of the commodities with respect to which we might be willing to make concessions and which would be included in the announcement of intention to negotiate, while Mr. Saleh would try to give us a list of the items with respect to which Iran will desire concessions. Mr. Hawkins also thought we could [Page 277] give Mr. Saleh an indication of the commodities with respect to which the United States would wish concessions.

Mr. Hawkins emphasized the fact that the aforementioned lists would be tentative in character and could be changed at any time up to the time of public announcement. Mr. Hawkins pointed out, in this connection, that it is extremely difficult for us to add an item to the published list after public announcement is made, and for that reason, Mr. Saleh should be sure to include on his request list all the items for which the Iranian Government will wish concessions.

It was agreed to meet on January 30 for further discussions.

  1. W. Leopard Parker, Division of Near Eastern Affairs.
  2. Harry C. Hawkins, Chief of the Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.