The Acting Secretary of State to Representative Karl E. Mundt, of South Dakota

Dear Mr. Mundt: I have received and examined with interest your letter of December 3, 1945,94 concerning two American military missions, headed by Major General Clarence S. Ridley and Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, which are now assisting the Iranian Government in the organization of its army and gendarmerie.

The following information is in response to the specific inquiries contained in your letter:

(1) General Ridley and Colonel Schwarzkopf, with their respective staffs, are presently in Iran, continuing functions which they have been performing for the past two years or more. The missions which these two officers are directing are being maintained in accordance with agreements entered into between the Government of Iran and the Government of the United States. Copies of these agreements are attached.95

(2) The Gendarmerie Mission became effective on October 2, 1942, for a minimum of two years. At the expiration of this period on October 2, 1944, the agreement was extended and is at present valid until [Page 537] October 2, 1946, unless the termination of the national emergency brings an end to the mission earlier. The Military Mission became effective on March 22, 1943, for the duration of the war or declared national emergency. Both of the agreements are subject to termination at any time by either Government on three months’ notice. Under existing United States legislation, both agreements will terminate automatically with the end of the national emergency. Consequently, existing arrangements do not project the functions of the missions into the normal peace-time era.

The agreements for these two missions were made at the instigation and initiative of the Government of Iran, not of any agency of the American Government. The Department of State, however, considered it appropriate to support the efforts of the Iranian Government to obtain competent advisers to assist in improving the Iranian army and gendarmerie, and consequently recommended to the War Department that the Iranian request for these missions be granted.

(3) The Department of State has been considering, in consultation with the War and Navy Departments, a suggested amendment to existing legislation which would enable the President of the United States, whenever he considers it to be in the national interest, to enter into an agreement with any foreign government for the establishment and maintenance of American military missions similar to those which have been maintained in other countries in the Western Hemisphere during recent years and which are at present maintained in Iran under the direction of General Ridley and Colonel Schwarzkopf. It is expected that the considered views of the Departments of State, War and Navy in this matter will be sent to Congress in the near future.

There has been no consultation with other Powers to determine whether they would approve of the maintenance of American military missions in countries adjacent to them. As regards the missions in Iran, we have no reason to believe that there has been any objection to their maintenance or their activities.

(4) Any American republic is free on its own initiative to request from any country in the world such assistance as the Government of Iran requested of the United States. In this connection, it should be noted that, while for a number of years the United States, in response to requests of most of the American republics, has provided military advisers and missions under contract for terms of service, various American countries have, in the past, requested and received military advisers and missions from European countries. This Government has consistently taken the position that such requests are entirely the responsibility of each of the American states that might be concerned, and for this Government to take an adverse position respecting such decisions would be contrary to the principles both of the United Nations and of the inter-American system.

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The Department is convinced that one of the effective contributions which the United States can make to world peace is through the granting of professional assistance to friendly countries which request our help in improving the organization and efficiency of their agencies charged with the maintenance of law and order. With particular reference to Iran, the technical assistance which we are giving to the Iranian Government is in accord with that policy. With particular reference to the American republics, which as is well known have close bonds of collaboration in all fields, this Government in the future will, as it has in the past, consider most sympathetically requests from such republics for any technical assistance designed to facilitate the military collaboration fundamental to the reciprocal assistance measures of the kind envisaged by the Act of Chapultepec.96

(5) As regards your suggestion that various Great Powers might agree to establish joint military missions to give smaller countries the counsel and military leadership they require, the policy of this Government has been, and continues to be, that no country should be urged against its will to receive foreign military advisers which the country itself has not sought. If Iran or any other country which felt itself in need of a military mission should request a joint mission made up of American personnel and the personnel of any foreign Power or group of Powers, the Department of State would be glad to give sympathetic consideration to any such request which might be received.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Not printed; for text, see Congressional Record, vol. 91, pt. 9, p. 11364.
  2. Agreement signed at Tehran on November 3, 1943, not published; for text of agreement on gendarmerie mission, signed at Tehran on November 27, 1943, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 361, or 57 Stat. (pt. 2) 1262.
  3. This agreement between the United States and other American Republics, contained in the Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, was signed at Mexico City on March 8, 1945. For text, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series 1543, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1831.