888.2553/8–151: Telegram

No. 64
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Embassy in Iran 1

top secret

42. Eyes only for Harriman and Grady. Cabinet agreed this morning to exchange of messages as set forth your 99, repeated Dept 4582 without any change in wording, provided that:

By the “formula” was meant the language “in the case of the British Government, on behalf of the former AIOC, recognizing the principle of the nationalization of the oil industry in Persia, the Persian Government wld be prepared to enter into negotiations with representatives of the British Government, on behalf of the former company,” which the UK wld be free to cite publicly;
By the “principle of nationalization” was meant nationalization on the basis of the law of March 20;
In the reference to the essentiality of creating best possible atmosphere the Iranians know that British mean the need for relaxation of tension in the south.

The Cabinet is, of course, primarily concerned that the foregoing interpretations are those understood and accepted by the Iran Government. However, the Cabinet will accept your assurances on the foregoing points without further reference of them on your part to the Iran Government if you think this unnecessary, as it would in fact seem to me. The British Government will await your reply to foregoing before taking further step, but on receipt satisfactory reply from you will immediately send Stokes and publish exchange notes. Stokes will depart Thursday night and arrive Tehran Friday.3

Although official statements will be confined to notes, UK Government would expect be free give necessary guidance to press on lines (a), (b), and (c) above. Morrison has assured me this would be done as discretely as possible.

  1. The source text is the copy repeated to the Department as 648 for Secretary Acheson.
  2. Supra .
  3. On Aug. 2 Harriman cabled London that he had obtained the proper assurances from the Iranian Government with regard to the three British desiderata. (Telegram 103 from Tehran to London, repeated to Washington as 474; 888.2553/8–251) The exchange of notes then took place on Aug. 3.