888.2553/9–151: Telegram

No. 83
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at San Francisco1

top secret

Telac 5. Eyes only for Secy personal from Matthews. Fol is Pres revision reply to Attlee referred to as (B) in my preceding tel:2

Dear Mr. PriMin: I deeply appreciate ur full and frank statement which you sent me on Aug 23 setting forth the position of HMG with re to the situation in Iran now that the negots between the Brit and Iran Govts have been suspended.

I am gratified that you found Mr. Harriman’s services of value and you may be confident that we stand ready to take any further steps which may be helpful in finding a solution to this difficult and disturbing problem. The US understands and fully shares the disappointment and concern felt by the Brit Govt over the suspension of the recent conversations in Iran.

The US agrees with the UK’s views regarding the seriousness of the situation in Iran and the danger it involves for the free world. The US policies regarding Iran are designed primarily to prevent the present situation from leading to the absorption of Iran by the Communists and are directed toward objectives similar to those which the UK seeks to achieve.

On Aug 23 I made a public statement which expressed my disappointment at the suspension of the negots in Tehran and publicly subscribed to the views set forth by Mr. Harriman in his letter of Aug 21 to PriMin Mosadeq. Those views clearly stated the position of the Govt of the US.

It is our firm belief that our mutual goal in Iran can best be obtained if the friendship for the US in that country, which has been established on the basis of a sympathetic and open-minded approach to the oil dispute, is not jeopardized. A blanket endorsement of every step which has been or may be taken by the UK wld undoubtedly [Page 159] identify the US with the present target of nationalism in Iran, namely, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co, to the detriment of the interests of both of our countries and the free world.

I am sure we both agree that the internal polit situation in Iran indicates that nationalism is a real and potent force. The US does not believe, therefore, that our mutual objectives in Iran can be achieved by either of us taking a course of action which wld appear to be in opposition to the legitimate aspirations of the Iran people. Even if a new govt shld come into power in Iran, we believe that it wld be subj to much the same pressures which have made the present govt unwilling to make the concessions needed for reaching an agreement. With the passage of time we believe it possible that the present extreme nationalist pressures may moderate and a more realistic attitude may be assumed by the IranGov.

We are encouraged by our belief that a basis has been established upon which negots ultimately can be resumed. In the meantime, we believe it important that neither the US nor the UK take a position which might make it politically difficult or impossible for the IranGov to resume negots. It is especially desirable that our two embassies in Tehran cooperate fully on all phases of the matter and that there be continued consultation between our two govts. The US desires to work with Iran in the closest possible harmony as well as with the UK.

  1. Drafted by Ferguson (GTI) and cleared by McGhee, Matthews, Barnes, and Bonbright.
  2. See footnote 2, supra.