888.2553/10–853: Telegram

No. 372
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran1


956. Following is text British note from Eden to Secretary delivered October 7:

“I have just got back and at once looked into recent correspondence about Persia. The first thing that struck me was the admirable way in which Henderson had handled matters, and I should be very glad if you could let him know how grateful I am for the part he has played.

I am no less grateful for the study which your people in the State Department have given to the problem and for your readiness to send Hoover out to Tehran. I entirely agree that in everyone’s interests and particularly in Persia’s, we must try to solve the oil question as soon as possible, always provided of course that this can be done without detriment to other vital interests. But I feel strongly that our immediate aim should be to re-establish diplomatic relations; you will not misunderstand me I am sure if I say that negotiations through intermediaries, however trusted and well briefed, can be no completely satisfactory substitute for direct contact. Sooner or later we should have to come into the talks, and from all points of view it would in my opinion be preferable for us to be in them from the start. In any case on general political grounds it is foolish for this estrangement between us and Persia to go on any longer.

While therefore I gladly accept the suggestion that Hoover should go to Tehran, I should like to see his purpose defined as follows: in cooperation with Henderson

to make clear that we want to re-establish relations as soon as possible, and shall be ready to do so whenever the Persians are;
to assess the political situation in its relation to the oil problem, having discussion for this purpose with the Shah and General Zahedi; and
to explain to them the problems involved in putting Persian oil back on the market, and to try to elicit what ideas the Persians themselves have about a possible settlement.2

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I hope you will be able to agree to that definition. Meanwhile, the latest proposal is being considered urgently and we will let you have our comments as soon as possible.3 I very much hope Hoover will not leave until you have them. We should much like to see him here both on his way out and on his return.

  1. Pouched to London. Drafted by Gray and approved by Byroade.
  2. In a memorandum from Byroade to Secretary Dulles on Oct. 7, Byroade informed the Secretary that he and Hoover, upon delivery of Eden’s message, told the British Embassy representative they were pleased with the general tone of Eden’s message, but that they thought the terms of reference for Hoover’s trip were too restrictive. Points a, b, and c were a British rewrite of the terms of reference worked out with the British during Butler’s visit, with point a actually being a British addition. The British representative pointed out that he felt considerable latitude could be used by Hoover under the wording of paragraph c, but that he would ask for London’s comments on according Hoover greater latitude. Byroade also told the Secretary that he and Hoover agreed that Hoover would not leave until the British comments had been received concerning the American proposal that Hoover explore the possibility of reaching an interim solution to the oil crisis. (888.2553/10–753)
  3. See infra.