Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. John D. Jernegan of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

Subject: Agreement to Cover Presence of American Troops in Iran.

The Minister22 said he had received a cable from his Government seeking further explanation of our views with respect to an agreement on this subject. It appeared that our Minister at Tehran23 had explained that we would prefer not to conclude a general agreement, but the Iranian Government was not clear on the matter.

I read to the Minister Mr. Dreyfus’ cable of December 13 and our reply of December 23, 1942.24 I again explained that our policy had been not to conclude formal general agreements in any of the countries where our troops were stationed, and I cited in this connection the cases of Egypt, Iraq, India, China and Australia. The Minister appeared to feel that these were not exactly comparable cases, since he considered all of the countries mentioned as being in fact our allies. I pointed out that both Egypt and Iraq were neutral and, whatever their special treaty relations with Great Britain, were regarded by the United States as completely independent. Furthermore, Iran was at present in treaty relations with Great Britain very similar to those of Iraq and Egypt.

The Minister then mentioned Iceland, saying that he thought we had concluded some form of written agreement in that instance. I admitted that I did not remember but promised to look it up.

The Minister said that he did not know whether his Government wished to insist upon a formal understanding, but he would like to know whether we would be definitely unwilling to consider one if the Iranian Government considered it necessary. I said that I could not answer the question, as this was a matter which would probably have to be decided by the Secretary or Under Secretary. Mr. Welles25 had signed our telegram to Mr. Dreyfus of December 23, but this did not necessarily mean that he would not be willing to reconsider the question if circumstances seemed to make it desirable.

  1. Mohammed Shayesteh, the Iranian Minister.
  2. Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iv, pp. 315 and 316, respectively.
  4. Sumner Welles, Under Secretary of State.