761.91/6–248: Telegram

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


604. There has been new exchange notes between Iran and USSR concerning border incident reported Tabriz telegram 23, May 20.1 [Page 150] Iranian Government protested attempted border crossing at Quhlan, Iranian village on Araxes River.

Following are pertinent paragraphs of Soviet reply:

“Local investigation on the subject shows the following to be the truth of matter:

On May 7 at midnight shooting started in an Iranian village called Quhlan, opposite the Soviet frontier guards zone of action in Nakhichevan-Maghrin on the Iranian frontier. During the course of the shooting, some bullets fell on Soviet territory. The shooting ended at 2:15 a. m. after a red projectile was seen over Iranian territory. The chief Soviet frontier guard protested against the shooting which was directed toward Soviet territory. This protest was lodged with the chief Iranian frontier guard in the Julfa region. Therefore, the statements of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning an armed aggression upon Iranian territory are not based upon correct information.

The Soviet Embassy in Iran rejects the unfounded protest of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs and insists that the question of the shooting in the direction of Soviet territory be investigated and the culprits be punished.”

Iranian Government has subsequently countered Soviet reply with another note stating that it has proof that skirmish started from Soviet Union in fact that cartridges of Soviet manufacture were found on Iranian territory afterwards.

Sent Department 604, Department pass Moscow as 34.

  1. Repeated to the Department as Tabriz’ No. 10; it reported information that “five or six days ago approximately thirty immigrants (probably refugee democrats) tried to cross border from Soviet at point near Seyehr. Iranian Army Captain was seriously wounded and one soldier killed and a few others wounded. An undetermined number of the immigrants were killed and they were forced back to the Soviet side. Immigrants were armed with automatic weapons.” (761.91/5–2048)

    Tehran, on June 15, reported information from Chief of Staff Razmara that on June 11 a “Lightly held Iranian frontier blockhouse near Khordaaferin was attacked at about 10 p. m. Immediately thereafter machine gun fire came from Soviet side of Araxes River.… after considerable shooting attacking parties returned to Soviet side of river.” (telegram 653, 761.91/6–1548)

    A further violation of the Iranian frontier took place on June 20 at Kholan, the scene of a previous violation some five weeks before (telegram 694, June 22, noon, from Tehran, 891.00/6–2248); and on June 25, an armed band crossed the Araxes River near the frontier post Baba Yaghoub but were driven off (telegram 733, June 28, 3 p. m., from Tehran, 761.91/6–2848).