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

No. 751

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 750 of December 9, 194359 and to my telegrams Nos. 1086 and 1091 of December 3 and 6,60 respectively, reporting the signing of the American-British-Soviet declaration regarding Iran and the initial Iranian reaction to its publication.

Local reaction continues to be enthusiastic. There are enclosed excerpts from press comments,61 which provide a fair sample of the attitude taken by the Tehran newspapers. Some are almost rhapsodical in their tone, and no paper has expressed anything but pleasure at the honor shown Iran and the assurances given her.

Perhaps more significant is the attitude of the Iranian Government. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have taken pains to express to me their great satisfaction at the success of their request that a communiqué on Iran be issued by the Tehran Conference. They assert that this feeling is shared by the whole people, and they quite obviously regard it as a triumph for the Government.

Certainly, from all that the Legation has been able to learn, there is genuine rejoicing among the articulate, thinking portion of the population, even though the mass is probably almost unaware of the declaration and too preoccupied with the quest for bread to give it much attention.

As was to be expected, the press has been quick to seize upon, and perhaps to overemphasize, the portions of the document dealing with Iran’s contribution to the war and the promise of economic assistance from the Allies. The Department is familiar with Iran’s just, and oft-repeated, plea for help, and it would be contrary to Iranian human nature not to take the declaration in a spirit of “now-all-our-troubles-are-over-because-the-Allies-will-take-care-of-us”. However, this attitude is not universal, and the press has not failed to appreciate the general significance of the American participation nor the importance of the final paragraph supporting Iranian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

My own feeling is that, from our point of view and that of Iran, the significance and potential utility of the document may be summed up in the following points:

The United States has declared itself for the first time, formally and publicly, as interested in the welfare of Iran and as supporting its free and independent existence.
The U.S.S.R. and Great Britain have renewed their two-year-old pledges to respect Iranian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Very many Iranians and others, as the Department is well aware, had begun to have grave doubts regarding those pledges, and this reassurance is most welcome. Further, if the great powers should be tempted in the future to disregard their promises, this public document, bearing the names of their highest leaders, may well give them pause.
The reference to the principles of the Atlantic Charter again brings that document before the world, gives evidence that it is intended to apply to small nations as well as great, and may, therefore, have a heartening effect even beyond Iran’s borders. I am told by General Hurley that the President regarded this as the most important part of the declaration.
It will be difficult to ignore Iran after the war, as she was ignored at the Versailles Conference,62 in the light of the statements in the declaration that Iranian economic problems should receive full consideration at post-war conferences and that the three powers count upon Iran’s participation in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity. The express recognition of Iran’s contribution to the war effort should also count in this connection.

I do not wish to appear to attach too much importance to the declaration. I realize that in many ways it is merely a pious wish and that the proof of the pudding will be in the concrete actions of the powers in the future. However, it does seem to me to be a step in the right direction, one more small stone in the foundation of international fair-dealing. It is encouraging that the British and Russians were willing to sign such a document, and, as I have already remarked, it should make it more difficult for them to have a change of heart later on.

Respectfully yours,

Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
  1. Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 840.
  2. Telegram No. 1086, December 3, not printed.
  3. None reprinted.
  4. The Peace Conference of 1919.