The Iranian Minister (Shayesteh) to the Secretary of State

No. 817

Sir: Upon instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran,39 I have the honor to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the difficult situation in which my country is placed as regards imports of essential requirements.

In accordance with the desire of the Governments of The United States and The British Government, a Combined Supply Committee was established at Teheran to study the civilian requirements of Iran and to fix quantities which could be supplied to her within the limitations of the tonnage space available. This Committee’s decisions are, however, not final. Its recommendations are presented for approval to the Middle East Supply Center in Cairo, which in turn presents its views to London and Washington. I may state that Iran is represented on the Combined Supply Committee in Teheran but is not represented on the Middle East Supply Center in Cairo.

The method of procedure of these Committees is very cumbersome and slow. Several months pass before an application is approved [Page 616] and many more months until a license is issued. Even then nothing can be done until mail advice is received in Washington, which takes several more weeks. It will thus be seen that what with difficulties of securing supplies and of obtaining shipping space, almost a year will elapse before the goods reach their destination.

Thus, during the year of 1942 a quota of 35,000 odd tons was fixed for Iran, of which 20,580 tons was subsequently cancelled, leaving a balance of 15,000 tons, the greater portion of which has not yet been shipped, and the quantity which may eventually reach Iran is problematical.

As I feel sure that Your Excellency is determined to see that my country is dealt with justly, and that such a concept of fairness and justice is a fixed policy of your government, permit me to state frankly that my countrymen feel that they have not received just treatment in this respect.

The difficulties connected with the shipping situation during the past year and the early part of this year are fully patent to us, and while admitting that Military requirements are paramount, we feel that of the total quantity of civilian supplies allocated to the Near East a fair proportion has not been allotted to us. For example, I am given to understand that during 1942 about 100,000 tons of space was allotted to the Near East from this country alone, out of which only an infinitesimal quantity reached Iran, although from the point of view of her population and standard of living, Iran is entitled to a larger share than other Near Eastern countries.

Apart from this, the Military forces of three of the Nations responsible for the prosecution of the war are in Iran, and the Government and people of my country are sincerely cooperating with the United Nations.

For these reasons the people of my country expect, subject to the availability of supplies and to the shipping situation, to receive just and fair treatment in respect to the essential civilian requirements of the country. I regret to state that to the contrary this has not been the case.

For example, an American Army doctor who was loaned by the American Government to the Iranian Ministry of Health ascertained the existence of typhus in my country and foreseeing its spread recommended that one million doses of typhus vaccine be dispatched to Iran. The Cairo Committee at first approved of 5,000 doses and subsequently increased it to about double this quantity.

Actually, 100,000 doses of typhus serum for Iran were dispatched by air from the United States, but the consignment was held up in Cairo and not permitted to go forward by the Middle East Supply Center. The Supply Center sent a representative to Teheran to inquire about the spread of typhus in Iran and reported that typhus [Page 617] was at that date not prevalent. Therefore the Cairo Committee thought fit to hold the serum in Cairo at its own disposal. This decision had unfortunate results which are no doubt well known to you. Typhus has spread in Iran and thousands have succumbed to it who might have been saved if the serum had not been held up in Cairo.

Your Excellency will probably be surprised to hear that the Middle East Supply Center intends to allocate only 20,000 tons to Iran for 1943 although the minimum necessary is 300,000 tons. It is obvious that such a reduction in civilian requirements creates conditions which cannot but have an unhappy result.

I will not ask Your Excellency to rely solely upon the information which I receive from my country but I would like you to make a personal inquiry of every American who has been in Iran during the year 1942 and who has witnessed the suffering of my unfortunate countrymen. Apart from the appeal to the humanitarian point of view, the people who are collaborating so eagerly with the United States and whose cooperation is so valuable at this time are expecting better treatment.

In view of the seriousness of the situation, my Government asks me to request Your Excellency to give special consideration to the matter, and bearing in mind the recent easing in the shipping situation to direct that the whole question of the quantity to be allocated to Iran should be gone into anew and a tonnage commensurate with her requirements and the improved shipping situation be allotted to her. Furthermore, that the procedure of the Combined Supply Committee of Teheran and the Middle East Supply Center in Cairo be revised with a view to speeding up the process of getting the necessary supplies to their destination.

Please accept [etc.]

M. Shayesteh
  1. Mohammad Saed.