711.91/2–448: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


361. In view Tehran tel 12 Jan 28 to London1 and previous reports indicating Iranian misconception of American-Brit relations with respect to Iran, we wonder whether it might not serve useful purpose for Dept and American Amb Tehran to inform appropriate Iranian officials informally but emphatically that there is no rivalry between Brit and US in Iran and that policy of both countries is based simply on desire see Iran maintain independence and solve its internal problems free from foreign intervention. In making such informal statement we would propose emphasize that Iran Govt would make great mistake in basing any part its policy on supposition of conflict between US and UK. We do not suggest however that statement include any specific reference to Bahrein.

Would like views London FonOff2 and American Emb Tehran3 this suggestion.

Sent London as 361: rptd Tehran as 106.

  1. This was a repeat of 101 from Tehran, not printed.
  2. London, on February 9, advised that the Foreign Office welcomed the suggestion in telegram 361. In its view, the “Iranian character is such that any ail-American or all-British enterprise in Iran … will be conceived as having been brought into being only in teeth other countries [country’s] opposition. However, only impractical joint Anglo-American enterprises would scotch such thinking and informal statements of kind contemplated by Department (perhaps repeated at appropriate intervals) in addition to intelligent day-by-day coordination on all levels in Washington, London and field, might help restrain Iranian fancies.” (telegram 485, 891.20 Missions/2–948)
  3. Tehran replied on February 6 that “Statement to Iran officials that no rivalry exists between US and UK in Iran would not be entirely warranted in fact and 1 doubt that any notification, along this line would be of much use in any case. Iran[ian]s would not put great confidence in a mere statement of this kind, being more impressed by US and UK actions in Iran than by declarations of US–UK friendship.” (telegram 148, 711.91/2–648)

    The Department, on February 19, replied in part as follows:

    “Although certain Brit officials in Iran in past may have followed policy of combatting growing prestige of US, we are not aware existence any rivalry at present other than normal commercial competition. Both Brit and ourselves are earnestly endeavoring eliminate vestiges which might remain of mutual destructive rivalry. . . . It would be unfortunate for Great Britain and US in present critical situation in Middle East to allow themselves to be played off against each other. We shall of course defer to your judgment if you feel action along lines suggested would be ineffectual.” (telegram 164, 711.91/2–648)