740.0011 Moscow/5: Telegram

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

6739. The following communication dated October 5 just received from the Foreign Office outlines the general line which it is provisionally proposed that the British delegation to the forthcoming Three-Power Conference should take with regard to the question of Allied policy in Iran, which is stated to have been put on the agenda for the discussions. Foreign Office states in this connection that Mr. Wallace Murray,50 in a recent conversation with a member of the British Embassy at Washington suggested that it would be most [Page 546] valuable if His Majesty’s Government could induce the Soviet Government to give greater support to Dr. Millspaugh.51

“The success or otherwise of Allied policy in Iran has been found to depend to a very large extent on the degree of cooperation which can be achieved between the Allied representatives in Tehran. Where the Soviet, United States and British representatives are agreeable to take concerted action, serious difficulties can be overcome. Conversely, if one of these representatives is not prepared to cooperate or is unable to obtain the necessary instructions from his Government, then the relevant problems become far harder to solve.

In Iran, a more satisfactory degree of cooperation has been achieved recently than in the past. There is perhaps room for further improvement, particularly in the economic sphere.

The three Allied Governments would do well, in Iran’s interests and in their own, to give full support to the work of the United States advisers. Dr. Millspaugh’s recent reports show that Iran’s economic and financial position is critical. Dr. Millspaugh has asked, in particular, for financial assistance. The question of a United States credit is under consideration. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company have agreed to an advance of royalties. The Soviet Government’s contribution might, it is suggested, take the form of a revision of certain contracts which impose a heavy burden on the Iranian budget; for example, under the munitions factories contract, the entire responsibility for financing the production of arms in these factories, for the benefit of the Soviet forces, falls on the Iranian budget.

It would also seem desirable that the whole of Iran, including all those areas where Soviet, United States or British troops are stationed, should be treated as a single administrative and economic unit. Every facility should be granted to the Iranian Government to exercise administrative control over the whole country. This would conform to article IV of the Tripartite Treaty,52 under which the Allies undertook to disturb as little as possible the administration and the economic life of the country.

The explanations given to the Soviet Government regarding the employment of US transportation troops in Iran have already, it is hoped, cleared up any doubts which may have arisen on this point. The Soviet and British troops will, in accordance with the Anglo-Soviet-Iranian Tripartite Treaty, be withdrawn from Iran within 6 months of the end of hostilities with Germany and her associates, and it is of course understood that the United States troops will likewise be withdrawn before that date.

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To sum up, it is suggested that the policy of the Allied nations toward Iran may be defined simply and concisely. So long as the war in Europe lasts, that policy should aim at the utmost development of Iran as a channel for the passage of supplies into the Soviet Union.

At the same time, all practicable measures should be taken to ease the strain which that policy places upon the internal economy of Iran herself.

After the war, there should be rapid withdrawal of Allied controls and the aim of the Allied nations should be to respect the integrity and the independence of Iran and to enable her to maintain the stability of her administration by any economic assistance which she may require and which it may be in their power to afford her.”53

Copy of the Foreign Office letter has been given to Harriman.54

  1. Adviser on Political Relations, Department of State.
  2. Arthur Chester Millspaugh, American economist, Administrator General of Finances, Iran, 1943–45.
  3. The Treaty of Alliance between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and Iran was signed at Tehran on January 29, 1942; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, March 21, 1942, p. 249 (reprinted from British Cmd. 6335, Persia No. 1 (1942)). For correspondence relating to the treaty and its negotiation, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iv, pp. 263 ff.
  4. In telegram No. 6264, October 8, 1943, the Department replied instructing the Ambassador to inform the Foreign Office that the Department wholly concurred in the communication quoted herein concerning Allied policy in Iran.
  5. W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador designate to the Soviet Union and member of the American delegation to the Moscow Conference.