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

No. 591

Sir: With reference to my Despatch No. 579 dated June 10, 1943 concerning traffic accidents and incidents of misconduct involving personnel of the United States Army in Iran, I have the honor to enclose another list of such occurrences which have come to the attention of the Legation since the list enclosed in my previous despatch was prepared.

There are also enclosed two copies of notes77 from the Foreign Office as typical examples of the sort of communications the Legation is receiving daily. One of these is very representative of the accident type of note and it will be noted from it and from the enclosed list that the great majority of the accidents involve pedestrians. In a great many cases the investigations conducted by the appropriate authorities of the Persian Gulf Service Command show that no fault could be attached to the American drivers involved. By American standards this is undoubtedly true, and the drivers would, without question, be absolved of all blame in any traffic court in the United States. It is impossible, however, to expect the oriental Iranian pedestrian to behave when alarmed by an approaching automobile in the same manner that a similar person would in the United States. The reflexes of the Iranians, to whom the automobile is still a comparatively recent innovation, are relatively slow, and by the time the pedestrian endeavors to get out of danger it is apt to be too late.

General Connolly in a letter to me dated June 14, stated his serious concern over the number of automobile accidents and listed the steps he was taking to reduce them, consisting of the institution of traffic patrols and orders to his command to adhere to fixed speed limits. No improvement has been noticeable to date, however.

The question of misconduct and drunkenness is becoming increasingly serious and I am asking General Connolly to give the matter serious consideration. I will report more fully on the subject in a separate despatch.

There are many more disgraceful incidents that have come to the notice of the Foreign Office and the reputation of the American soldier in Tehran is at about the lowest ebb possible.

Needless to say the Iranians are getting thoroughly tired of these incidents, and the tone of the notes from the Foreign Office is becoming increasingly strong. The Foreign Minister has personally [Page 498] expressed to me his concern over the growing number of these cases, and it is clear that if nothing is done to correct the situation in the near future our prestige in Iran will suffer serious damage.

Respectfully yours,

Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
Note No. 1728/6759 from Foreign Office dated May 30, 1943 concerning complaints from citizens of Kazvin about the drunken conduct of American troops which involve accosting women, entering houses, etc.
Note No. 1703/6699 from Foreign Office dated May 30, 1943 concerning shooting of an Iranian at Atak by an American sentry. Foreign Office requests investigation and payment of damages.
Note No. 1704/6737 from Foreign Office dated May 30, 1943 concerning fatal accident to Iranian woman pedestrian who was struck by an American Army automobile. Foreign Office requests punishment and damages.
Note No. 1807/7061 from Foreign Office dated June 3, 1943 concerning fatal accident to Iranian girl and injury to her brother. Foreign Office requests punishment and damages.
Note No. 7057/1805 from Foreign Office dated June 4, 1943 concerning fatal accident to a twelve year old Iranian boy. This appears, from the Foreign Office note, to be a hit and run case. The Foreign Office requests the Army to adhere to its promise of having every driver involved in an accident identify himself to the Iranian authorities at the scene of the accident. Punishment and damages are requested.
Note No. 7215/1893 from Foreign Office dated June 6, 1943 concerning complaint from a Kazvin landowner that American soldiers had camped on his lands and destroyed his pea plantation. Furthermore, that they were proposing to erect a pump to take water from his qanat and had permitted an Iranian to dig clay from his land for the purpose of making bricks.
Note No. 7421/1831 from Foreign Office dated June 6, 1943 concerning complaints from the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephone that American Army tractors leveling ground at Dizful had destroyed three telegraph poles, pulling the wires down and interrupting communication with Andimeshk. After this destruction, the Americans erected a barbed wire fence around the area of operations and forbade admission to the site. The Iranian authorities have had to refuse to accept telegrams addressed to Andimeshk. The Foreign Office requests that care be taken not to damage the wires of the country and that when damage is done, the Iranian linemen be permitted to repair the damage.
Note No. 7947/2174 enclosed.
Note No. 7759/1987 from Foreign Office dated June 9, 1943 concerning an incident in Arak concerning the seizure and wrecking of a carriage by seven drunken American soldiers. Foreign Office requests investigation, punishment, and damages.
Note No. 8197/2116 from Foreign Office dated June 14, 1943 concerning injury to a pedestrian by an American Army automobile in Tehran. Foreign Office requests punishment.
Note No. 8143/2117 enclosed.
Note No. 8655/2241 from Foreign Office dated June 20, 1943 concerning fatal injury to pedestrian in Tehran struck by an American Army truck. Foreign Office requests punishment and damages.
Note No. 8653/2262 dated June 20, 1943 from Foreign Office concerning fatal injury to a child in Tehran, struck by an Allied truck. The truck has not been definitely identified as being American.
  1. Neither printed.