Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)
The Iranian Minister94 called at my request.
I told him that the War Department had been giving consideration to the proposal of the Iranian Government made during the latter part of December, 1942 that General Clarence Ridley, United States Army, be engaged as Iranian Assistant Minister of War. I said that the War Department after giving this proposal its most careful consideration had come to the conclusion that the appointment of General Ridley to that position would be undesirable, that General Ridley himself though willing to accept the position felt that he could be of equal assistance to the Iranian Government in the capacity of Military Advisor and that the War Department thereby hoped that the Iranian Government would not press the matter.
To my surprise the Iranian Minister said that this was the first he had heard of the proposal to engage General Ridley as Assistant Minister of War. I reminded the Minister that he had called upon me about Christmas time and had handed me a rough translation of a proposed contract for the engagement of General Ridley. A copy of this translation is attached herewith.95 The Minister recalled that he had handed me such a translation but he said there had been a garbling in his telegraphic instructions and he could not decipher the title of the position for which General Ridley was to be engaged. The present conversation clarified the matter to him. He added that so far as he could see it made no difference what title General Ridley had as long as he was in Tehran and available for consultation. The Minister said that he would communicate to his Government the decision of the War Department. He inquired whether the War Department was willing to assign General Ridley as head of an American military mission as had originally been proposed by the Iranian Government. I said that I had no information on this point but that we should be glad to pass on to the War Department any suggestions which the Iranian Government might formulate on that point.