761.91/4–248: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


592. Except for original Soviet note January 31, Soviet press has not published further Soviet-Iranian exchanges culminating in Soviet note March 24 (Tehran’s 318, March 28),1 though commentaries have continued develop thesis of menacing US military activities in Iran. Latest note seems to us to have ominous implications, arising particularly from reiterated citation 1921 Treaty, reference to 1941 events and suspiciously limited nature denial military organization and operation radio station by “Persian political refugees” defense of asylum might well cover Firouz2 if he is actually here (Embtel 434, March 83) as well as Azerbaijanis and Barzani Kurds.

While presently impossible estimate Soviet intention, it seems clear basis is being laid for renewal active intervention in Iran, and possibility cannot be excluded Iran will be deliberately chosen because of relative remoteness from USA and limited US interests, to test seriousness of our proclaimed determination to halt Soviet aggression. Whether developed as Azerbaijan “liberation movement” or as direct military intervention under 1921 Treaty, any operation would doubtless be carried out with lightning speed while world attention focused elsewhere, and without excessive dependence on unstable local elements which ruined previous effort. Timing to coincide with maximum aggravation Palestine situation late May after British withdrawal seems possibility which should be carefully watched.

Sent Department 592, Department pass London 40, Tehran 11.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 1, p. 125.
  2. Mozaffar Firuz, former Iranian Ambassador to the Soviet Union; known for his pro-Soviet views.
  3. Not printed.