891.00/11–2345: Telegram

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

981. Desire of Iran Govt to send mission to Moscow as reported mytel 978 Nov. 22 may be outcome of informal suggestions I have made during past several months to various officials and political leaders including Shah, Court Minister Ala and Allahyar Saleh49 as to advisability of attempting to settle difficulties with Soviet Union by means of special envoy of mission. Pointing to relative success of our Govt in dealing with Stalin through special emissaries such as Hopkins,50 I have advanced thought that Iran Govt should be able find some individual whose qualities, experience and possibly knowledge of language would make him especially apt for discussions with Soviets outside ordinary diplomatic channels. This seemed the more indicated since Iran Ambassador Moscow appears to have great difficulty in making satisfactory contact with Soviet FonOff and Iranian FonOff here has similar difficulty with Soviet Embassy.

As alternative I once suggested to Ala it might be good idea for Shah himself to make official visit Moscow. In this way Iran Govt could take advantage his pleasing personality and intelligence and follow up initial personal contact between Shah and Stalin made when latter was here Nov 1943.51 (Ala felt this presented grave difficulties because it would arouse British suspicion but I do not think this an insuperable obstacle.)

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My thought in making these informal suggestions was that experience has shown it is easier to settle matters with Russians when conversations take place on highest levels. Furthermore I think Iran should make extraordinary efforts to arrive at amicable adjustment in its strained relations with USSR if only to strengthen its case with world public opinion. Unless it is shown that Iranians are completely willing to negotiate in friendly fashion, critics, whether friendly or hostile, might say that lack of Iranian good will was cause of tension. Even if an Iranian approach is completely rebuffed as it might well be or if impossible Soviet demands are presented, Iran would at least have (made clear where responsibility lay. Idea of sending mission is evidently under active consideration not only by Cabinet but also by Majlis and political circles generally. It was proposed few days ago by Deputy Shafagh in speech in Majlis and has been echoed in press. One rumor states mission composed of [apparent omission], Minister Roads Firuz and Minister State Saleh is to go while another story lists Qavam es Saltaneh, Sadegh Sadegh52 and Ali Mansur.53 Latter trio would probably be much more acceptable to Russians.

Dept may wish to consider advisability of suggesting to Moscow that despatch of an Iranian mission be encouraged on clear understanding however that conversations would be conducted on basis of complete equality.

  1. Minister Without Portfolio in the Hakimi Cabinet.
  2. Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Roosevelt; for documentation on his mission to Moscow in May and June 1945, see Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. i, pp. 21 ff.
  3. In connection with the Tehran Conference which met from November 28 to December 1, 1943.
  4. President of the Irano-Soviet Cultural Society and prominent Iranian politician.
  5. Governor General of Khorasan.