The Minister in Iran (Dreyfus) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 21—2:31 a.m.]
295. Department’s 123, March 12. Kuniholm reports that bread riots took place in Tabriz Tuesday. He is of opinion that Azerbaijan problem can be improved only by (1) strong Government action against recalcitrant landlords, (2) dismissal of dishonest and unreliable Governor General Mugadam and (3) cancellation of Iranian-Soviet cereals contract47 even if penalty clause be invoked. He reports great Soviet pressure for removal of Vivian, who he considers has done a heroic job against hopeless odds and in spite of lack of Iranian or Soviet cooperation. Prime Minister informs me he is sending Cadazyon to Tabriz to investigate.
This turn of affairs in Azerbaijan brings to a head the general question of Soviet position in Iran. There is mounting evidence of (1) increase in Soviet domination of Iran and obnoxious pressure to obtain their ends and (2) Soviet resentment and suspicions of American adviser program and of general American action in Iran. Dr. Millspaugh48 expresses deep concern at what he considers Soviet exploitation of Iran, particularly in matters of arms contract (see my 58, January 1849) and the Iranian-Soviet financial agreement which was signed yesterday. He believes these agreements are harmful to Iran and were negotiated virtually under duress. He is of opinion that question of Iran’s involuntary subordination to Soviets must be clarified. He believes Iran Government is too weak to withstand Soviet pressure unless it feels assured of positive and immediate American and British support.[Page 346]
Soviet authorities here are cordial but wholly uncooperative. General Connolly50 has had difficulties in obtaining Soviet permission to establish service stations and accommodations for convoy drivers in Soviet zone. As result he is dumping war supplies at Kazvin until his reasonable demands are met. Since Russians are anxious to have goods delivered at Tabriz and Resht they will probably soon submit to his conditions. Soviet Embassy has so far refused to grant permit to Colonel Schwarzkopf51 to make official inspection trip to Resht. There has been unreasonable delay in obtaining visas and permits for American personnel and planes going to Russia and northern Iran. British Minister states British relations with Soviets here have been friendly but futile.
In friendly talk yesterday with Soviet Ambassador52 I inquired why he has refused the Schwarzkopf permit and why Russians here are not more cooperative. His reply, which was given only after urging, was that Americans had failed to notify him or Soviet Government of fact of our troops coming to Iran. Department’s comments on this point would be appreciated. It seems to me time has arrived to clarify this general question since Soviet attitude may well vitiate our entire adviser program. Already there are rumors that Russians here are urging Iranian Government not to engage any more Americans. I will report fully on above subjects by telegram and despatch as soon as Kuniholm arrives in Tehran. Copies of final text of arms contract and financial agreement together with Millspaugh’s comments will be sent by mail.53
- In December 1942 Iran and the Soviet Union signed a contract for the delivery by Iran to the Soviet Union of 5,000 tons of wheat, 15,000 tons of barley and 30,000 tons of rice.↩
- Arthur C. Millspaugh, American Administrator General of Finances in the Iranian Government; for correspondence on the Millspaugh Mission, see pp. 510 ff.↩
- Post, p. 633.↩
- Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, Commanding General, Persian Gulf Service Command.↩
- Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, former head of the New Jersey State Police, was, in Iran as a specialist to organize the Iranian Gendarmerie (rural police); for correspondence on the Schwarzkopf Mission, see pp. 514–560, passim. ↩
- A. A. Smirnov.↩
- See despatch No. 504, April 2, p. 634.↩