888.2553/2–2353: Telegram

No. 307
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran1

top secret

2240. Eyes only Ambassador. British Embassy representatives today gave Department following comments on Tehran’s 3355 (repeated London 1090):2 “We should like Henderson to be told at once that Mosadeq’s formula would be unacceptable and if Mosadeq reverts to his question, Henderson should say that in his personal opinion the formula would clearly be unacceptable. If Mosadeq pressed him, Henderson could say that he was not in a position to transmit any inquiry on the subject to the US Government from whom he had already received the clearest indication of their attitude and that of Her Majesty’s Government”.

Based on instructions from Eden, now aboard Queen Elizabeth, British added that they never at any time contemplated acceptance of any formula which did not contain reference either to acceptable UK law or (in one way or another) to legal position of parties prior to oil nationalization law.

British Embassy representatives added they were instructed say Mosadeq formula unacceptable even though he might give assurances proposals otherwise acceptable.

Should Mosadeq again pose his previous question re terms of reference above position suggested by British appears to us to be appropriate. Should Mosadeq offer counter proposals Department leaves to your discretion decision whether you should accept and transmit them. (Deptel 2195 repeated London 5669).3

  1. Repeated to London eyes only for the Ambassador. Drafted and signed by Richards.
  2. Document 302.
  3. Telegram 2195, Feb. 25, informed the Embassy in Tehran that the Department agreed with the British that no more concessions should be made to Mosadeq regarding an oil settlement. However, Henderson was not to refuse to transmit such counterproposals as Mosadeq might offer. In accepting any counterproposals for transmission, Henderson was instructed to make it clear to Mosadeq that his refusal to accept the present proposals and his submission of substantive counterproposals would in all probability be regarded by both London and Washington as a cessation of negotiations. (888.2553/2–2153)