The Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Murray) to the Counselor of the British Embassy (Wright)

Dear Michael: We have considered carefully the points raised in your letter of October 11, 1944 (your reference 131/46/44), concerning payment of the Persian railway freight charges for American lend-lease goods transported to Russia.

This matter has been further reviewed in the Department and in a meeting with the Foreign Economic Administration. While the point of view of the British government is appreciated, we cannot escape the conclusion that the question of adjustment of the freight bills for lend-lease shipments to Russia on the Persian railways cannot be settled independently of the other financial issues in connection [Page 390] with the operation of the Persian railways, or of the responsibility of the British and American Governments for the transportation of lend-lease goods across Persia.

It is the opinion of the Department and of FEA that the total contributions of the British and American Governments in connection with aid to Russia in this area must be worked out so as to include the cost of installations, running equipment, maintenance, personnel and similar factors. Once the British and American Governments have arrived at what they feel to be an adequate presentation of their individual expenses, representatives of the two Governments would confer on this matter and a final balance would be struck off.

With this in mind, we have requested the Foreign Economic Administration and the Combined Chiefs of Staff to prepare a statement of the complete American contribution to the aid to Russia program in this area. It is hoped that your Government will do likewise and that when these two accounts have been completed, a joint accounting can be worked out which will be satisfactory to all parties concerned.71

Sincerely yours,

Wallace Murray
  1. In a further letter to Mr. Wright on March 27, 1945, Mr. Murray reviewed the Directive of the Combined Chiefs of Staff under which the southern section of the Trans-Iranian Railroad was being operated and the decision by the War Department that the assumption of responsibility for this operation as agent for the Persia and Iraq Force entailed no new financial responsibilities for the United States (see memorandum of July 29 by Mr. Minor, p. 383). Mr. Murray concluded his letter with: “It appears, therefore, that since the existing arrangement under which the Trans-Iran railroad has been operating depends upon an order issued by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to both the Persian Gulf Command and to Paiforce, the proper channel through which to obtain a decision on the question of responsibility for freight charges is the Combined Chiefs of Staff.” (891.77/3–2745)