740.0011 Moscow/10–1943

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Eden ) to the Secretary of State

Conference Document No. 26

My Dear Secretary of State: I have the honour to submit to Your Excellency for consideration by the Conference a memorandum by the British Delegation on Persia.

2. I understand that this question,9 which figures as point 10 on the draft Agenda, may be examined by the Conference at its meeting on October 24th and I trust that your delegation will be in a position to give favourable consideration to the proposal set out in the memorandum when it comes up for consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Eden

Memorandum on Persia, by the British Delegation

The general policy towards Persia of the Allied Powers (Great Britain and the Soviet Union) for the duration of the war at all events, must stand the test of whether or not it conforms to the engagements which the Allies have entered into in the Tripartite Treaty.9a
In return for the treaty right to maintain military forces in Persia, and to use Persia’s communications (subject to certain conditions of payment) in prosecution of the war against the Axis, the [Page 731] Allied Powers have guaranteed the territorial integrity and the independence of Persia, and have undertaken “to use their best endeavours to safeguard the economic existence of the Persian people against the privations and difficulties arising as a result of the present war.” Moreover, it is specifically provided in the Treaty that the presence of Allied military forces in Persia does not constitute a military occupation and “will disturb as little as possible the administration and the security forces of Iran, the economic life of the country, the normal movements of the population and the application of Iranian laws and regulations.”
The Government of the United States are also maintaining considerable military forces in Persian territory. While the Government of the United States are not yet in treaty relations with Persia, it is believed that they will wish to conduct their present relations with Persia in accordance with considerations and obligations similar to those set out in the immediately preceding paragraph.
For the period of the war, and particularly so long as the Persian supply route to Russia continues to hold its present importance, the policy of the Allies towards Persia should be directed to securing her co-operation in the United Nations war effort to her fullest capacity. Her military co-operation has not been invited (even since her declaration of war on Germany9b) except to the extent that the Allies look to the armed forces of Persia to maintain order and security within the country, and especially on the supply routes. It is in the economic and financial field that Persia can make her most useful contribution.
In the Tripartite Treaty, Persia has undertaken to place her system of communications at the Allies’ disposal. She has done so. The Allies’ next requirement has been an uninterrupted supply of currency to meet local expenditure of the Allied military forces on the development and maintenance of the supply routes to Russia. This has been secured, and the currency issue may be regarded as settled. Of secondary importance is the utilisation of Persia’s capacity to supply the Allies from her natural and manufacturing resources with commodities of which the Allies themselves may be in need, for example, foodstuffs, minerals and other raw materials, arms, etc.
So long as Persia complies with her own Treaty engagements and so long as she grants the Allies their desiderata in the financial and economic field, there is a moral obligation on the Allies to do all they can to ensure that their utilisation of these facilities causes the least hurt to Persian economy, and, in addition, to do all in their power, having regard to the exigencies of their own situation, to safeguard the people of Persia against the privations and difficulties which the war must inevitably bring to them.
Benevolent treatment for Persia, to the extent of the Allies’ capacity, in exchange for co-operation from Persia herself, sums up what should be Allied policy towards her during the war period.
It is suggested therefore that the Conference might consider the adoption of a declaration in regard to Persia in the following terms:—

“The Governments of the U.K., the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., having in mind the adherence of the Government of Iran to the cause of the United Nations, rely with confidence upon the desire of the Government and people of Iran to make their contribution along the most effective lines in furtherance of the struggle against the common enemy.

The Governments of the U.K., the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. undertake for their part to do all within their power to safeguard the people of Iran from the privations and difficulties which the present war must bring to them, in common with all other peoples engaged in the conflict. They further undertake to collaborate closely with each other on all issues as they arise, and to co-operate with the Government of Iran, with a view to the furtherance of the United Nations war effort, and in the best interests of the people of Iran.”

It is for consideration also, whether such a declaration if adopted, should be made public.
  1. i.e., Common Policy in Iran.
  2. Treaty of Alliance between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and Iran, signed January 29, 1942; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, March 21, 1942, p. 249.
  3. September 9, 1943.