The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Iran (Ford)
339. British Embassy has furnished Department copy of Foreign Office telegram (repeated to Embassy Tehran as no. 3557) in which it is stated that Vyshinski58 has informed British Ambassador Moscow that Soviet Government shares with British Government desire to begin as soon as possible negotiations for conclusion of general Allied-Iranian agreement covering use of Iranian railways. While War Department can give no official reaction to this telegram until it has been studied, a responsible official of War Department expresses informal opinion that this development will not alter decision of his Department to refrain from American participation in the agreement. He believes that, while the British and Russians may desire to negotiate an agreement with the Iranians under the provisions of the Tripartite Pact, the War Department should confine itself to making [Page 380] bilateral financial arrangements with British for operation of southern section of railway.
The Department is inclined to believe that our decision not to participate should be re-examined. American participation would tend to establish our status in Iran as coordinate with that of Great Britain and Russia.
Furthermore, continued refusal to enter into these negotiations may be embarrassing or harmful in your coming general conversations with the British and Russians on the broad subject of collaboration.59 You may wish to discuss with General Connolly who will appreciate the necessity of maintaining close relations with our Allies. Your views will be welcome.