891.20 Missions/2–648

The Iranian Prime Minister (Hakimi) to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union in Iran (Sadchikov)1

I have honor acknowledge receipt Your Excellency’s note 21 dated January 31, 1948 and in reply beg state:

Information which Government USSR has obtained regarding matters mentioned note under reference is entirely unfounded and devoid of truth for following reasons:
Although everything in aforementioned note refers purely internal affairs Iran and Imperial Government cannot admit such interference by foreign power, nevertheless inasmuch Imperial Government has always earnestly hoped and desired no misunderstanding whatever should exist between Iran and USSR but on contrary friendship and good neighborly relations between two governments should continue increasing in strength and cordiality, I therefore desire bring your attention following points relating contents aforementioned note in order clarify impressions Your Excellency’s mind and in minds authorities USSR and thus avoid misunderstandings which might arise as result unfounded and false reports.

In agreement concluded October 6, 1947 for renewal contracts number of American officers these officers were given no right whatsoever to command or intervene in field activities. Their assignment is limited to advising in administrative affairs of army such as Quartermaster and Medical Corps etc. without their having any command authority. Furthermore, American advisors are not in any way authorized participate [Page 102] internal activities Ministry War or General Staff Iran Army or similar organization and contrary to statements Your Excellency’s note, American Government has not been granted exclusive right install American military officials key positions.

American officers in no way participate in equipping Iran Army and it is obvious Iran Army like other armies of world needs obtain modern arms for which purpose annual appropriation provided every year in budget War Ministry. Before recent war arms were purchased from various European countries. During war not only was work of equipping army halted but serious losses were suffered this respect by Iran Army and USSR Government better aware this fact than anyone else. Therefore, immediately upon termination hostilities Imperial Government Iran decided make up these losses. In pursuance this aim it approached those Governments which might be in position sell military equipment. Government USSR was one of those so approached. Unfortunately Government USSR quoted prices for arms inacceptable Iran Government. Only government whose offer was acceptable was USA. Iran Government has therefore in order safeguard interests of country, decided meet small fraction its army’s deficiencies by making purchases from USA.
General Grow does not interfere administrative affairs of army inasmuch as fortunately Iran Army has its own officers capable drawing up necessary programs for army organization. Information USSR authorities this connection is completely unfounded and devoid of truth.
Iran Army regulations are entirely Iranian in character and have undergone no alteration whatsoever. Even in event Imperial Government considered their revision necessary it has sufficient number army officers undertake this task and complete it satisfactorily. Information received by USSR Government this connection is completely unfounded and devoid of truth.
American officers in the service Iran Government have in no way right interfere in program Iran war industries and therefore information obtained by Soviet Government is devoid of truth.
Notwithstanding fact Imperial Government has every right construct airfields in any part its own territory and cannot allow any foreign government interfere such matters, I cannot refrain expressing astonishment with regard vast airfield at Qum mentioned your Excellency’s letter. Fact is in Qum area there is only one very small airfield which has existed for considerable time and which cannot be used for any military purpose. There is no other airfield in that area much less a vast airfield furnished with American equipment and exceeding limits Iran aviation requirements.
Neither Iranian Army nor gendarmerie can employ American officers in excess of number approved by Majlis and number of these is at present less than legally authorized. As regards nonmilitary air services and other similar establishments there are according to information received, no American officers working in said services or such establishments. It is possible that under freedom provided by Iran law certain non-governmental establishments may have foreign employees, but as has been mentioned above, interference by foreign [Page 103] government in questions of this nature is considered interference Iran’s internal affairs.
Number of barracks in Tehran and even throughout Iran is public knowledge and all these barracks are in hands of Iran Army. Except for a few who are employed by Iran Government there is not a single American soldier either in barracks or anywhere else in all Iran, and Imperial Government has not allowed and will not allow foreign soldiers of whatever government to enter Iranian territory. The phrase “military city” in your Excellency’s letter refers apparently to Amirabad which was used during war as American Army camp and which is now used by Tehran University and instead of being a military city constitutes the university quarter and residence of students. It is source of great astonishment that errors and reports of this sort which are devoid of truth should merit confidence and trust of Soviet Government.
After foregoing statements made by Imperial Government only to remove all misunderstandings and strengthen friendly relations and good neighborliness with USSR Government, I feel bound point out Soviet Government’s deductions from unfounded and false reports unfortunately interpreted as facts in Your Excellency’s letter as well as conclusion derived from these imaginary “facts” are as unfounded and devoid of truth as reports themselves. As Imperial Government does not in any way allow foreign nationals to travel in areas which are declared prohibited zones, Imperial Government will not grant such permission to its own employees who are not Iranian subjects. Moreover, no Iranian aircraft has flown or will fly over frontier points for any purpose much less for purpose of aerial photography. I also feel compelled express certain incontrovertible truths and invite attention USSR Government to them.

