No. 107
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs (Raynor)

top secret


  • Iran


  • Ambassador Franks, British Embassy
  • Mr. Burrows, British Embassy
  • Assistant Secretary Perkins, EUR
  • Assistant Secretary Hickerson, UNA
  • Mr. Wainhouse, UNP
  • Mr. Nitze, S/P
  • Mr. Rountree, GTI
  • Mr. H. Raynor, Director, BNA

Ambassador Franks called at 6:30 p.m. Sunday1 evening pursuant to a request he had made on Saturday. He said in his view our problem now broke down into two parts:

the smaller area of difference relating to the SC resolution
a wider difference of approach which reflected itself in the former area of difference.

As to the smaller area relating to the resolution, he said as he understood it, the two major points of difference were that the U.K. wanted something in the resolution pointing a finger at Iran for noncompliance with the indications of the court and that the U.S. wanted to place in the resolution a reference to alternative bases for solution. He later brought up a third point of difference which is the problem as to whether to include the appointment of a Mr. “X” to bring the parties together.2

[Page 209]

As to the wider area of difference he said our philosophy appeared to be to have an innocuous resolution on the theory that the Persians should not be upset in any way which in turn appeared to result from apprehension on our part as to the Russians.

He then stated that the U.K. looked at the SC action as the alternative to the use of force. He said a decision had been made not to use force. This was primarily a U.K. decision but the U.S. had had a certain part in it. He then said that having decided not to use force, in their eyes the alternative was to appeal to rule of law; if you do not appeal to force you appeal to justice. He said it was a mistake to underestimate the strength of the U.K. feeling on this matter and he stressed that this was not a party feeling. It ran deeply in public opinion and in both parties. He said the impression had been created in London that the more the U.K. gives the more she will be requested by us to give. He said they had a further feeling that while we had felt the U.K. to be myopic with respect to the AIOC that we were now in a similar position with respect to over-playing the dangers, especially the Russian one. He said another feeling was that in our preoccupation to avoid a hardening of Mosadeq’s position we ignored the possibility that we might be creating a situation which would make it impossible for the British to negotiate.

At one point in the conversation Ambassador Franks admitted that the bringing of the case to the Security Council and probably for a period thereafter will result in a temporary strengthening of Mosadeq. He said, however, that as it becomes apparent that he did not “bring home the bacon” from New York and the economic pinch begins to be felt that the British thought he would then begin to lose out. Mr. Nitze indicated that we felt there was not time for this process; that the intervening period would be too dangerous from a point of view of developments favoring the Tudeh Party or even the Russians directly. Ambassador Franks agreed that the Russian angle was important but stressed he felt we overemphasized it. It was apparent that there was a difference of evaluation between us on this point.

Mr. Hickerson stressed that our objectives were to help the British as much as possible and that specifically in New York we wanted to go as far as possible to meet their position without going so far as to freeze the Iranian position irrevocably. Mr. Perkins expressed the view that we were acutely conscious of the political difficulties in the U.K. but that we were somewhat concerned that pre-occupation of the Ministers in London with the political campaign was resulting in insufficient high-level consideration being given to the very serious implications of this whole problem.

[Page 210]

During the conversation Ambassador Franks attempted to feel us out as to whether there was a trading area open with respect to the resolution. In this connection he expressed the view that the appointment of a Mr. “X” was quite important to the British. More by implication than by what the Ambassador said, we obtained the impression Ambassador Franks felt that if we could include in the resolution a pointing of the finger at Iran for non-compliance that his Government might be in a position to accept our reference to a solution on some alternate mutually agreed basis. In this connection Ambassador Franks said he thought agreement would be facilitated if we could keep the new draft as close as possible to what he referred to as the U.K. Resolution D which apparently is the resolution described as possibility 2 in New York’s telegram 429 of October 5.3

Ambassador Franks was assured that we would give the most careful consideration to all he said. We told him we were now working on a draft of a new resolution which we hoped to make available to Gross in the morning for further conversations with Jebb. Ambassador Franks agreed that detailed negotiations of a resolution should be handled in New York. We promised to give him a copy of the new draft when it was available.

Throughout the conversation, Ambassador Franks assumed an exceedingly serious posture, giving every indication of real concern about the situation. He repeatedly referred to the dangers he saw in it with respect to Anglo-U.S. relations at one point stating that he felt Anglo-U.S. relations had reached a dangerous posture.

G. H. R.
  1. Oct. 7.
  2. On Oct. 6, in a conversation with Holmes, Makins stated that the United States and the United Kingdom should expend their energies on a resolution which would “uphold rule of law and provide for appointment of representative to act as catalyst in bringing parties together.” (Telegram 1702 from London; 888.2553/10–651)
  3. As transmitted in telegram 429, “possibility 2” reads as follows:

    “The SC”,

    “Concerned at the dangers inherent in the situation regarding oil installations in Persia and at the threat to international peace and security that may be involved;

    “Taking note of the action taken by the ICJ on July 5th 1951 under Art 41 para 3 of the statute;

    “Conscious of the importance in the interests of maintaining international peace and security of upholding the authority of the ICJ;

    “Noting that the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ on July 5th 1951 have not been complied with;

    • “I. Appoints Mr. (blank) to use his good offices in order to promote negotiations between the parties in accordance with the principles of the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ, with a view to a solution of the dispute.
    • “II. Calls on all members of the UN to refrain from action of any kind which might have the effect of further aggravating the situation or prejudicing the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned.” (888.2553/10–551)