The Chargé in Iran ( Ford ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 18—9:45 a.m.]
347. Ebtehaj96 of Bank Melli called on May 14 to say he is sure Majlis will soon launch full fledged attack on Millspaugh and that majority of Deputies will join opposition. In support of this statement, he asserted that ability [a bill?] to repeal Millspaugh’s plenary powers had been drawn up recently. Although he said his (Ebtehaj’s) personal intervention through friends had so far prevented its presentation to Majlis, it might at any moment be brought forward. [Page 402] Ebtehaj suggested the best way to meet inpending attack would be for Millspaugh voluntarily to ask to be relieved of his economic administrative duties in order to concentrate on financial side of his work, the economic functions to be transferred to some other American, possibly Black,97 who would be given equal status with Millspaugh.
I do not yet feel able to evaluate this estimate of situation. However, Department may wish to consider certain points which it suggests, namely: 1, possible desirability of urging Millspaugh to shift part of his responsibility, perhaps through appointment of a sort of deputy administrator general of finances to have semi-autonomous control over economic work; 2, possible advisability of having available a suitable replacement for Millspaugh if latter is forced to withdraw. In this latter connection, I do not believe we should allow Millspaugh’s resignation, if matters come to that point, automatically to carry with it resignation and withdrawal of entire mission. With all his fine qualities, I do not feel it need be assumed if Millspaugh fails anyone else must necessarily fail. If Iranian Government expressed desire for continuation of American Mission on terms satisfactory to United States, and if a first class replacement were quickly available, there would seem to be still a good chance of ultimate success.
With reference to Ebtehaj’s mention of Black, it should be explained that publicity given his departure from United States and apparently high position he held in American Government has led many Iranians, including Shah, to speculate that Black is destined to be Millspaugh’s successor.
British Ambassador told me last night he had cabled London regarding dangerous position of Millspaugh Mission and had asked that Foreign Office assure Department of its continued readiness to lend support if needed.