891.20 Missions/2–648: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran


131. After studying text of Soviet note Jan 31 and Iranian reply Feb 4 (urtels 147 Feb 6 and 150 Feb 61) we feel that Soviet purposes in sending note at this time may include following: (1) to intensify propaganda in opposition ERP along lines recent notes to US charging American imperialism; (2) to frighten Majlis into defeating US arms purchase credit proposal; and (3) to reverse present tendency of Iranian Govt to orient Iran toward western democracies. There is further possibility Soviets may intend Jan 31 note to serve as “warning” within meaning of Article 6 of Soviet-Iranian 1921 Treaty. If such is the case, Russians might be planning to introduce troops into northern Iran and take the chance that they could make plausible legal case if matter should be brought to UN Security Council.

With that possibility in mind, you should continue your support of Iran’s firm stand against Soviet pressure by suggesting-that Iran Govt file with SYG UN for attention SC Soviet note and Iranian reply2 for purposes of info for members of Council, since SC is still [Page 108] seized of Iranian ease. That procedure would be similar to Iranian action on Dec 5, 1946, when Iranian Govt transmitted to UN, without requesting any action by SC, its letter reporting that Soviet Govt had made “friendly admonitions” to Iran Govt against Iran undertaking to reestablish its authority in Azerbaijan.3

Amb Ala,4 before departure for Arizona on Feb 5, discussed above idea with Wash lawyers employed by Iran Govt during 1946 SC case and is understood to have communicated his recommendation to Tehran.

Iran Govt might wish to study question of whether 1921 Soviet-Iranian Treaty is applicable in present case or even valid at all. After preliminary study, we feel it is probable that Annex Two to 1921 Treaty makes inapplicable Article 6 of that Treaty in present circumstances. Question of whether certain portions 1921 Treaty may possibly have been superseded by UN Charter is under study in Dept. In any event, International Court is the appropriate body to determine applicability of treaties and Security Council is the appropriate body to determine whether any threat to peace does in fact exist.

Sent Tehran, rpt London 439, Moscow 179.

  1. See footnotes 1, pp. 99 and 101.
  2. Mr. Pyman informed the American Embassy that he would advise Ambassador Le Rougetel that the Foreign Office was in entire agreement with the idea of filing the texts at the United Nations and that he would instruct the Ambassador to “say this to any Iranians who might seek his advice on this question.” (telegram 545, February 13, 1 p. m., from London, 891.20 Mission/2–1348)
  3. See telegram 1012, December 6, 1946, to Tehran, Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. vii, p. 554.
  4. Hussein Ala, Iranian Ambassador in the United States.