891.24/347: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

508. Substance of Department’s 397, January 18, 4 p.m., has been given Foreign Office and prompt action with reference to the recommendations regarding wheat and barley for Iran has been urged. When doing so, we were told that as soon as British Minister at Tehran had informed Foreign Office of these recommendations, Foreign Office took up with the Ministry of War Transport the question of transporting this additional wheat from North America. While no definite reply has been received from the War Transport Ministry, [Page 604] Foreign Office says that limited shipping facilities will most likely make it difficult to arrange for the shipment of this wheat. In this connection, Foreign Office added that it has just been found necessary to cut Middle East shipping program by 50 percent and that while this cut will probably not affect January shipping plans, it will become effective in February.

Foreign Office will promptly inquire of shipping experts whether space could be saved by shipping flour instead of wheat.

We were also told at the Foreign Office that the Soviet Ambassador in London is being requested to urge his Government to take steps to induce Soviet authorities in Iran to facilitate transportation of wheat from Soviet occupied Iran where according to Soviet statements there is a supply of 35,000 tons to points in Iran where it is most needed.

It is being pointed out to the Soviet authorities Foreign Office states that for every ton of wheat made available from that which is in Soviet occupied Iran just so much more shipping space for supplies for Russia will become available.