The Iranian Prime Minister (Hakimi) to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union in Iran (Sadchikov)1
Your Excellency’s letter of 24th March, 1948 which was in reply to my note of 4th February has been received. I regret that the leaders of the Government of the U.S.S.R. paid no attention to the considerations set forth in my last note.
As I have already pointed out in my previous note, all the statements mentioned in your Embassy’s note of 31 January, 1948 concern fundamentally and absolutely the internal affairs of Iran and the government of His Imperial Majesty of Iran is perfectly free and independent to adopt any decision for the improvement of conditions in the country and the arrangement of the different institutions of the Government.
You will agree that any expression manifested by any foreign government concerning these affairs should be considered as an interference in the internal affairs of this country of Iran. Moreover, the Government of the U.S.S.R. has, in conformity with article 5 of the treaty of friendship dated 26 February 1921 and the pact of non-aggression and neutrality of 1st October, 1927, explicitly undertaken to abstain from this kind of interference and if I in reply to Your Excellency’s note, am giving some explanation in this matter, it is only because of the friendship between the two countries and merely in order to remove any misunderstanding on the part of the leaders of the friendly and neighbor government.[Page 128]
Concerning the renewal of the contract of employment of a number of Americans in the Iranian Army, I consider it unnecessary to make any further explanation or to repeat what I have already said in my previous note. But I am astonished that such a simple and clear question should cause so much comment, even to the extent that the esteemed leaders of the Soviet Government have found it necessary to point to the events of 1941, and in particular to state that in that year the government of Iran endeavored to deny that foreign agents were active against the Soviet Union.
It is extremely regrettable that the Government of the U.S.S.R. pays no attention to the obvious truth that apart from the fact that at that time there were no armed forces of any foreign government in Iran which had the intention of attacking the government of the U.S.S.R., there was in any event, not the slightest ground for resorting to the 1921 treaty. Until June, 1941 relations between Germany and the Government of the U.S.S.R. were not such as to cause the leaders of the Soviet Government to feel any anxiety with respect to the German citizens in Iran, and from June 21 to August 25 of the same year, when foreign troops entered Iran, no change occurred in the policy of Iranian neutrality. Consequently, considering the text of the letter dated December 12, 1921 (No. 1600), of Mr. Rotstein,2 the Plenipotentiary representative of Soviet Russia in Iran, to resort to articled of the treaty of February 26, 1921, was nothing but a pretext. Moreover, as it became clear to everyone, it was intended only for the purpose of making use of Iranian means of communication and expediting the allied aid to the U.S.S.R.
As to the refutation of my statements on the Azerbaijan incidents, I am obliged—although I wished to avoid any mention of this subject—to point to the failure of the Soviet Government to comply with the tri-partite pact of January 29, 1942,3 which provided for the evacuation of Iran, and subsequently the interference of the forces of that government remaining in Iran in the internal affairs of the country and especially as regards Azerbaijan. Such examples as the expulsion, exile and arrest of Iranian Government officials and the pressure exercised by the Soviet forces against the local garrison, and the prevention of Iranian forces from entering Azerbaijan, and other matters not mentioned here, are enough to confirm my statements.[Page 129]
On the subject of Iranian refugees in the territory of Your Excellency’s Government about which it was alleged that they were persecuted by the Imperial Government for holding democratic ideas, it is deemed necessary to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that Iranian laws—like the laws of other countries—specify that criminals, thieves and marauders be punished. Therefore, the statements of Your Excellency to the effect that such persons hold democratic ideas, and the attribution of the word “freedom-loving” to such elements are extremely regrettable and are also contrary to friendship and neighborliness. They are especially contrary to the obligations of Your Excellency’s Government under the provisions of the treaties of friendship of 1921 and 1927. For example, according to section 1 of article 5 of the treaty of friendship, the Soviet Government had undertaken to prevent the formation or residence in its territory of organizations or groups, under whatever name, or of individuals, with the purpose of fighting against Iran.
In view of the foregoing facts, you will agree that the statements of Your Excellency about these persons, and the fact that they have been given refuge and have gone unpunished and have been left free to continue a propaganda campaign directed against Iran, constitute a definite and open breach of Soviet obligations.
The Imperial Iranian Government considers Your Excellency’s denial that Iranian fugitives are being harbored for the purpose of future attack against Iranian territory, and that Soviet forces are being moved about or carrying out maneuvers in the region adjacent to the border, as definite documentary assurances that in the future no such incidents, the occurrence of which would constitute a breach of this assurance, will take place.
As to the clandestine radio the existence of which in Soviet territory was denied, the accurate information that the Imperial Iranian Government possesses about this matter, which was brought to the attention of the Soviet Embassy through notes Nos. 6352, 7353, 8464, of 1947–48 does not conform with this denial.
In conclusion it is pointed out that the Imperial Iranian Government’s efforts to preserve friendship with the U.S.S.R. are known to the entire world. Now, again I give my assurance that the Iranian Government has no purpose other than strengthening justice and good intentions in carrying out promises and compliance with treaty obligations, and hopes that to see the same good-will in respect to carrying out treaty obligations and the same efforts to preserve friendship between the two countries on the part of the Soviet Union.
I avail [etc].
- 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 339, April 2, not printed (761.91/4–248).↩
- League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. ix, p. 413.↩
- For the text of the Treaty of Alliance between the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and Iran, signed at Tehran on January 29, 1942, see Department of State Bulletin, March 21, 1942, p. 249. Documentation on the treaty is contained in Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iv, pp. 263 ff.↩