No. 86
Editorial Note

On September 12 Prime Minister Mosadeq sent a letter to Harriman through the Iranian Embassy in Washington outlining four proposals for the resumption of talks with the British and stating that, if 15 days after the presentation of his proposals to the British, no satisfactory conclusion was achieved, then the Iranian Government would cancel the residence permits of all British experts and staff residing in the southern oil fields. On September 15 Harriman [Page 163] replied, commenting that the four proposals appeared to be the same as those presented to Stokes and in some respects were a retrogression from previous Iranian positions. Because of the nature of the Iranian proposals, Harriman expressed the view that they would further aggravate the situation and declined to pass them on to the British.

Four days later Minister of Court Ala handed Ambassador Shepherd a set of proposals similar to those sent to Harriman, differing only in that no ultimatum was included and that the Iranians were prepared to accept a foreign technical director. On September 21 officers of the Department of State, having learned of the Iranian proposals through the Embassy in Tehran, discussed them with Ambassador Franks, stressed their fear of the serious repercussions of a completely negative reaction to what appeared to be a step forward by Iran, and emphasized the new element that seemed to have been added by the apparent willingness of Iran to send a mission to London for negotiations. (Telegram 1622 to London, September 22; 888.2553/9–2051) On September 23 the Embassy in London reported that despite the urging of the United States, and acting on information from Tehran that the Shah was now disposed to act, the Foreign Office had instructed Shepherd to reject the Iranian proposals.

For texts of the letters exchanged between Mosadeq and Harriman, the second Iranian proposal, and Shepherd’s letter of rejection, see British Cmd. 8425, pages 60–66 or Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1951, pages 506–514. The HarrimanMosadeq correspondence is also printed in Department of State Bulletin, October 1, 1951, pages 547–548.