891.24/2–2648: Telegram

The Chargé in Iran (Somerville) to the Secretary of State


225. Minister War informed General Grow Wednesday that Iran Government, in accordance note one of arms credit law,1 (Embtel 210, February 19) has instructed Ambassador Ala open negotiations in Washington for obtaining funds on credit for packing and shipping arms. Although no specific sum mentioned Ala apparently instructed request sufficient funds cover all costs to Khorramshahr.

Both Minister War and Chief Staff Razmara have taken position that Iran Majlis, in passing arms credit law, has done all it is willing to do in this matter and that it is now up to us to take next step. They emphasize that government had considerable difficulty in persuading Majlis to pass bill in first place and that there is every reason to believe that any further request by Iran army for funds to pack and ship arms would be met in Majlis by absolute refusal. Note one of bill, as passed, was written in by Minister War as concession to Majlis, most of whose members believe, apparently, that this note settles question of packing and shipping inasmuch as they are unable appreciate difficulties in way our advancing necessary funds. Minister War and Razmara, although fully aware of true situation, still hope that we will find some way to make funds available and are attempting build up persuasive argument based on theory that Iran, by passing credit law, irrevocably cast in its lot with US against Soviets.

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Although Embassy does not consider that passage arms credit has significance attributed to it by Minister War and Razmara we feel (Embtel 213, February 202) that overall considerations of our policy towards Iran require that some way be found, if possible, to extend credit for packing and shipping arms in question.

  1. Note 1 of the arms credit law read: “Government is in duty bound enter into negotiations with USA and arrange for payment all costs of transportation, packing, insurance and other expenses connected with purchased equipment and munitions, in same manner and on same installments as provided for in regard to payment of original amount.” (telegram 210, February 19, from Tehran, 891.24/2–1948)
  2. Not printed; it reported General Razmara’s plea “for action by US Government facilitate immediate despatch at least token shipment arms on grounds Iran by passing bill had definitely and publicly cast its lot with US against Soviets and would be grievously disappointed and discouraged if this decisive step failed produce immediate and tangible results.” (891.24/2–2048)