890.0145/9–1448: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran

secret   us urgent

869. (Deptel 3521 to London, Sept 4) Aide-mémoire dated Aug 271 expresses Brit desire exchange views re tactics to be employed if Iran should indicate desire raise Bahrein claim before UN. Document, which includes exhaustive historical studies of validity Iranian claim, ends with recommendations that (1) neither US nor UK should do anything to raise Bahrein question in any international forum; (2) US–UK should continue discourage Iran from raising it in any manner; (3) if Iran nevertheless raises the question in UN, Brit hope that it would be before SC rather than GA and that US would take strong line against Iranian claim; (4) if question raised either in SC or GA and it appeared that undersirable resolution might be passed, it would be best to steer meeting towards request for ICJ advisory opinion.

FO historical analyses and independent Dept studies of validity Iranian claim leave little doubt that latter untenable if submitted for [Page 45]impartial judicial decision. However, Dept agrees with FO view that it is impossible to predict with certainty nature of decision of ICJ if question referred for advisory opinion.

We propose to inform UK that we agree in principle with their four recommendations.2

We also wish to suggest to FO that if necessity should arise we would be prepared make parallel formal approach with UK to Iranian Govt along following lines: (1) In our opinion, Iranian claim is wholly untenable both on political and legal grounds; (2) we believe raising Bahrein question would lead to undesirable and fruitless disagreement with US and UK, have markedly unfavorable repercussions in Arab States, and would redound only to benefit of USSR; (3) if Iran should raise Bahrein question before any international forum, we would be obliged strenuously to oppose Iranian claim. While we would not so inform Iran, we would be prepared introduce or support resolution in UN requesting ICJ advisory opinion if Iran should take case to UK.

In our opinion contemplated approach to Iran should not be made unless occasion arises necessitating such action. However, when US–UK proposal re division submarine area Persian Gulf is made known to Iran, it is not unlikely that Iranian official or unofficial reaction may precipitate situation in which contemplated US–UK aproach would be essential. Dept would therefore appreciate urgent comments re proposed reply to UK and suggested US–UK approach to Iranian Govt re Bahrein.3

  1. From the British Embassy, not printed.
  2. For reply actually sent to the British Embassy on September 17, see p. 179.
  3. This telegram was repeated to London. Tehran, on September 16, expressed its entire agreement with the Department’s view on Bahrein and advised that it had “no indications of any immediate plans of Iran Government for bringing matter before UN.” (telegram 1097, 501.BB/9–1648)