891.20 Missions/11

The Chargé in Iran ( Ford ) to the Secretary of State

No. 899

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a letter80 written by Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf,81 the American adviser to the Iranian Gendarmerie, to the War Department concerning certain difficulties he is encountering in carrying out his work in Iran.

The Schwarzkopf Mission has encountered an extraordinary series of ups and downs during its stay in Iran. The long period of being mere advisers with no legal authority to put their reforms into effect finally terminated last December with the signature of the agreement providing for the engagement of this mission.82 Immediately subsequent to that event and for some time thereafter, everything went smoothly for this mission, and Colonel Schwarzkopf upon his return from the United States was delighted and greatly surprised at the cooperation and the eagerness to please that he met in all Iranian circles. He was made Director of the Gendarmerie and his word was said to be final, subject only to the control of the Minister of the Interior.

Several months ago Colonel Schwarzkopf became involved in a struggle with the Iranian Army over the independence of the Gendarmerie [Page 394] in which he appeared to achieve a marked victory, obtaining separation from the Army of all matters pertaining to the promotion, discipline, and pensions of the Gendarmerie. He won this fight against the opposition of the Shah and his advisers and against the advice of several of the more reliable members of the War Ministry. A number of persons felt that the Gendarmerie could not be completely divorced from the Army since in the final analysis, it was upon the latter that the country must depend for security, a security that the Gendarmerie could not possibly hope to achieve by itself. (I must admit that there is much to be said for the argument in favor of a quasi-unified organization to keep the tribes in order and give Iran her great dream of peace and quiet.) Whatever the pros and cons of his argument, Schwarzkopf emerged from the struggle with increased prestige and also with a number of new enemies and a reputation for stubbornness which caused alarm to a number of people, including General Ridley.83

Some time ago Colonel Schwarzkopf reported to me that he was encountering considerable opposition to his reforms from the Under Secretary of the Interior, and he appeared seriously worried about this development. When the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Hajir, returned from London a few weeks ago, he evinced no particular interest in cooperating with the mission and was felt by the members of the mission to be under the influence of his Under Secretary. The matter, as will be seen by the enclosed letter, has come to a head with the complete flouting of Colonel Schwarzkopf’s wishes in the question of the New Year’s promotions. This particular matter is not in itself overly serious, but it does indicate that the appropriate Iranian officials intend to cooperate with the mission only when it is in their interest so to do. This trend will bear particularly close attention since the Gendarmerie mission has since its arrival enjoyed far more popularity in Iran than any of the other American advisory organizations and since the present campaign in the press against the American advisers makes it most inadvisable that any of these men become involved in controversies with their Iranian superiors.

A great deal of Colonel Schwarzkopf’s difficulties arise from his rank, the prestige minded Iranian officials resenting a mere Colonel requesting the attentions usually reserved for Generals and issuing orders which they, who consider themselves his superiors, are supposed to obey. This office has recommended on more than one occasion that Colonel Schwarzkopf be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in order to obtain the prestige in Iranian eyes that he [Page 395] must have for his mission to be a success. I cannot emphasize this matter too strongly and I recommend that the Department take all the steps in its power to convince the War Department of the importance of this promotion. It would also be helpful if Colonel Schwarzkopf’s second in command, Lt. Colonel Boone, were to be promoted to the rank of full Colonel. In addition to the importance of these promotions as far as the success of the mission is concerned, both men are in my opinion fully deserving of raises in rank. As an example of what the mission suffers by the lowness of its chief’s rank, I am enclosing a translation84 of an article appearing in Mihanparastan on March 15 on this subject. If necessary, it might be wise to point out to the War Department the great interest shown by the President in the adviser program at the time of the Tehran conference85 and to remind it that such promotions would be entirely in line with the War Department’s recent change in General Connolly’s directives.

I do not mean to imply in this report that the Gendarmerie Mission has in any way been a failure, which it has not. It still is the most popular of our missions here and still, by the sincerity and ability of its members, is able to make its weight felt in Gendarmerie matters. It must, however, have the full support of our Government and at the present moment this can best be shown by promoting its officers. If, on the other hand, the situation in the Ministry of the Interior deteriorates, I recommend that we give this mission the fullest measure of our support by representations, formal or informal to the Iranian officials involved.

Respectfully yours,

Richard Ford
  1. Not printed.
  2. Former head of the New Jersey State Police, appointed by the Iranian Government to organize the Iranian Gendarmerie (rural police); for previous correspondence regarding the Schwarzkopf Gendarmerie Mission, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 510 ff.
  3. Signed Pt Tehran, November 27. 1943, Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 361, or 57 Stat. (pt. 2) 1262.
  4. Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley was American military adviser to the Iranian Government on matters pertaining to the services of supply to the Iranian Army; for correspondence relating to the Ridley Mission, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 510 ff.
  5. Not printed.
  6. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, footnote 33, p. 469 and editorial note, p. 564.