The Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling) to Colonel Harry A. McBride 2

Colonel MoBride: Confirming Mr. Jernegan’s3 telephone conversation with Colonel Chaffee4 on March 2, we understand the present position regarding General Ridley’s status to be as follows:

General Ridley reported that the Iranian Government wished to make him Assistant Minister of War. The War Department decided against this proposal, and the Department of State so informed [Page 516] the Iranian Minister in Washington, who informed his Government.
Upon receipt of the Minister’s cable, the Iranian Government replied that it had not wished to make General Ridley Assistant Minister of War but only “assistant to the Minister of War”, which is quite a different thing. The Iranian Minister has informed us to this effect and has asked whether the War Department will give its consent to such an arrangement.
It is understood that the War Department will request General Ridley’s views on this proposal.

In this connection, you will recall that General Ridley’s letter of December 10 to General Handy5 recommended that he (General Ridley) should have a position in the Iranian Ministry of War. As you will also recall, the Iranian Government has proposed that his duties in that Ministry should be “to reorganize and to reconstruct the Imperial Iranian Army” and at the same time to continue his investigations on the question of sending a full American military mission to Iran. However, if the War Department agrees in principle to the appointment of General Ridley as assistant to the Minister of War, it is believed that his duties could be defined in whatever fashion might seem best to the War Department.

Paul H. Alling
  1. Liaison Officer, Operations Division, War Department General Staff.
  2. John D. Jernegan of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs.
  3. Lt. Col. Frederic H. Chaffee of the War Department General Staff.
  4. Maj. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, War Department General Staff; letter of December 10 not printed.