861.24591/3–646: Telegram

The Vice Consul at Tabriz (Rossow) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

41. Soviet troop reinforcements continue arriving night and day by truck and rail from Soviet frontier, and are being constantly redeployed from here. Also yesterday 46 new medium tanks arrived from Soviet Union by rail.

General Bagramian, Soviet Army Commander with spectacular combat record, has arrived and taken command of Soviet troops in Azerbaijan, superseding Lieut. General Glinsky who is only Corps Commander and has no extensive combat experience.

More tanks and truck loads of supplies and troops, mainly infantry and dismounted cavalry, have been departing Tehranward since yesterday (mytel 40, March 5) and Tabriz–Tehran road has been closed indefinitely to non-military traffic because of these movements. Truck loads of Azerbaijan Army troops are also reported departing in same direction in relatively large numbers.

Additional Soviet troops including strong force of motorized infantry have departed southward towards Mahabad and Iraq frontier.

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Previously reliable confidential informant states he was told yesterday by high officer that the two cavalry regiments which left yesterday toward [Mahabad?] and were to be joined by third regiment already in the field and that they were proceeding to Bazorgan on Turco Iran frontier [garble] and Maku. This point governs main accessible frontier to Turkey. [Garble] said this cavalry was not from Tabriz occupation force but had been brought to Tabriz from Russia during past weeks and fitted out here.

Report from recent travellers indicate that Soviet troops already stationed in frontier region have been heavily reinforced in both troops and equipment. It is also reported that large numbers of Kurd Army troops are being moved northward by truck from Mahabad and Rezaieh region to points on Turk frontier.

All Soviet troops departing from here are equipped for combat and there seems noticeable lack in their supply trains of garrison types of equipment. All observations and reports indicate inescapably that Soviets are preparing for major military operations.

Postscript: During encoding a report has come in that another shipment of tanks had arrived from Soviet Union. General Bagramian is said to be specialist in tank warfare.

Sent Dept 41; Tehran 56; Moscow 33; London 21; Ankara 8; Baghdad 6.