891.00/10–546: Telegram

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

us urgent

1324. Qavam told me today that his plans to attend UN General Assembly had had to be changed yesterday in view of formal and pressing demand he had just received from Soviet Ambassador for immediate holding of elections. Consequently, he would not be able to leave Iran for the present.

He said that 2 weeks ago Soviet Ambassador had asked him about elections and he had replied that elections were impossible as long as Azerbaijan question was not settled. He requested that Soviet authorities assist him in effecting agreement with Azerbaijan. Soviet Ambassador telegraphed this to Moscow and received reply stating that Qavam’s answer was not acceptable and insisting upon fulfillment of Qavam’s undertaking to submit oil agreement to Majlis. Qavam said that as result of Soviet insistence he had no alternative but to hold elections. He expects royal decree setting date for elections to be issued in few days and elections to be held one month thereafter. Meanwhile, he hopes to come to some kind of agreement with Azerbaijan which he says will return Khamseh province to Tehran but which will leave question of Abzerbaijan Army for further negotiation.

[Page 522]

In reply to my question, Qavam said detailed oil agreement was yet to be drawn up for presentation to Majlis since only agreement in principle had so far been reached. Detailed agreement would have to be worked out between now and date Majlis assembles, which cannot possibly take place before November.

Elections will be rather a farce if held under present circumstances, with serious armed warfare going on in south and with Azerbaijan completely independent and defiant of Qavam. However, any elections held in Iran would probably be rather pro forma affair under best circumstances and Qavam’s principal aim to go through motions satisfactory to USSR. Moscow will apparently be satisfied with any group which will ratify oil agreement. Iranian constitution contains significant provision that Deputies from Tehran and vicinity can form a quorum to convene Majlis under some circumstances.

Qavam denied rumor that he has considered making executive agreement with USSR to enable Soviet petroleum exploration to begin immediately, in exchange for Soviet agreement not to press for early elections. Qavam doubted Soviets would agree since they have sent Sichoff92 to Tehran and have required Sadchikov to defer his leave for month in order to press for elections.

Sent Department 1324, repeated London 162 and Moscow 280.

  1. S. I. Sychev, Chief of the Middle Eastern Division of the Soviet Foreign Office.