The Ambassador in Iran (Murray) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11:43 p.m.]
92. During interview January 19 with PriMin I expressed to him (as I did some time ago to Shah) my personal view that Iran Government should try to make direct contact with Azerbaijan dissidents utilizing for this purpose some of outstanding Azerbaijanis resident in Tehran, three of whom are Cabinet members. I pointed out that Azerbaijan “Prime Minister” Peshavari had repeatedly declared his willingness to negotiate with central government and that it might be well at least to test his sincerity. I stressed danger that failure of central government to make some sort of move toward settlement would give Tabriz leaders motive and pretext for declaring complete separation from Iran and requesting Soviet protection. I mentioned Rossow’s report that silence of Tehran Government was discouraging Azerbaijan population and facilitating task of extremists who seemed to be working for final break. Hakimi was at first reluctant to attempt anything on grounds that Azerbaijan “government” is completely under Russian domination and so terrorized it could not come to any reasonable agreement. He asserted members of rebel government are scoundrels and pointed out Governor General Bayat had attempted conciliation in early December with complete lack of success.[Page 306]
I agreed that his objections might be well taken but urged that public gesture would have good effect on local Azerbaijan population by demonstrating it was not being forgotten by central government. It would also show world that Iran Government was doing what it could to solve own problems. Some benefits were to be expected even if negotiations came to nothing. PriMin agreed with this view and said he would let it be known through press and radio that Government would be willing receive representatives from Tabriz. He felt and I concurred that conversations could best be conducted in freer atmosphere of Tehran.
Sent Department 92 Moscow 29, London 16.