IRAN: THE FOURTH PARTNER
The U. S. Army and Aid to Iran
Through the months that stretched between the day British and Soviet troops entered Iran in 1941 and the day the last Russian soldier departed into his own country in 1946, it would have been a remote and cloistered Iranian indeed who could have remained unaware of the Allied armies or unaffected by their activities. The tenseness, .the urgency, the unsleeping bustle and unresting energy that it took to transport supplies by the millions of tons across desert and mountain could not fail to affect a population so suddenly exposed to them. In the role of fourth partner in the Corridor operations, thrust upon Iran by the exigencies of war, that nation perforce faced a situation beyond its control. Although its sovereignty was reaffirmed by the Tri-Partite Treaty, the normal exercise of sovereignty was so circumscribed by the demands of the war as to be virtually suspended for the duration. As the essentially passive partner, Iran contributed in proportion to its acquiescence in Allied purposes.
The difficulty of Iran's position cannot be overemphasized. In this book the focus is upon the Allied operations. Iran is seen only through the small end of the telescope, diminutive and incidental. The thousands of Iranian workmen who manned Allied projects do not appear as part of an economic inflation accelerated by the expenditure of vast sums of Allied money. Rations of tea, bread, and sugar figure in the story as parts of an Allied labor problem; food riots, for instance, are briefly glimpsed. Miles-long motor convoys roll through Iranian towns toward Russia; but no notice is taken that their route is marked with traffic signs in two foreign languages, or patrolled by foreign military
police who do their best to provide safety but who cannot always prevent the deaths of heedless peasants, like distracted chickens, under the rolling wheels. Encampments rise to house the foreign troops, often on land leased or granted by the government of Iran. The story does not emphasize that these are exclusively administered by the foreign powers concerned; nor is the muffled booming heard that marked, day after day, the detonation of antipersonnel mines set off by native prowlers :attempting the barriers enclosing the foreigners' stores of goods and food. Pilferage and banditry, menaces to the movement of supplies through lonely country, appear frequently enough in the story; but the search and seizure, the entering of native huts by foreign troops-so often rewarded by recovery of plunder not hauled 12,000 miles to be bootlegged in the Iranian bazaars-are not the story's main concern.
Yet these acts and their implications bulked large in the Iranians' lives. Their economy was distorted, their amour-propre disturbed. The period of the occupation-which-was-officially-not-an-occupation, despite the protection of the occupying powers, exacerbated the essential fact of Iran's existence: weakness-internal weakness, both economic and political-and helplessness in external affairs. During this period the United States turned up on the spot as auxiliary of one of the occupying forces. As a nonoccupying power, the United States was less encumbered than Britain or the USSR in helping Iran to help itself and proceeded, upon Iranian invitation, to do so through the second Millspaugh economic mission and the military advisory missions arranged for in 1942. But as the American service forces, come to Iran to move Russian-aid supplies, expanded until they were the most numerous of the Allied forces in the Corridor, the feelings of the populace, already disposed to resent the ancient rivals, Britain and Russia, became more and more susceptible to the manipulations of those who chose to point to the Americans, and the swarm of American troops, as the source of Iran's wartime discomfiture.1 This delicate situation and the growing feeling in American quarters that not only the success of Allied operations in the Corridor but considerations of longer range and wider scope called for further strengthening of Iran are subordinated in this book to the U.S. Army's story. As American policy evolved after 1942 certain responsibilities were assigned to the War Department which made the U.S. Army an instrument for aiding Iran to combat its internal and
external weaknesses. General Connolly's directive was broadened to enable him to give Iran assistance of an economic nature, additional to his primary mission in aid of the Soviet Union; and the military advisory missions, despite obstacles and discouragements, were continued throughout the war and after as tokens of American concern for Iranian independence.
