Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. John D. Jernegan of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

Major Aktarzendi21 called at his request to inquire regarding our general Lend-Lease policy toward Iran, with particular reference to military supplies.

I told him that it was a little difficult to state our policy exactly, since we ourselves had not yet determined certain details. I explained, however, that there are two main types of Lend-Lease: cash reimbursable and straight Lend-Lease. It was my understanding that the Department proposed, for the time being, to furnish civilian supplies on a cash reimbursable basis, whereas military supplies would probably be furnished as straight lend-lease. As Major Aktarzendi undoubtedly knew, civilian supply requests should now be submitted first to the Central Supplies Committee, which referred them to the MESC22 at Cairo, whence they were forwarded to the United States. Requests for military supplies, however, came direct from the foreign government concerned to this Government. The Department of State normally referred such requests to the War Department and accepted its decision as to whether it would be practicable to furnish the supplies in question.

With special regard to the 150 motorcycles for the Iranian Gendarmerie, I had originally suggested that the Iranian Legation take the matter up direct with Colonel Baird of the War Department because [Page 297] I had been informed that such articles could be procured only through the War Department. This week, however, I had also suggested that the Legation get in touch with Mr. Norman Walker, of the Lend-Lease Administration, because Mr. Walker had informed me that his office would be best qualified to assist in making out the formal Lend-Lease requisition. Major Aktarzendi said that he had an appointment to see Mr. Walker on Monday, October 12.

Major Aktarzendi asked whether the British Government had any voice in passing upon Iranian requests for military supplies. I replied that so far as I was aware, the British authorities entered into the picture only after the American agencies concerned had given their approval and the matter was submitted to an allocations committee which included British military representatives. It was my understanding that all military lend-lease requisitions had to be passed by this committee, regardless of the country of destination, and that this procedure was in no way confined to requests from the Middle East. The Iranian Government, therefore, should not feel that there was any discrimination involved. I said that in my opinion it was only logical that such a joint committee should exist, since the British were fighting on our side and a large part of our own contribution to the joint war effort consisted in supplying munitions to our associates. It was obviously necessary that there should be consultation regarding the most effective distribution of the available supplies.

Major Aktarzendi said that his Government was very much interested in this question, as it had informed him that it desired to deal direct with the United States rather than through British intermediaries. I replied that I considered that the procedure was, in fact, direct, in so far as military supplies were concerned.

  1. Iranian Military Attaché.
  2. Middle East Supply Center.