Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)31

The Iranian Government has asserted that the presence on Iranian territory of American troops constitutes an infringement of Iranian sovereignty and has suggested that this matter be adjusted through the adherence of the United States to the Anglo-Russian-Iranian [Page 457] Treaty of Alliance of January 29, 1942. Under this treaty, Great Britain and Russia have the right to maintain troops in Iran and to operate and control any or all means of communication in Iran.

NE32 does not consider it politically feasible to propose adherence of this Government to a Treaty of Alliance with Iran, and we have intimated as much to the Iranian Minister here. However, in view of the insistence of the Iranian Government upon the necessity for “legalizing” the status of American troops in Iran, it is believed that some form of executive agreement on this subject should be concluded.

There is attached a rough draft33 of a suggested agreement, modeled closely upon the appropriate sections of the Treaty of Alliance. It will be noted that provision is made to avoid conflict with the Treaty but that the agreement is not itself based upon the Treaty. It will also be noted that the United States assumes no obligation, except that of interfering as little as possible with the internal affairs of Iran. This may seem to make the bargain rather one-sided, but it should be borne in mind that we are merely asking for ourselves rights already possessed by the British and Russians, and that the Iranians, in fact, welcome our presence in Iran as a possible offset to British and Russian influence.

This Division would like to have as soon as possible any comments you may care to make regarding the draft. It will be necessary, of course, to submit it to the War Department, and it is also planned to advise the British and Russian Governments before a definite proposal is made to the Iranian Government.

A copy of this memorandum is being sent to Le.34

Paul H. Alling
  1. Addressed to the Division of European Affairs.
  2. Division of Near Eastern Affairs.
  3. Not printed, but see draft on p. 459.
  4. Office of the Legal Adviser.