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

No. 119

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a translation of a Memorandum Note the Embassy has received from the Iranian Foreign Office concerning the operation of foreign airlines in Iran.

This note which was undoubtedly sent to all allied missions in Tehran is believed to be directed almost entirely at the Soviets who, as the Department is aware, last spring opened commercial airlines from Tehran to various points in Iran including Meshed, Tabriz, and Pahlevi and who have been doing a very healthy business on these lines. This note was probably prepared in the last days of the Saed Government8 when it had decided, before expiring, to get off of its chest all points at issue with the Soviets, and it is not believed that it is directed at any present American activity in this country.

I do not believe that Iran intends to withdraw itself ostrich-like from international aviation after the war despite the rather strong language of the note. The Iranians realize that their country may [Page 493] very well become a great center of global airlines and it is unlikely that they will miss the opportunity to profit by such a development although anything is possible when their national pride is offended and it is conceivable that Iran might cut itself off from the rest of the world merely to assert its sovereignty. The last paragraph of the enclosed note, however, is probably nothing more than a reservation of rights and a notice that new negotiations will be required before any foreign air lines may operate in and out of Iran. As far as internal lines are concerned, the note appears quite clear and I believe we may take it for a fact that no foreign airlines may operate solely within the internal limits of the country if the Iranians have anything to say about it, which, of course, they may not.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Richard Ford

First Secretary of Embassy

The Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy

No. 3517


The Iranian Government finds it necessary to bring the following, in connection with airmail transport and passenger service in Iran, to the attention of the Government of the United States of America:

The Iranian Government will not permit the use of its internal airlines to any Government and the present situation which is the result of the presence of the allied forces in Iran should not establish a precedent.

The Iranian Government will renew its internal mail and passenger airlines as soon as the ordered planes arrive in Iran from London and America.

The airlines between Iran and abroad such as Tehran–Moscow, Tehran–Baghdad and Cairo are provisional and based upon the present war requirements.

  1. For correspondence relating to the resignation of Mohammed Saed as Prime Minister on November 9, 1944, see pp. 445 ff.