Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. John D. Jernegan of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

Mr. Armstrong20 said that War Department officials had raised the question of consignment of the wheat which was to be shipped to Iran in American vessels. They felt that at least a part of it should be American wheat and should be sent to General Connolly,21 in order that he might have a supply under his control with which to feed his native employees.

I said it had been my understanding that all the wheat would be furnished by the British Ministry of Food and would, presumably be consigned to the UKCC22 for delivery to the Iranian Government. However, I thought the Department would have no objection to consigning our part to General Connolly, provided arrangements were made to see that our obligations to deliver wheat to the Iranian Government were strictly fulfilled. The British and ourselves were bound to see that a certain quantity of wheat reached the proper Iranian authorities.

It was my recollection that the British in Iran, in agreement with the Iranian authorities, had laid out a plan for pooling imported grain to take care of the needs of native employees of the British and American forces, Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and the general run of Iranian civilians.

Mr. Armstrong said that the War Department appeared to feel that General Connolly was being “pushed around”, presumably by the British, and that his position would be strengthened if he had a supply of grain under his own control. If he had to go to the UKCC for his supplies, it might weaken his prestige vis-a-vis the Iranians. I agreed that it would be desirable to assist General Connolly if possible.

Mr. Armstrong asked me to advise the appropriate officers of the Department of this development. He said that a meeting of all concerned would probably be called in the next day or two to discuss it.

  1. Willis C. Armstrong of the Office of Lend-Lease Administration.
  2. Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, Commanding General, Persian Gulf Service Command.
  3. United Kingdom Commercial Corporation. “