The Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Iran 1

In presenting its compliments to the Embassy of the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Imperial Iranian Government desires to bring the following to its attention:

According to information which we have received, Professor Steinberg in continuation of statements made on November 22 [28] of last year,2 has likewise given a lecture in Moscow on the 18th of March of this year in which he made certain statements regarding the policy of the Imperial Government, developments in Iranian Azerbaijan, the influence of the Americans, etc. and without any basis whatever attributed certain actions to Mr. Hakimi, Prime Minister of Iran, identifying him as an old enemy of the Soviet Government. He said notably that Mr. Hakimi is continuing his previous unfriendly attitude toward the Soviet Government and that the Americans are striving to gain control of the oil of Northern Iran and to transform the territory of Iran into a second Greece. The speaker added that Mr. Hakimi wishes to convert Iran into a military base against the Soviet Union.

The professor in question concluded that in following this policy Iran is playing with fire, that the Soviet Government cannot remain indifferent and that it will not permit the existence on its frontiers of a government serving as a military base for attack on Soviet territory.

The fact is, unfortunately, that in spite of the statements made repeatedly by the Imperial Iranian Government to the Embassy of the Soviet Union relative to the independent and national policy of the Iranian Government and the explanations given regarding the employment of American advisors in the Iranian Government and the policy of the Imperial Government regarding the oil of the North, the previous unfriendly and unjustified attitude toward the policy of the Imperial Iranian Government is still being followed.

It is likewise confirmed that certain known persons and circles connected with the great and friendly government of the U.S.S.R. have made statements without any foundation and contrary to truth.

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Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Imperial Government finds it necessary to bring to the attention of the leaders of the Soviet Government the following points:

Everything that has been published, said or broadcast by the Soviet press and radio and by Professor Steinberg regarding the personal enmity of Mr. Hakimi, the present Iranian Prime Minister, is absolutely unfounded and untrue. In 1919 Mr. Hakimi was not a member of the cabinet of that time and made no personal statements regarding the Soviet Government.
Certain statements attributed to Mr. Hakimi, similar to those which are current even to this day, are nothing but obvious distortions of contemporary history.
The policy of the Imperial Government of Iran has always been based on the protection of the interests of the Iranian people and of its national and historic unity, and upon the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the country. Moreover, Iran’s neighbor states have on several occasions officially and by treaty confirmed these facts.
It is obvious that the Imperial Iranian Government will never abandon this policy.
The allegations of Professor Steinberg to the effect that the Americans are striving to gain control of the oil of Northern Iran are absolutely unfounded and untrue.
Moreover, as the leaders of the Soviet Government already are aware, and as we have reminded them on several occasions, the Iranian Government, under the provisions of clearly-defined legislation, is prohibited from handing over its petroleum resources to any foreign government.
The engagement of foreign advisors from non-adjacent countries, to which the friendly neighborly country keeps referring, does not prove that the Iranian Government has abandoned its policy, but rather indicates the continuation of this same policy of protecting the interests of the nation.
Moreover for more than a hundred years as a result of the encroachments and unfriendly attitude of the Czarist Government toward Iran, the violation of the independence and sovereignty of the Iranian nation as well as economic oppression, this policy has always been pursued and maintained by the Iranian Government and likewise has been confirmed by the Soviet Government in the terms of the treaty of friendship of 1921.
As regards the presence of a few American employees and their advice regarding the administrative affairs of the Ministry of War, the Iranian Government never expected that there would be such unfounded statements and uncalled-for allegations as have emanated [Page 124] from a person like the professor in question or Soviet broadcasters and editorial writers.
Therefore, the claims of Professor Steinberg and the propaganda which is constantly being put out to the effect that the territory of Iran is becoming a military base against the Soviet Union are unfounded. The Imperial Iranian Government has not permitted and will not permit a few foreign employees, much less any foreign government, to transform Iran into a base for attacking or unleasing an aggression against another country.
The Iranian Government has in no way subjected itself, and never will, to the point of view of any foreign government either in the conduct of internal affairs or in the establishment of foreign political relations.
The aim of the Iranian Government is to adhere sincerely to the charter of the United Nations, and to maintain friendly relations with all governments, especially with its neighbors.
And it cannot be supposed that any government whatever, unless it feared that its sovereignty and territorial integrity were in danger, could incline toward any other policy.
Another argument employed against the policy of the Imperial Government is the question of the loan from the government of the United States. It is quite evident that the act of borrowing from another government does not signify submission to the point of view of the latter. Many governments, large and small, including the government of the Soviet Union, have contracted and are contracting such loans from other countries.
As has been stated in writing and verbally both in Tehran to the Embassy of the Government of the Soviet Union and in Moscow to the leaders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Iranian Government now affirms explicitly that in Iran there is no unfriendly attitude toward the Government of the great neighbor and friend with which it has contracted a treaty of friendship.
It is and always has been its desire to maintain the most friendly and good-neighborly relations with the government of the great friend. At the same time, just as is the case in all countries, especially in the great country of the Soviet Union, the preservation of this friendship on the part of the two governments is dependent upon reciprocal conduct; and whenever the leaders of the Imperial Government of Iran have been obliged in certain cases to defend the interests of the time-honored Iranian people, they have acted in conformity with their national and official duty and with the responsibility which they bear before the country and its history, and not through any special hatred or enmity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Imperial Iranian Government, in pointing out the foregoing, strongly hopes that the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will bring these considerations promptly to the notice of the great leaders of the Soviet Government and will draw their attention to the facts mentioned and will request them to take energetic measures to bring to an end this ill-disposed and untrue propaganda, which you will agree is harmful to the friendly relations of the two countries and contrary to the declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization of June 26, 1945.

  1. Translation by the Embassy in Iran based on version appearing in the Tehran press; transmitted to the Department by Tehran in despatch 108, April 15. An earlier rendition, also based on the version appearing in the press, was transmitted by Tehran in telegram 326–A, March 30, not printed (761.91/3–3048).
  2. A summary of the lecture of November 28, 1947, had been transmitted to the Department by Moscow in despatch 12, January 5, 1948, not printed (861.9111/1–548). The lecture was entitled “Soviet-Iranian Relations and the Intrigues of British-American Reactionaries”.