888.2553/9–2751: Telegram

No. 94
The Ambassador-Designate in Iran (Henderson) to the Department of State

top secret

1191. Personal from Henderson for Secretary, Perkins and McGhee.

I am sure Department will never give in to pressure which apparently is being exerted on US in order to prevail upon it to acquiesce in use by UK of force or threat of force in order attain certain ends in Iran. No matter how disastrous to free world it might [Page 178] be for UK to be driven permanently out of oil fields Iran or how resentful British public might feel towards US if it fails to acquiesce, fact cannot be escaped that entry into Iran by armed force UK this juncture, except perhaps temporarily for bona fide purpose rescuing and escorting from country UK nationals in actual physical danger, could not be considered other than act of armed aggression.
Our whole foreign policy for last five years has been based on opposition to aggression. We have given tremendous amounts financial assistance to various nations to enable them better to resist aggression; we have sacrificed American lives and resources and have persuaded other nations make similar sacrifices in Korea in order to discourage acts of aggression. If now we acquiesce in action smacking of aggression on part our ally and friend, we shall stand before world stripped of all pretense to idealism and obviously guilty of grossest hypocrisy. We shall have thrown away banner of principle around which we have thus far been able rally most nations of world.
My concern at this pressure is not due so much to fear that we might yield to it as to realization that its existence indicates there is wide divergence between our approach towards present world problems and approach of those applying pressure.1
  1. Upon receipt of this telegram the Department of State cabled Henderson that its substance represented the views of the United States on the subject. (Telegram 663 to Tehran, Sept. 27, 10 p.m.; 888.2553/9–2751)