The Question o f Status2
So long as the American representation in the Corridor consisted of not more than a few hundred officers and men of the U.S. Army and the civilians engaged in construction and assembly projects, no question arose as to the legal status of the Americans in Iran. Their auxiliary character and small numbers, as well as the fact that their tasks, of a technical and advisory nature, were nominated by the British, made it possible to consider them as if they were in effect subcontractors to the British forces. When, however, the first 5,000 service troops came ashore at Khorramshahr without any previous notification to the government of Iran,3 inquiries were promptly directed by Iran to the American Minister at Tehran, Louis Dreyfus, and to the Soviet Union as to certain questions raised by the presence on Iranian soil of large numbers of American soldiers. The United States was informed that the arrival of its troops was regarded as an infringement of Iranian sovereignty and was pressed to regularize their status by adhering to the Tri-Partite Treaty as a means of securing formal permission for their presence and of defining the conditions under which they were to remain. An inquiry which Iran put on 12 December 1942 to the Soviet Government was not without its ironic aspects, considering that the Americans had come to Iran in order to facilitate the movement of supplies to the USSR. Doubtless it bespoke Iran's reluctance to offend the powerful neighbor then in occupation of its northern provinces. Iran wished to know whether the Soviet Union objected to United States participation in the operations of the Allied forces in the Corridor.
Iran's inquiries to the United States and to the USSR set off a train of notes, telegrams, drafts, and counterdrafts that stretched on, in the leisurely fashion of diplomacy, into 1945. The correspondence between the foreign offices of Iran and the United States came to exactly nothing; that between the United States and the USSR produced the gestures the situation called for. Although the two exchanges were related to one another they can best be considered separately. Before the Soviet Government could acquiesce in the presence of American troops in Iran it desired to satisfy itself that American participation in Corridor operations did not infringe or diminish any rights enjoyed by the Soviet Union under the Tri-Partite Treaty. In response to a Soviet inquiry as to American intentions, Minister Dreyfus informed Andrea Smirnov, Soviet Ambassador at Tehran, that U.S. military units were in Iran only to support the British military forces which still exercised "full control over transport lines in the south of Iran," and "bore responsibility for their safety." This explanation failed to satisfy the USSR. A note was dispatched from the Soviet Embassy at Washington to the Secretary of State on 11 May 43 drawing his attention to "a certain lack of clarity" in the Dreyfus memorandum. The Russians cited the fact that, in the negotiations which were proceeding between the United States and Iran to regularize the presence of American troops in Iran, the Americans had presented a draft agreement under which Iran would grant to the United States the same rights over communications as were enjoyed under the Tri-Partite Treaty by the British and the Russians.4
The United States tried again, explaining to the USSR on 16 June 1943 that American troops went to Iran at British request; that their task "under general British guidance" was to maintain control over transport facilities in Iran in order to increase deliveries of supplies to the USSR; and that they were not in Iran to support .the British "in any military sense." The Soviet reply of 27 July asserted that general British guidance indicated that the American forces were "part of the British Iranian-Iraq military district." It stated that the USSR would inform Iran that there was no Soviet objection to the presence of American troops in Iran providing no Soviet rights were altered thereby. In consultations between the State and War Departments which followed receipt of this note the Department of State took the position that any attempt to set the Russians right on the details of the
co-operative working arrangements in force between the British and Americans in Iran would be "quibbling" and might delay formal Soviet acquiescence. In the War Department an OPD paper suggested that it would be useful to point out in any future correspondence with the USSR that "military control of the area within which our troops are operating is exercised by the British. American troops form an independent command, located within, but not a part of the 'British IranIraq military district." OPD suggested that the Russians should address their inquiries about security matters to the British, whose responsibilities in that field were exclusively exercised by them under direction of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. As to general policy and American responsibility for transport, the OPD paper stated:
Decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff do not indicate that the British are responsible for the question of general policy concerning the operation of supply routes, or that they retain general responsibility for the dispatch of supplies to the Soviet Union by the Persian Route. On the other hand, while the Combined Chiefs of Staff do not specifically assign responsibility for general policy, they do assign definitely responsibility for the dispatch of supplies to Russia to the United States.5
There the matter rested. Fortunately for the success of the Russian-aid program, no hint of that fastidious regard for the legal niceties at the diplomatic level, which kept the Russian notes flowing for more than half of 1943, seeped down to the level of operations to dilute the full strength there of Russian zeal for American supplies. Nor did it affect the regularity and vehemence with which Soviet officials pressed the American command to exert ever greater effort and to provide more and more tonnage for the Russians.
