Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Acheson)13

Lord Halifax14 came in to see me today at his request, in the Secretary’s absence. He said that he had a cable from Mr. Bevin15 informing him that the Iranian Ambassador in London16 had stated that his Government wanted to have the Azerbaijan matter put down on the agenda of the United Nations meeting. January 4 is the last date on which items could be added to the Agenda. Lord Halifax said his Government wanted this Government to instruct Ambassador Murray to join with the British in urging the Iranian Government not to do this.17 The only reason that the British had for urging this joint action was that the possibility of the Soviets’ joining the proposed Tripartite Commission on Iran would be defeated by the proposed Iranian action.

I told the Ambassador that I felt that the Secretary would not feel that we could justify any such action on our part, but that I would [Page 294] discuss the matter with the Secretary and call him back again this evening.

I called the Secretary at home and told him of the Ambassador’s proposal and that Mr. Henderson18 and I felt we should not join with the British in this matter. I also said that last night we had sent a cable to Murray denying press reports that the British and United States Governments were holding conversations looking toward recommendations to Iran not to take this matter up in the United Nations meeting. The Secretary replied that we could not possibly urge Iran not to bring the matter up if they wished to do so. In view of the lapse of over a week since the Secretary’s departure from Moscow and in the absence of any statement from Molotov that the matter was being reconsidered, the Secretary felt that we had no basis to believe that the Soviets would join the proposed Commission.

Subsequently I called Lord Halifax and told him that I had talked with the Secretary, who instructed me that we should not make the representation to Iran, and that to do so would be to take on a responsibility which we should not assume. He also felt that if the Soviets were going to join in the proposed Tripartite Commission they would have done it before this.

Lord Halifax said that he had thought that this would be our reaction and that he would inform London of our decision.

Dean Acheson
  1. The substance of this memorandum was sent to Tehran in telegram 5, January 4, 1946, 1 p.m. The telegram was repeated to London, Moscow, and Ankara.
  2. The British Ambassador.
  3. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Seyid Hassan Taqizadeh.
  5. Formal British views on this matter were set forth by the British Embassy in an aide-mémoire of January 7, 1946, not printed (761.91/1–746).
  6. Loy W. Henderson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs.