Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Middle Eastern Affairs (Minor)

Participants: The Ambassador of Iran
Mr. Acheson
Mr. Minor

Ambassador Ala called today, at his own request, on the Under Secretary. The Ambassador began the conversation by referring to Mr. Acheson’s statement at a press conference to the effect that he believed Russian forces would withdraw from Iran by March 2d. Mr. Acheson replied that the statement was not a formal pronouncement regarding Iran but was made merely in answer to a question. He said that in his view the only proper attitude which the Department of State can take in a matter of this kind is to assume that a friendly power such as Russia will live up to a solemn commitment.

The Ambassador appeared to be satisfied with Mr. Acheson’s clarification and then launched into a recital of the present status of the Iranian case against Russia. He reviewed the background of the dispute and stated that Russia had interfered widely in Iranian affairs during the occupation of northern Iran. He said that it was a violation of the tripartite pact for Russia to prevent Iranian forces from going into northern Iran to put down the disturbance. The Ambassador expressed concern that Russia seems to have in mind introducing troops into Iran or keeping troops there on the basis of the 1921 Irano-Soviet Treaty. The Ambassador said that while the Russians might have used this treaty as a pretext for entering Iran, in 1941, to put out the Germans, but that the Russians could not conceivably invoke the treaty at this time. The pertinent provision of this treaty states that Russia will have the right to introduce troops into Iran if Russia is threatened in Iran by a third power, and then only if Iran proves unable to remove the danger to Russian territory.

The Ambassador regretted that a great deal of confusion seems to have arisen with regard to the presentation of the Iranian case to UNO. He regretted that Prime Minister Hakimi had found it necessary to resign55 since this had introduced a confusing element. He did not know whether the new Prime Minister Qavam would withdraw the case from UNO but he expressed the strong hope that this would [Page 314] not be done. The Ambassador ended the conversation by expressing the hope that the United States will support Iran in this critical time, but he did not ask for any particular commitment in this regard.

  1. The Hakimi Cabinet resigned on January 20.