While the USSR was satisfying itself that the American forces were not in Iran to disturb Soviet rights under the Tri-Partite Treaty, the government of Iran launched into a long exchange of views with the government of the United States. The discussions covered two kinds of proposed agreement to regularize the presence of American troops in Iran and fell into two distinct phases. The first phase, initiated by Iran, passed into the second following the signing by the three Allied Powers of the Declaration of Tehran. One of the two agreements discussed covered the whole subject of American status in Iran. The other was restricted to exemption of U.S. Army personnel from the criminal jurisdiction of Iranian courts. Ideas shifted from time to time as to whether there should be separate agreements, one master agreement,
or a series of similar but separate bilateral agreements between Iran and each of the three powers in the Corridor.6
Having been requested in December by General Andrews, Commanding General, USAFIME, to secure for the Americans a status regarding their forces similar to that of the British and Russians, Minister Dreyfus on 18 January 1943 presented to the Iranian Foreign Minister the views of the United States on an agreement to exempt American troops from Iranian criminal jurisdiction.7 After many months during which no agreement was reached, General Connolly on 19 July suggested to Dreyfus the incorporation, in the pending general agreement on status, of provisions to include in a legal immunities section civilians accompanying the U.S. forces. He further proposed that the exemption to be granted to soldiers and civilians be extended to civil as well as criminal matters. In December Connolly wrote Dreyfus that, in order to obtain uniformity of treatment, "It would be much more practical if the matter of criminal jurisdiction could be worked out jointly with the other Allied Forces in Iran." Connolly expressed the view that, until the question of the status of American troops on Iranian soil was determined, the subsidiary question of criminal jurisdiction over American troops should not be pursued. Accordingly, he requested Dreyfus to withdraw his note to the Iranian Foreign Minister of 18 January 1943. Early in January 1944 General Marshall expressed to General Connolly his doubt of the efficacy of an agreement which included the other Allied nations. To this Connolly replied that talks between Dreyfus and the Iranian Foreign Minister had ceased, and that British, American, and Soviet authorities would first agree upon uniform terms regarding criminal jurisdiction of their troops
and would then seek to obtain bilateral agreements with Iran in conformity with those terms. Whatever conversations followed, no formal agreement on the subject was reached between Iran and the United States.
As has been stated, Iran early pressed the United States to regularize the presence of its troops on Iranian soil by adhering to the Tri-Partite Treaty. The Department of State preferred to proceed upon the basis of an executive agreement rather than a treaty and early submitted a draft which included the grant to the U.S. forces of the right to "use, maintain, guard and control" any of the means of communication within Iran, including railways, roads, rivers, airdromes, ports, pipelines, and telephone, telegraph, and wireless installations wherever advantageous for the prosecution of the war effort. Article V of the draft stipulated that when an act by U.S. forces affected the Tri-Partite Treaty nothing should be undertaken until "after consultation and agreement with the appropriate Iranian, British and Soviet authorities."
