Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
Mr. Richard Casey, former Minister of Australia in Washington and at present British Minister of State in the Middle East, called to see me today.
I spoke to Mr. Casey of my very great concern with regard to the policy being pursued by the British Government in Iran. I said I felt that, in the first place, from the standpoint of the achievement of satisfactory results, the British policy of the withholding of food supplies and the constant recurrence to military force was not conducive towards the creation of a situation of relative tranquillity in Iran which alone could give us the assurance that this vital means of access to southern Russia would remain open to the United Nations. Furthermore, I said, the attitude taken by so many of the British officials in Iran towards United States officials, and particularly towards the American Minister in Tehran,2 was anything but helpful. I said I did not have to tell Mr. Casey that the United States had no selfish interest of any kind or description in Iran, but that this Government did feel that during the war period it was just as vitally concerned in the maintenance of satisfactory conditions in that country as Great Britain. I said I consequently felt that close and friendly cooperation between the officials of the two Governments in that area was indispensable for the sake of our common military objectives, and that I also felt that our views with regard to the policy to be pursued towards the Government and officials of Iran should be taken into consideration by the British Government before it embarked upon any undertakings of any serious character in that region. Mr. Casey told me that he had arranged to see Mr. Murray3 this afternoon, and I told [Page 320] him that Mr. Murray would undoubtedly give him chapter and verse for the statements and suggestions I had just made to him.