891.105A/1–2748: Telegram

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

secret   urgent

94. Genera] Schwarzkopf informs me that new chief of gendarmerie, General Kupal, under Shah’s direct orders, has assumed sole command of gendarmerie, notwithstanding Article 20 of agreement between American and Iranian Governments dated November 27, 1943 (Executive Agreement Series 361) which provides that chief of mission shall be appointed “head” of gendarmerie and have precedence over all officers of gendarmerie. Kupal has assured Schwarzkopf of his desire to cooperate with him closely and to continue use of US advisers but says he must insist on his sole command authority.

Schwarzkopf is pleased with appointment of man of Kupal’s integrity as senior Iranian officer in gendarmerie and is anxious to work with him amicably but feels that usefulness of mission will be seriously impaired unless we insist upon command authority as provided in Article 20. Schwarzkopf suggests informally that situation might be taken care of if Shah would designate himself and Kupal as joint [Page 98] commanders of gendarmerie, with every important order being signed by both.

Incidental difficulties are caused by fact that Kupal is Major General while Schwarzkopf is Brigadier General. During five years he has been here, for example, Schwarzkopf has always been accorded courtesy of drum salute on arrival at office, in capacity of commander. Since Kupal took office, salute has been given to Kupal and not Schwarzkopf. Latter feels matter of prestige is involved which adversely affects respect for all American officers in mission.

In discussing question with Schwarzkopf today I pointed out that agreement of 1943 was drawn up during wartime, shortly after former regime in Iran had collapsed and gendarmerie was in chaotic state. Since our avowed purpose in all advisory activity is to assist local peoples to manage their own affairs, question might arise whether it was not time to renegotiate Article 20 or at least for us not to insist on its implementation. Any controversy over this article which got into press would furnish excellent propaganda material for Soviets as proof that Americans have command of Iranian security forces. Renegotiation last year of agreement for advisory mission to Iranian Army even though that agreement had been much milder than gendarmerie agreement, was decided upon in part to eliminate any question of command authority.

Schwarzkopf points out, with justification, that if command authority of his mission is eliminated, either through renegotiated contract or failure to insist on enforcement of Article 20, he should be replaced by new chief of mission who could begin on new basis of strictly advisory functions.

I do not believe that renegotiation of agreement would be advisable at this time due to misunderstandings and undesirable publicity which would result. If we do not wish to insist upon command authority, it would be preferable merely to allow Article 20 to lapse and to accept advisory capacity of gendarmerie mission, with same relationship to gendarmerie as Ridley1 and Grow missions have always had with Iranian Army.

New Minister of Interior, General Aghevli, seems determined, with backing of Cabinet and Shah, to reduce gendarmerie mission to advisory role. We might get them to give grudging respect to Article 20 by heavy pressure and implications of serious displeasure, but I believe this course undesirable.

Moreover, while many foreigners here feel as Millspaugh2 did, that [Page 99] no adviser in Iran can accomplish much without executive authority, I have come to conclusion that even though progress is slow under purely advisory setup, latter method is surer.

Schwarzkopf would like for me to speak to Shah regarding dual command idea. I would appreciate urgent views of Department, in consultation with War, before taking action. Meanwhile Schwarzkopf and his officers are largely marking time, with my concurrence. They do not wish to accept advisory role while inter-government agreement exists giving them command, and I do not wish to make issue of case until matter has been reviewed in Washington.

  1. Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley, predecessor of General Grow as Chief of the American Military Mission with the Iranian Army.
  2. Arthur C. Millspaugh, American Administrator General of the Finances in the Iranian Government; for documentation on the termination of his appointment in 1945, see Foreign Relations 1945, vol. viii, pp. 538 ff.