888.2553/9–3051: Telegram

No. 97
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

top secret

1754. For Amb and Holmes. For ur info and guidance in event raised with you by Brit fol describes discussions here past 48 hrs re UK–Iran SC case.

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UK Emb informed Dept Thurs night2 Cabinet decisions shortly before noon Fri. Before Dept had opportunity give Brit our views re SC actions public announcement made by UK 5:30 p.m. Fri our time.

Sat afternoon Franks called in and informed Dept felt SC action at best questionable and type of res UK had in mind might have extremely unfortunate results.3 Major reasons Dept advanced were: (1) Sovs bound veto such res. Veto per se not of particular concern but on this case for first time Sovs wld have a popular veto and wld be handled opening for effective ideological propaganda campaign which we viewed with great concern. (2) In our view seven votes cld not be obtained for UK res.4 Even assuming US cld vote for it which we did not want to do, and UK itself permitted to vote we cld see only six votes. We believe fol states shld be classified as against or certainly as doubtful: USSR, Yugo, China, Turkey, India. (3) Even assuming seven votes cld be obtained we felt UK res wld be mistake for fol reasons: (1) Sov veto and consequent propaganda advantage cited above; (2) Iran wld defy res; (3) while question not major point, passage of additional res by UN which not carried out adds to moral decline UN; (4) It wld certainly freeze Iran position thus going far to making further negots impossible and it wld probably strengthen position of Mosadeq as he wld pose as champion of Iran against world; (5) as corollary it would throw Iran in position of being defended solely by Sov Union.

We handed to Franks a res text of which communicated in Deptel 17475 of type which we thought might have chance of being adopted in SC and which if adopted might be turned to constructive end.

Franks adopted attitude of not being impressed by our reasoning but said he was not sufficiently familiar with background of London reasoning behind form of res suggested by London to debate question with us. He concentrated on developing our reasons so he cld report them accurately and in best possible light to London. He prophesied that our views wld receive poor reception in London and he was apprehensive of cumulative effect of this plus gen approach made on Fri.

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Franks was informed that in view inquiries being recd by USUN we had no alternative other than to instruct them to answer inquiries from other dels along lines above described position.

In conversation it was hinted to Franks that we might be willing send msg to Mosadeq exhorting him not to take action on expulsion order while case under consideration in SC, pointing out that Iran has been a great beneficiary of UN.

  1. Drafted by Raynor; cleared by GTI; and repeated to Tehran, Moscow, Paris, and New York.
  2. Sept. 27.
  3. A memorandum of Franks’ conversation with Hickerson, Perkins, and Raynor is in file 888.2553/9–2951.
  4. Seven votes were necessary to place a question on the agenda of the Security Council.
  5. Telegram 1747 transmitted the text of a draft resolution that called on the United Kingdom and Iran to resume negotiations at the earliest possible moment and to refrain from aggravating the situation. (888.2553/9–2951)