891.00/11–2545: Telegram

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

998. British Vice Consul Lang arrived Tehran yesterday by Intourist plane from Tabriz and brought pouch from Ebling including his telegram No. 9 to Dept63 which we despatched last night. Summary of situation as derived from Ebling’s written reports and Lang’s oral statements follows:

“Democratic Party” is in control most towns and rural districts comprised in rough triangle formed by Sarab, Mianeh and Bukan (south of Miandoab). Govt offices generally are functioning but under party direction. Party patrols control main roads, search passengers and occasionally requisition vehicles but there has been relatively little bloodshed. Lang guesses perhaps 20 persons have been killed. Chief party hostility directed against gendarmes who have been largely disarmed and disbanded in districts under party control. British Consul visited Mianeh November 22 and found all quiet there.

[Page 455]

No disturbances Tabriz and none reported western Azerbaijan.

Soviets taking no open part in movement but reported to have discouraged Iranian Commander Tabriz from making any move to put down party groups.

Central Committee of Democratic Party calling itself “National Congress of Azerbaijan” established Tabriz and is more or less directing activities in outlying areas although disclaiming responsibility for any extreme acts. On November 23 Congress presented to American, British and Soviet Consuls declaration setting forth policies and aims of party. Salient points are:

Azerbaijan claims right of self-determination under Atlantic Charter and is determined to have Democratic regime and full cultural autonomy.
With this aim people of Azerbaijan want to form own “national govt” within framework of Iranian State electing at same time their representatives to Tehran Majlis.
Deny they wish to separate from Iran.
“National Congress” is composed of 20 delegates and supported by signatures of 150,000 people.
Congress has appointed governing board of 30 persons which has been authorized to take steps to assure the “national aims” conduct elections for Govt of Azerbaijan and deputies to Tehran Majlis and negotiate with central Govt for peaceable realization of Azerbaijan self-administration.
Congress desires avoid conflict but if central Govt attempts to defeat its aids [aims] by force Congress and people Azerbaijan will fight to last. Governing board has no authority to relinquish power of self administration of Azerbaijan.

Lang says Congress is expected to hold elections about December 3.

Full text declaration by mail.64

To Dept as 998, repeated Moscow 290, London 95.

  1. Dated November 20, not printed.
  2. Despatch 164, November 26, 1945. In this message, the Ambassador stated: “I think the Department will agree that the most interesting feature of the declaration is that it presents what amounts to a demand for complete autonomy. Although any intention to separate from Iran is specifically denied, the effect of the announced platform, if realized, would be scarcely less than the independence of Azerbaijan, subject to the merest shadow of Iranian authority. It is particularly interesting that the local bodies which have been set up or whose creation is proposed are referred to as ‘national’ organizations and that the local ‘National Government of Azerbaijan’ is to be elected from the members of the local legislature and to be responsible to it.” (891.00/11–2645)