891.24/433: Telegram

The Minister in Iran ( Dreyfus ) to the Secretary of State

382. Russians out of a clear sky have announced they are shipping 25,000 tons wheat for consumption of people of Tehran. This will be transported by Russians down Volga via Caspian ports to Tehran and delivered [deliveries?] at rate of 7,500 tons a month have been promised. This gesture is beautifully timed to embarrass both British and ourselves who, despite the fact that deliveries are now being made, are felt by a great many Iranians to have failed to live up to our agreement. The political motives behind this move are shown by fact that wheat from America is arriving and it would appear that no further supplies for Tehran are necessary. If as is being suggested Russian wheat be used for Tehran and American wheat to be used in south of Iran, the Iranians in the capital will be left with impression that Russians fed them with grain and Americans and British with promises.

Iranians while highly suspicious of this sudden generosity have accepted with an expression of gratitude. Iranian official reaction is typified by Shah who in conversation with me on Monday stated frankly he wonders what Russians will now ask in return. Both British Minister and I had conversations with Soviet Ambassador [Page 615] immediately previous to this announcement but neither was given any indication that such a step was contemplated. British Minister feels move is designed primarily to influence Majlis elections referred to in my airgram No. 9, March 20.37

I would appreciate an indication from Department of the amount of cereals shipped to the U.S.S.E. by either the United States or Great Britain under Lend-Lease or other arrangements. Reference is made in this connection to Department’s 299, October 29, 1942.38

Repeated to Moscow.