Interest of the United States in the termination of Anglo-Soviet censorship in Iran

[Anglo-Soviet censorship of telegraphic and postal communications emanating from or coming to Iran was based on the Anglo-Soviet-Iranian Treaty of Alliance of January 29, 1942, and a supplemental arrangement made by the three concerned parties on February 7, 1942. In telegram 450, July 3, 1945, 9 a.m., the Ambassador in Iran (Murray) suggested immediate steps to eliminate Anglo-Soviet censorship and recommended that the Department indicate its interest in the matter to the British Foreign Office (891.918/7–345). In telegram 5601, July 10, 1945, 1 p.m., repeated to Tehran as No. 346, the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) was requested to indicate to the Foreign Office the Department’s interest in eliminating Anglo-Soviet censorship in Iran, a step regarded as “highly desirable in interests of free access to news in this important area” (891.918/7–345).

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In the meantime, Ambassador Murray advised in telegram 458, July 5, 1945, 9 a.m. that he had suggested to the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sepahbodi) the desirability of terminating such censorship (891.711/7–545). In telegram 584, August 2, 1945, 5 p.m., he reported further that the Iranian Foreign Office had sent notes dated July 31 to the British and Soviet Embassies requesting termination of censorship activities (891.711/8–245).

British Foreign Office views were conveyed to the American Embassy in a letter of August 28, 1945, the substance of which was sent to the Department in telegram 8920, August 31, 1945, 8 p.m. The Foreign Office maintained that the British had not exercised political censorship of press messages but had felt it necessary to censor communications regarding military matters as long as the war continued. With the surrender of Japan, the Foreign Office no longer regarded Allied censorship in Iran as necessary or justifiable. (891.918/8–3145)

Ambassador Murray, in telegram 675, September 1, 1945, 8 a.m., reported information from the British Ambassador in Iran (Bullard) that the British and Soviet censors had called on Iranian authorities the previous day at which time the British censor advised of the ending of British censorship controls in Iran and the Soviet censor advised that the Iranians need no longer submit to him any communication to be sent to the United States, Great Britain and their dependencies (891.711/9–145). In telegram 687, September 4, 1945, 4 p.m., the Ambassador reported Soviet censorship of telegrams had ceased the same day (891.711/9–445). The ending of Soviet censorship activities hi Iran was reported in telegram 752, September 21, 2 p.m., from Tehran; for text, see page 415.]