891.24/398: Telegram

The First Secretary of the British Embassy (Thorold) to Mr. John D. Jernegan of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

W. T. 212/58/43

Dear Mr. Jernegan: With reference to our discussion yesterday on the subject of the provision of wheat for Iran, recent telegrams which we have received from London emphasise that in the view of His Majesty’s Government the only solution to this problem lies in the loading of the wheat on Russian aid vessels. It is pointed out that His Majesty’s Government from the first, fully recognised that [Page 610] the provision of wheat for Iran would have to be at the expense of Russian supplies, and it was because they realised all the grave disadvantages attendant on any such curtailment of supplies to Russia, that they were reluctant to come to the decision to provide wheat for Iran until it was proved absolutely essential to do so.

Once this decision had been come to and the commitment to Iran entered into, the consequences as far as regards Russian supplies were fully recognised and His Majesty’s Government have repeatedly warned the Soviet Government that Russian supplies would have to suffer. In the first place it has to be appreciated that even if wheat for Iran could be shipped without encroaching on tonnage earmarked for Russia, it must displace Russian supplies on Persian inland clearance. It is for this reason that provision of a vessel from Australia is not altogether a solution. It will help, in that it will make the wheat available on the spot, but it will only displace Russian supplies in Iran and thereby involve a waste of shipping space in respect of Russian aid vessels which will be unable to discharge.

Secondly, apart from our obligations to Iran under the food agreement, the situation has now become such that failure to send wheat to Iran immediately will endanger the security of the trans-Iranian routes and consequently the transit of Russian supplies.

Yours sincerely,

G. F. Thorold