891.24/2–948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran

secret   us urgent

129. Coincident with receipt urtel 156, Feb 9,1 Iran Emb informed Dept bill as reported from committee to Majlis made arms credit authorization conditional upon receipt credit assistance from US to cover packaging and transportation. Emb asked informally re possibility such help.

[Page 109]

Dept informed Hedayat2 and First Secy Aram no legal channels exist allowing expenditure funds such services even if National Defense or State Dept had money available which they do not. Dept stated little hope legislative program covering such purpose getting separate attention from Congress in view ERP and domestic issues, and certainly not before expiration priority date Feb 26.

Hedayat referred to Iranian reply Feb 4 to Soviets and stated that tone used in denying interference indicated to him existence new high point in Iranian desire express independence. He, therefore, felt this propitious moment to tell Majlis that American help for these services should not be asked and that Iran Govt should press for passage of bill without conditions. After Majlis approval, legal agreement would exist between Govts and Iran Govt could then consider whether it were necessary to ask for help in implementation. Hedayat stated he would cable recommendation to General Staff to press for action along above line.

Dept agreed unconditional passage most desirable and re-emphasized that if Iran really wanted US material, it should make every effort meet subsidiary expenses in face of approach expiration date. We indicated we did not want to hold out false hope for future assistance in meeting these costs. If help were promised and then not given, charges were certain to be made in Majlis that bill had been ramrodded under false pretenses. At best, any indication that the US might possibly be able arrange such help might further delay Majlis action beyond expiration date.

Hedayat is exploring possibility of using Brit ships in transporting this equipment thereby cutting dollar outlay.

Suggest you tell appropriate Iran officials that passage of bill with binding condition might completely destroy possibility of implementing agreement.

  1. Not printed; it conveyed Ambassador Allen’s views that “If Majlis passes American arms purchase bill in face of strong Soviet note intended specifically to block such action it will represent courageous stand by Iran[ian]s and believe we should recognize it Prominent Iran[ian]s have pointed out to me that Iran has shown its loyalty to American cause even more boldly than Turkey has since they allege Turkey would never admit American military advisor in Turkish army partly for nationalistic reasons but also partly because Turkey did not wish to antagonize USSR further. They point out that Iran on other hand has been willing to suffer most strenuous Soviet official and propaganda attacks due to presence of American advisors here and has come strongly to support of the advisors in reply latest Soviet note. I believe this argument has some merit …” (891.24/2–948)
  2. Maj. Gen. Abdollah Hedayat, Chief of the Iranian Military Purchasing Commission in the United States.