258. Memorandum From the Director of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Administration Mission in Iran (Warne) to the Chargé d’Affaires in Iran (Mattison)1
Conference With Dr. Akhavi and Mr. Zanganeh Regarding Tudeh Party
At a meeting called this morning for the purpose of discussing the location of the wool scouring plant of one of our project agreements, the Minister of National Economy, A.A. Akhavi, and Eng. Ahmad Zanganeh of Plan Organization, in grave mien, discussed with me for 40 minutes the problem Iran faces as a result of the statements issued in Washington by Secretary Dulles and President Eisenhower regarding communist influence here. Others present were Eng. Radjy who took little part in the conversation and, for a few minutes near the end of this part of the discussion, Mr. Stanley Drake of the Point 4 staff, the expert on the wool scouring plant.
Mr. Akhavi said that the Propaganda Minister had informed him of the receipt of a Reuters despatch from Washington describing a public statement made by President Eisenhower in which he said “we will have to stop” the communist infiltration in Indonesia and in Iran. Mr. Akhavi said the President was talking principally about Indonesia but that he also discussed Iran. He and Mr. Zanganeh obviously were gravely concerned.[Page 660]
Mr. Akhavi and Mr. Zanganeh said that these statements being made by the highest officials in the United States, they feared, would prejudice the American public against Iran. They said that obviously someone was misreporting the situation in Iran to have so alarmed the Secretary of State and the President. They denied any communist infiltration and, while admitting that the Tudeh Party was organized here, said it was of two branches, one supported by the Soviet Union and the other by the ex-AIOC. They said that the Government had at every turn opposed the Tudeh Party and that the Tudeh Party was not supporting the Government. They pointed to the recent strife at Masjid-i-Suliman and at Khorramshahr as proof of this. Mr. Akhavi said that the Tudeh had endeavored to organize the laborers at Masjid-i-Suliman and the Government resisted and in the fracas several were killed. He said that the Government endeavored to ship 10,000 tons of rice from Khorramshahr and that Tudeh elements, definitely traced to AIOC support, had blocked the shipment through raising trouble on the docks with porters and longshoremen and, in the town, with the people to the point that the shipment was delayed until the letter of credit expired. He said the propaganda was “why permit the Government to ship rice when we are hungry?”
They asked what occurrences there had been in Iran to lead to the conclusion in Washington of the rise of the Tudeh. I said that I did not know but that certainly what occurred on July 21 might have had some influence. They said that the Government could not fight on two fronts at once, and was fighting now against the British and would against the Tudeh as soon as it had eliminated the British influence, which was being done through the plebiscite. They said that the Tudeh had nothing to do with the result of the elections here; that, in fact, Tudeh elements actually tried to thwart pro-Mossadegh votes, and that the marchers to the polls were organized by pro-Mossadegh parties not including the Tudehs.
In apparent utter sincerity they asked for advice on how to overcome what they considered the false reporting that has led to the change of attitude in the United States on the part of the highest officials. Dr. Akhavi suggested that special representatives of the President or the Secretary should come to Iran and investigate the situation here themselves and make reports.
Dr. Akhavi said that there was no desire to have any relations with the neighbor to the north, including commercial relations, but that Iran was being forced to deal with Russia by reason of the fact that the United States and most of the free world would not buy its products. He cited a public adjudication for the sale of their surplus wool which, he said, resulted just this week in not a single bid. He said the sugar sit[Page 661]uation was extremely difficult and in the end they might have to send produce to Russia in exchange for sugar.
“What are we to do?” both Dr. Akhavi and Mr. Zanganeh repeatedly asked. I made no effort to respond.
“Where are the reports coming from that are misleading the officials in the United States?” they repeatedly asked. I made no effort to respond.
“What can have led to the assumptions that the Government is condoning Tudeh activities?” they asked. I said at that point that what occurred on July 21 I knew had been a source of concern and that the afternoon meeting had been seized upon by some for rather flagrant anti-American and anti-Point 4 agitation. I said that difficulties in Isfahan with the Governor General were a source of great concern to me and might be to others.
They asked me whether I thought Point 4 was being successful and I said that I thought it was, that in every village I had been to, and they are many, I had found the people earnestly appreciative and definitely in support of the self-improvement programs.
My appraisal of this conference, which certainly was not sought by me but which grew out of the evident and apparent deep concern of these two high officials, is that they, at least, and probably many others in the highest official circles of the present Government are deeply agitated, puzzled and concerned by what they interpret as a sharp deterioration in the relationships with the United States. They earnestly believe this has come about through false reporting and I cannot doubt the sincerity of these two gentlemen in their assertions that there has been no wooing of the Tudeh by the Mossadegh regime. They may not know, but they think they do. Dr. Akhavi said if Point 4 should move out, then Russia would move. Mr. Zanganeh said, very earnestly, that is “what they want you to do” and that is why they cry “Yankee Go Home.”
- Source: National Archives, RG 469, Records of U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies 1948–1961, Mission to Iran, Executive Office Subject Files (Central Files) 1951–1961, Box 7, Folder 8, 350 Political: 1953. Confidential; Security Information.↩
- Printed from a copy with this typed signature and an indication that the original was signed.↩