When Soviet Forces were in Azerbaijan in accordance Three Power Pact of January 30, 1942, Soviet authorities did not abstain rendering all material and moral assistance to group opportunists and traitorous elements who under guidance Soviet officials rebelled against Central Government. When Soviet authorities ceased protecting them inside Iran and they were forced on December 11, 1946 to flee before the rage of inhabitants of Azerbaijan and fury of Iranian public, Soviet Union opened its frontiers to these elements and afforded them refuge on Soviet territory. According reliable and incontrovertible information received by Iran Government these elements are still being supported and strengthened as is apparent from tone of Moscow and Baku radios as well as clandestine radio which is undoubtedly somewhere in Caucasus and broadcasts under name Democrat Party Azerbaijan. Moreover, incessant movements of Soviet Troops frontier posts and maneuvers carried out by Soviet Forces in border regions (against which Iran Government has protested) completely confirms this policy of Soviet authorities. Friendly relations existing between Iran and USSR required that Soviet Government accede Iran Government’s request in [Page 104] note No. 4825 (December 19, 1946) for extradition these opportunists and traitorous elements prevention their activities along frontier which caused anxiety all people Iran especially inhabitants border towns.

In addition at time when number of highwaymen and brigands under leadership Mullah Mustafa Barzani, man who served as General with insurgents during Soviet occupation Iran, plundered and murdered, they did so confident of support Soviet Government. When they sought refuge in Soviet territory after Iran Government had informed Soviet authorities in advance and earnestly requested that these highwaymen be denied refuge, Soviet Government unfortunately took no action upon this legitimate request Iran Government. On June 13, 1947 at Qaraqoyun the aforementioned highwaymen crossed Araxes River with assistance Soviet frontier guards and are now being entertained and supported on Soviet territory. You will agree Soviet conduct with respect to fugitives of December 1946, namely, Pishevari and his accomplices and also fugitives of June 1947, namely, Barzani highwaymen protection currently extended to them permission granted them form groups in Soviet territory with intention invading Iranian territory and facilities placed their disposal including various kinds propaganda material designed disturb minds of people and even upset relations between two governments are in direct contradition Articled of Friendship Pact concluded February 21, 1921 between Soviet and Iran Governments.

In stating above facts I deem it necessary also point out to Your Excellency not only is there no violation of agreement of February 21, 1921 in extension of terms of service of a few American officers who were employed during and since the war as advisor aid to army and gendarmerie but there is nothing unusual in this situation and no consort with aforementioned agreement. This measure is an internal affair and discussion of it will be considered as open interference in affairs of an independent country. Iran Government on the other hand expects USSR Government will, with view strengthening friendly ties and good neighborliness between two countries pay special attention to unfriendly activities against security of Iran now being carried on inside that country by certain opportunists and highwaymen thus complying with legitimate request of Imperial Government.2

  1. Transmitted to the Department by Tehran in telegram 150, February 6, which contains the following opening sentence: “Following is text Iranian Prime Minister’s reply of February 4 to Soviet Ambassador’s note January 31:”
  2. Telegram 150 concluded with “(End text).” and was signed by Ambassador Allen. Tehran advised, on February 6, that the forceful character of the Iranian reply was due to its having been drafted principally by Chief of Staff Ali Razmara. The Ambassador concluded that “Iran had nothing to lose by making forthright reply inasmuch meek acceptance of Soviet reproaches would not stave off any action Soviets had already decided to take.” The Ambassador also gave his view that the “Soviet note was deliberately timed to block Majlis ratification of arms credit” (telegram 145, 891.20 Missions/2–648).