The Ambassador in Iran (Morris) to the Secretary of State

No. 56

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a translation of a note received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs which states the expectation [Page 363] of the Iranian Government that all American military installations and all surplus equipment in Iran will be turned over to the Iranian Government upon the departure of the American forces.

It will be noted that the language used is somewhat abrupt and seems to take a great deal for granted. The Government does not “request” or “hope”, it “expects”. “It is certain that immovable establishments … will also be ceded to the Imperial Government without demolition.”

The Embassy’s translator was so struck with the phraseology used that he took special pains to render the meanings exactly, at the sacrifice of smoothness in translation.

I assume that this démarche is the first step by the Iranian Government looking toward compensation for Iran’s war-time hardships, as forecast in the Embassy’s despatch No. 37 of September 22, 1944.

The opening paragraph of the Foreign Minister’s communication is a loose and completely inaccurate statement. He did not have any conversation with me stressing the difficulties of Iran and leading up to the expectation that the American forces should leave their equipment here for the use of the Iranian Government. The Foreign Minister did mention to me that when the forces withdrew, the Government would be interested in acquiring such material as it could. I gave him no encouragement whatsoever to think that the United States Government was going to make a present of its military equipment here to the Iranian Government. In fact, the matter was not discussed; it was simply mentioned by the Foreign Minister and I made to him an entirely noncommittal reply. The opening statement in his letter to me is highly overdrawn.

A copy of the enclosed note is being sent to General Connolly, commander of the Persian Gulf Command, for his information. I shall, of course, make no reply to the Foreign Minister, other than a simple acknowledgment, unless instructed by the Department.

Respectfully yours,

Leland Morris

The Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Saed) to the American Ambassador (Morris)

No. 2604

Mr. Ambassador: As I stated in our conversation in view of the privations suffered by Iran as a result of war, the intolerably high cost of living which also is due to war, the method employed in immoderate transactions by certain vendors in the interior of the country, the scarcity caused by the non-arrival of goods, which has always impaired the living condition of the people and the needs of the Government [Page 364] the Imperial Government expects the American forces when leaving Iran to cede to Iran whatever articles and equipment they may have in Iran which on their return they may not consider as essential to take away with them, in case the Iranian Government should need them.

The idea is that the American forces should not take away with them whatever nonessential articles that we may need, especially the various kinds of provisions and medicine, and that they should not sell these articles to private individuals and establishments, but that they should cede to the Government whatever the Government may desire. It is certain that immovable establishments belonging to the American forces in this country will also be ceded to the Imperial Government without demolition. Telegraphic instruction has been sent to the Imperial Embassy in Washington along the foregoing lines asking the Embassy to take up the matter with the appropriate authorities and secure their consent. I also expect Your Excellency to be so kind as not to refrain from affording every necessary assistance to support this design. As to other details which may be in mind for the fulfilment of this view and which may be necessary to discuss, I shall be at Your Excellency’s disposal.

I avail myself [etc.]

Mohamed Saed