891.00/2009: Telegram

The Minister in Iran ( Dreyfus ) to the Secretary of State

409. Iran appears to be on verge of another political crisis. Large part of bazaars closed yesterday afternoon and there is some uneasiness in city although no riots have occurred. Closing of bazaars is widely regarded as protest of merchants and politicians against passage of Millspaugh Powers Bill (my 385 [386], April 1472) which was to be considered yesterday by Majlis and which had already been approved by Majlis Finance Committee. This gesture is a most damning indictment of present Iranian political system. It protests the passage of legislation which represents only hope of country in order that vested interests of merchant profiteers and corrupt political elements may prevail over common welfare. Suffering of the masses because of high prices has reached an unbearable pitch. Meat if it can be found costs several dollars a pound; pound sugar in black market costs $2. This suffering is a result of unbridled greed and cannot be corrected until Government takes strongest of measures. General Ahmadi, who by decree of Council of Ministers of April 17 became Military Governor, has published proclamation asking commerce to reopen, calling attention to provisions of existing military law, ordering curfew at 9:00 and warning public that strong measures to protect public interests will be taken.

I am convinced Iran is headed for disaster unless a government strong enough to cope with entrenched classes can be instituted. Such a government might consist of a trinity of power—Millspaugh to make necessary regulations—a strong Prime Minister to put them into effect and a War Minister like General Ahmadi to enforce them on pain of summary and capital punishment.

  1. Post, p. 522.