891.00/1–2846: Telegram

The Ambassador in Iran (Murray) to the Secretary of State

secret
priority

127. I saw Qavam yesterday immediately after he had received his formal appointment as Prime Minister. He showed me telegram he had just sent to Iran Ambassador London instructing him not in any way to weaken his efforts to have Iranian case considered by UNO but at same time to approach Vishinsky and ascertain whether opportunity offered for direct settlement of Iran-Soviet problems. Taquizadeh was directed to associate Soheily58 with himself in this approach.

Qavam added that he proposed to attempt negotiations with Russians both here and in Moscow and that he further planned to send special mission to negotiate with Azerbaijanians. He remarked he would “tame” Azerbaijanians by giving them Provincial Council. (I understand he does not mean by this that he would recognize present Tabriz Assembly.) In connection proposed negotiations with Soviets I repeated remarks made previously to Shah and Hakimi re possible desirability of utilizing outstanding personalities outside ordinary diplomatic machinery and again pointed to success of such methods when employed by President Roosevelt. Qavam said he believed present Iranian difficulties with Soviets all date from oil crisis of late 1944 precipitated when Prime Minister Saed refused Russian [Page 316]demand for exploration rights in Northern Iran. He asked my opinion as to his proper course if he should be faced with another demand of this kind. I of course declined to give direct answer but recalled in general way President Roosevelt’s advice given Shah in 1943 to effect Iran should not let her oil resources be preempted by foreigners but should endeavor to develop them in such way as to uplift welfare Iranian people. I mentioned that when it appeared our Govt might acquire Saudi Arabian concession, Roosevelt had been insistent we should develop it for benefit of Arabs. I said also that I realized difficulty involved in case of Russians where any concession would have to be granted to Govt since private enterprise did not exist in USSR.

I took occasion to say if Iran Govt should decide to reopen oil concession question we would expect to be notified so American companies could again present their proposals.

Qavam said his original intention had been to defer formation of Cabinet until after he had determined whether Soviets would be willing negotiate with him on satisfactory basis. However, he had decided this might take too long and it would be unwise to leave country without Cabinet for indefinite period. Accordingly I assume he will proceed at once to choose his Ministers.

He said at one point that he would be grateful for any advice Department or Embassy could give him in connection with carrying out of his task.

Sent Department as 127; repeated London 25; Moscow 34.

Murray
  1. Ali Soheily, member of the Iranian delegation at the United Nations and former Prime Minister.