891.00/11–2245: Telegram

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

978. Both Homayunjah and Arfa last night separately informed Embassy Iranian troops still held outside Qazvin by Russians. Arfa added Soviet Commander in Chief General Sovyetnikov had told column commander any attempt to advance would be regarded as attack on Soviet Union. Homayunjah said small delayed unit which had been retained at Karaj has been permitted proceed to join main body but at same time permanent Iranian post at Karaj had been forced to evacuate which leads Iran Minister War to fear Russians want to isolate column.

Homayunjah said he would send note to Russian Embassy last night or this morning demanding reason for Soviet interference with troop movements. He said his conversation evening of November 21 with Soviet Chargé d’Affaires was unsatisfactory as latter asserted action had been taken by Russian military authorities on military grounds and he did not know reasons. Chargé promised to communicate with commanding general but Iran Govt had received no answer up to last night.

Homayunjah said Cabinet has decided to send special mission to Moscow if it can get any indication Soviets would be willing deal with such mission on proper basis. He said Iran Govt has already made tentative approaches on this line but had gotten no encouragement so far. His own opinion is Russians would expect envoys to go prepared to offer “gifts” or concessions whereas Iran Govt’s objective is to learn reasons for Russian hostility.

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Today’s press says Majlis is considering despatch of Parliamentary missions to Washington, London and Moscow.

Press also publishes proclamation issued by Azerbaijanians resident Tehran denouncing those responsible for uprisings and declaring their own loyalty to Iran Govt. Large group Azerbaijanians demonstrated at Majlis November 20 in same sense.

There is no news today of any new developments in Azerbaijan but Arfa said he received message yesterday noon from Iran commander Tabriz saying situation that city was grave and unless reinforcements received soon “all would be lost”. Arfa gave no details except that Tabriz commander said Russians had distributed 10,000 rifles to “civilians”. I am still undecided how to evaluate such reports.

During my conversation last night with Soviet Chargé Iakoubov he denied that there were any disturbances in Azerbaijan (denial that hardly checks with prior statements his subordinates that conditions were upset and it was inadvisable for foreigners to travel in north). He further denied that permission had been refused Iranian troops to move to Tabriz saying Soviet authorities were simply awaiting instructions in premise.

To Dept as 978, Moscow 282, London 89.