No. 630
Memorandum by the Acting Chief of the Division of Middle Eastern Affairs (Minor)

Memorandum of Conversation

Subject: Withdrawal of Foreign Forces from Iran.

Participants: The Iranian Minister1
Mr. Loy Henderson
Mr. Harold Minor

The Iranian Minister called today at his request to discuss the question of the withdrawal of allied forces from Iran. The Minister began by giving a résumé of a telegram he had just received from his foreign office instructing him to take this matter up again with the Department of State. The Foreign Minister2 described the unfortunate situation of Iran, a condition of confusion and disruption in which there was no tenure of Government and in which he, himself, did not know how long he would remain Foreign Minister. He was therefore speaking as an Iranian citizen and expressing the viewpoint of Iranians. The Foreign Minister attributed this unfortunate condition of Iran to the presence of foreign troops on Iranian soil and stated that Iran’s situation cannot improve until these forces are withdrawn.

The Iranian Minister elaborated on this theme and urged that the Department do everything possible to bring about the withdrawal of these forces. He further stated that the Iranians are not worried about the presence of American troops on Iranian soil but are very much concerned about the presence of the British and Russians. He believed that the first step must be a declaration, on the part of the British, that they are now ready to depart and suggesting that the Russians take the same course. His view was that as long as there is one British soldier left on Iranian soil, the Russians will not withdraw. In reply to the Minister’s question, Mr. Henderson said that the British have not approached us formally on the subject of withdrawal so that we have no official knowledge of their viewpoint. Mr. Henderson, however, conjectured that the British might desire to remain in Southwestern Iran for the protection of the oil fields and the refinery at Abadan which are essential to the allied war effort. The Minister replied that keeping these troops there is not necessary because the British need have no fear of the Iranians and because the [Page 954] British have troops very near by in Iraq and have their battleships in the Persian Gulf. Mr. Henderson remarked that the American Army continues to operate the air field at Abadan, a vital link in communications to the Far East, and inquired what view the Iranians might take of this operation. The Minister replied that there would be no difficulty on this score and that “one way or another” this matter can be arranged.

The Minister inquired pointedly in closing as to what attitude the Department would take in this matter which, he understood, will be brought up at the next Big Three meeting. Mr. Henderson replied that we are not yet in a position to speak for the Department or for the United States Government in this matter. However, we can state that we view the Iranian request with the greatest of sympathy and wish to do whatever we can to alleviate the situation in Iran.

H[arold] B M[inor]
  1. Mohammed Shayesteh.
  2. Anoshiravan Sepahbodi.