888.2553/3–1153: Telegram

No. 317
The Ambassador in Iran (Henderson) to the Department of State1

top secret

3644. Eyes only Secretary and Byroade.

Mosadeq asked Saleh, my Iranian adviser, early this morning to stop by on way to Embassy. Prime Minister told Saleh to deliver following message to me:

Prime Minister had changed his mind (see Embtel 3605, March 9; repeated London 1194) re publishing proposals of February 20 and re despatching letter US Government inquiring attitude US re giving financial assistance to and purchasing oil from Iran. Prime Minister had decided that no useful purpose would be served in publishing proposals which were after all merely part of negotiations and which were handed to him informally not covered by any intergovernmental correspondence. Prime Minister planned within next few days instead of publishing proposals to submit report to Majlis outlining general tenor of conversations and summarizing kind of counter proposals which he would have made if British had not indicated that they did not desire any counter proposals. Prime Minister planned to let me see in advance draft of his proposed report. Reason for Prime Minister’s decision not to send note to US Government inquiring re possible US aid was that he was afraid if answers would be in negative relations between US and Iran would be seriously impaired. He wished maintain good relations with US. He would therefore not send note unless he could receive some intimation from Ambassador that US was willing help Iran and his note would contain questions which could be answered in affirmative.

Saleh tells me that from certain remarks which Prime Minister made during their brief conversation he received impression that one of Prime Minister’s reasons for desiring to incorporate in his proposed report kind of counter proposals which he had planned to make was to ascertain what Iran reaction would be to such counter proposals. Although Prime Minister maintained that his report would be fair Saleh somewhat discouraged by fact that in his presence Prime Minister requested Sanjabi over telephone to begin preparing draft of report. Sanjabi one of Mosadeq’s oil advisers who is believed to be against any kind of settlement which could possibly be accepted by British.
If Prime Minister shows me draft report or sends it to me for my comments it is my intention to comment rather spiritedly in case in my opinion it gives distorted account of proposals and negotiations. [Page 710] I plan also to tell him that although I may make certain suggestions I cannot take responsibility for attitude which US and UK Governments may take towards his report. Proposals were drafted with exceeding care by experts of two governments and summary of them might in opinion those experts not present true picture. Unless Mosadeq’s description of proposals and outline of tenor of conversations are approved in advance by US and UK Government those Governments may find it necessary in order satisfy public opinion in US and UK to make public their own summaries of proposals or to publish complete texts together with their own comments re conversations.
If Prime Minister mentions to me again subject US attitude re financial aid and purchase by US Government or US firms of Iran oil I might tell him that I have no definite instructions. I doubt however, that US Government would be prepared in present circumstances to extend financial aid to Government of Iran since extension such aid, particularly at time when Iran is rejecting what seems to be fair and reasonable settlement of compensation problem, would probably give rise to considerable criticism on ground that if Iran would agree to proposals made to it, Iran would be in position realize considerable revenues from its oil industry. Similarly, US public would probably be extremely critical if US Government should undertake to purchase Iran oil produced from property and with facilities developed by AIOC and seized without arrangements being made for compensation by Government Iran. With regard to purchase by US firms of Iran oil I might state that US Government had already issued announcement setting forth its attitude and I doubted that there would be any change. I might add that I had already made appropriate inquiries US Government and would be glad to let him know informally if answer to my inquiry should contain any additional information.2
Would be grateful for early instructions.
  1. Also sent to London eyes only for Ambassador Aldrich.
  2. The Embassy in London reported on Mar. 11 that it had furnished the Foreign Office paragraphs 1–3 of telegram 3644 from Tehran. (Telegram 5042; 888.2553/3–1153)

    Byroade provided Secretary Dulles with an advance copy of telegram 3644 on Mar. 11, as soon as NEA had received it, because Byroade thought its contents would be of immediate use to the Secretary in the National Security Council meeting scheduled for later that day. (888.2553/3–1153)