891.00/1–2946: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Stettiniuss) to the Secretary of State

secret
urgent

1064. Personal for the Secretary and the President.

1.
Before the Security Council meeting this morning,64 Bevin informed me that he had talked with Vyshinsky several times in the last couple of days. He felt that Vyshinsky had shown considerable nervousness at the present situation and stated that he showed a new friendliness and readiness to reach agreements. They had discussed the Bulgarian and Rumanian situations and Bevin had concluded from Vyshinsky’s remarks that he was ready to drop the Russian charges regarding Greece and Indonesia if the United Kingdom would make satisfactory concessions in the Balkan situation. Bevin said that he had told Vyshinsky flatly that he would not allow the Iranian situation to be dropped by the Security Council, leaving Britain to stand alone in the dock on the Greek and Indonesian matters.
2.
We also learned from the Iranians before the Council meeting that they had received instructions from their Govt to pursue the case before the Council. The Iranian Ambassador indicated rather vaguely that he had also received authority, if an opportunity developed, to open discussions directly with Vyshinsky. He did not believe that his Govt would negotiate directly with the Russians in Tehran. He felt strongly that any bilateral negotiations which he conducted in London should be pursued under the aegis of the Security Council and in accordance with the Council’s recommendation. He did not want the Council to turn the dispute back to the parties for negotiation and to drop the case in the meantime.
3.
Also prior to the meeting we were given to understand that the Russians would strongly oppose consideration of the case by the Security Council, and would object on various procedural grounds to the procedures which the President had indicated he would follow at the meeting.
4.
At the Council meeting the President proposed that we should hear the Iranian case and the Soviet’s reply, at that point the meeting [Page 321]should be thrown open for discussion of any resolution which any member desired to propose.65 The USSR did not object to this procedure but attempted to reserve its right to object to any consideration by the Council of the substance of the dispute. The Iranian Ambassador thereupon read a long statement of the Iranian case, which contained little that was new. He ended up with a request that the Security Council recommend that the USSR remove its troops from northern Iran by March 2nd, that in the meantime the USSR should permit Iranian security forces to move freely into northern Iran and that it should cease interference in Iranian internal affairs.66
Vyshinsky in reply stated that he would not deal with the substance of the complaint but only with procedural matters which were raised. His main points were (a) negotiations had taken place and the results had been declared satisfactory by the Iranian Govt which for this reason had not pursued the matter further; (b) for this reason the Iranian conflict was not a matter which under the Charter could be considered by the Security Council; and (c) that the Russians had never refused to negotiate and that they are still ready to go on with bilateral negotiations between the parties. He analyzed articles 33, 34, 36, and 37 and contended that none of them applied in this case. He ended by urging that the Council leave this matter for the moment, so that it could be solved between the parties by bilateral negotiations.
5.
The Council decided to adjourn at this point, over Vyshinsky’s objection, after about a 3-hour meeting. At the end of the meeting the President announced that since this was a dispute and since the USSR was a party to it, the USSR would be required under the Charter to abstain from voting on any decisions under Chapter 6. Vyshinsky raised no objection to this.
6.
After the meeting I was advised very privately that the Chinese had been requested by the Iranians to present at the next meeting a resolution suggesting bilateral negotiations between the parties and in addition that contact had already been made between the parties to this end. Am attempting to confirm this.
Stettinius
  1. This meeting of the Security Council took place at 3 p.m. on January 28. Presumably, telegram 1064 was drafted the day before it was actually sent. For the official record of the proceedings of the Security Council on January 28, see SC, 1st yr., 1st ser., No. 1, pp. 31–44.
  2. Telegram 1061, January 29, 1946, from London, reported in part: “After Iranian representative had been invited, without opposition, to sit without vote with SC, Chairman emphasized that this was first time that SC was performing its functions under Chapter VI. Since rules of procedure for its operation under Chapter are yet to be developed, SC would have to proceed on ad hoc basis this time, but should bear in mind that its action would constitute precedent
  3. Ambassador Taqizadeh submitted a memorandum and other documents to the Security Council at this meeting; for texts, see SC, 1st yr., 1st ser. supp. No. 1, pp. 25–73.