891.20/190a: Telegram

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

42. In connection with proposal of Iranian Government to appoint General Ridley88 Assistant Minister of War, we understand War Department has cabled Ridley that little or no military supplies can be furnished Iran and has asked whether, in the light of this information, He still wishes to recommend acceptance of Iranian proposal.

Our thought is that Ridley might accomplish a good deal as Assistant Minister even without supplies, for example: (1) He could be of assistance to Millspaugh89 and other American advisers. (2) He could presumably control pro-Axis activity in the army and forestall drastic action by British or Russians of the sort taken in the Zahidi case.90 (3) His appointment would please Iranians and should strengthen our influence in Iran.

However, if military supplies are absolutely necessary for the success of Ridley’s work as Assistant Minister, it would seem better not [Page 511]to place him in an impossible position nor to raise extravagant hopes on part of Iranians which would probably have to be disappointed later.

Please give us your views.

Hull
  1. Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley, assigned by the War Department to act as military adviser to the Iranian Government on matters pertaining to the Services of Supply of the Iranian Army.
  2. Arthur C. Millspaugh, American Administrator General of Finances in the Iranian Government.
  3. General Zahidi, Governor General of Isfahan province, arrested and interned at Sultanabad by the British on December 8, 1942; for correspondence on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iv, pp. 208 218, passim.