Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson)
The Iranian Ambassador came in to see me this morning in order to examine the text of the proposal which had been made with regard to the Tri-Partite Commission to deal with the Iranian problem.
He said that his government had asked him to make his comments with regard to the proposal.
During the course of our conversation he asked me whether the proposal was an American or a British proposal. I told him that it had originally been made by Mr. Bevin but that certain amendments had been made to it by both the Russians and ourselves and that these [Page 296] amendments had been approved by Mr. Bevin and incorporated into the draft which I showed him. The Ambassador asked what the final Russian attitude had been. I said that I had understood that they had decided at the last moment they did not wish to discuss it further at the time.
The Ambassador said that his government desired him to inquire, in case it should agree to the formation of such a commission and such a commission would be formed, whether the American representatives on it would give full support to Iranian sovereignty. I told the Ambassador that I did not believe it would be appropriate for the American Government to give any assurances other than those shown in the document. I pointed out that if he examined the document he would find the reply, particularly in view of the fact that the American Government had amply demonstrated during recent months that when it gave commitments such as those incorporated in the document, that it really lived up to them.
The Ambassador, after examining the documents, said that it seemed to him that there were in it several features rather dangerous for Iran, and that he would appreciate it if I would give him my personal opinion as to whether it would be to the advantage of Iran to agree to such a Commission. I told him that, in the opinion of the Secretary, it would be advantageous for Iran to agree to such a Commission since by agreeing to its formation, the Iranian Government would strengthen its position before the world and might also find a solution of the problems facing it. I added that we did not desire to bring pressure upon Iran to agree to such a Commission since we felt that any agreement of this kind should not be given under pressure.
The Ambassador said that he had received a message from the Iranian Ambassador in London to the effect that the latter had been instructed by his government not to present Iran’s case to the United Nations Organization at the present time. He said that the Iranian Government’s decision had been taken in view of the earnest plea made by the British Ambassador in Iran to the Iran Government not to present the matter to the United Nations until it had become clear that the Russians would not agree to participate in the Tri-Partite Commission. He asked if the American Government had changed its attitude and now desired Iran not to bring the matter before the United Nations Organization.
I told the Ambassador that I wished to make sure that he knew what our position had been and asked him to state his understanding of it to me. He replied that it was his understanding that the United States did not feel that it should endeavor to bring pressure in any [Page 297] way upon Iran in the matter; Iran should decide for itself, in view of all the circumstances, whether it would be advantageous to it to bring the matter before the United Nations.
I told the Ambassador that he had stated what I understood to be the position of this Government and that I was sure that this Government continued to adhere to this position. I said that it was important he should give his government to understand that the Government of the United States was not encouraging Iran to present the case to UNO. The American Government would, of course, be glad if the matter could be settled outside of UNO and UNO would be spared facing a problem of this kind at its inception. Nevertheless, the United States Government was of the opinion that Iran should decide for itself what it should do.21
- In telegram 87, January 18, 1946, 8 p.m., to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Stettinius), at London, Acting Secretary of State Acheson stated: “Iranian Ambassador in call today requested assurance that American delegation to UNO will adopt a friendly and sympathetic attitude toward Iranian case when it is presented to UNO. He was again informed that while we would regret presentation of matters of this kind until UNO is well established, we adhere to our position that members of UNO should be entirely free to bring their problems to that organization. He was assured that American Delegation will treat the question if presented in a fair and impartial manner but that we can give no assurance in advance of attitude we will adopt in any hypothetical case.” (501.BB/1–1846)↩