To Dreyfus' request for comment on an Iranian counterdraft, Connolly replied in June 1943 that "the concessions to be made by the United States . . . are so far-reaching" as to require careful study. In ,July Connolly furnished his comments to Dreyfus, a copy of which, at Marshall's request, was forwarded to Washington by courier. Connolly noted that, in spite of "our indeterminate legal position," operations were being satisfactorily carried on with a minimum of misunderstanding with the three other partners. On the asumption that "our interest in this area is of .temporary duration," and noting that the Iranian counterdraft went beyond provisions of the Tri-Partite Treaty, he advised that no concessions should be made greater than those applying to Britain and the USSR in that treaty. Connolly suggested that agreements by the United States with the British and the Russians should precede an agreement with Iran, and inquired whether the proposed grant to .the American forces of rights over communications had received the prior consent of the signatories to the Tri-Partite Treaty. Certain proposed provisions seemed to Connolly inadvisable. One, obligating the United States to defend Iran from aggression, he deemed unwise on the grounds that this obligation was undertaken by the British and Russians and that the American troops constituted a noncombatant force. Another he questioned required the American command to consult the Iranian Government before fixing the location of troops or installations. Connolly counseled the inclusion of a clause similar to provisions of the Tri-Partite Treaty governing the transfer, after the war, to Iran by the Allied forces of buildings and other im-
provements. A new American draft of 25 August affirmed American respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iran and promised the withdrawal of the armed forces of the United States from Iran "not later than six months" after the end of hostilities, or earlier if a peace treaty should be concluded earlier. But, although exchange of views between the War and State Departments and between the two governments continued, no agreement was reached.
What was lacking was a formula to reconcile the independent command status of the American forces with the auxiliary nature of their functions. From the auxiliary angle there were obstacles to the Americans' assuming obligations and privileges equivalent to those belonging to the signatories to the Tri-Partite Treaty; but from the angle of independent command there was no inconsistency in a direct Irano-American understanding. Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, who was in Iran during 1943 as the President's ambassador-at-large, felt that the slow progress toward a treaty to recognize "the presence of American troops as an American operation" was chargeable to sabotage by what he regarded as "imperialist" sympathizers in the Department of State. He so informed the President.8 General Hurley believed that the moral advantages of an understanding with Iran outweighed the difficulties encountered in attempting to equalize the status of United States troops in Iran with that of the British and Soviet forces. As General Connolly's comments to Minister Dreyfus show, the commander of the American forces, having primary regard to the smooth functioning of the American tasks in the Corridor, preferred the existing working arrangement.
Although the negotiations took the normal course of diplomatic maneuvering, they suggest that agreement at any time in 1943 would have been premature. For one thing, as Connolly pointed out, American operations and relations were proceeding satisfactorily without any agreement; but the main factor was that long-range American policy toward Iran had not crystallized. Connolly had observed in July that his views were based upon the assumption of temporary American interest in the area, an interest limited to the time necessary to complete the Russian supply mission. General Hurley wished to see Iran's hand strengthened and believed direct treaty relations with the United States governing the presence of American troops in Iran would contribute to that end. He felt that opposition to a treaty implied a desire to leave the position of the British and Russians in Iran unaltered.
But the Department of State was also moving toward the objective of redressing the balance in Iran. Under date of 23 January 1943 the Secretary of State approved a policy memorandum for the guidance of his officers which, noting that the British had "recently" proposed that the Allies declare themselves as having power to modify the Iranian cabinet at will, stated that "nowhere else in the Middle East is there to be found so clear-cut a conflict of interests between two of the United Nations, so ancient a tradition of rivalry," as that existing in Iran between the USSR and Great Britain. Referring to the advisory missions to the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie, the memorandum observed that by such means the United States could build up Iran "to the point at which it will stand in need of neither British nor Russian assistance to maintain order in its own house." Since keeping the peace was as important as winning the war, the United States should support the peace in Iran with goods, advice, and services.9 Here was the early formulation of a long-range policy which sought the salvation of Iran not by offering it an alliance against other powers but by encouraging it to look out for itself. This was the principle upon which were based the tasks of technical advice and material aid which were subsequently assigned to the War Department. Consistent with it were the recommendations forwarded to President Roosevelt by General Hurley the following May that Iran be assured that the United States insists that the principles of the Atlantic Charter apply to Iran, that Iran be permitted to join the United Nations in a declaration of war against the Axis, and that the American Legation be raised to the status of an embassy.10
When the leaders of the Allied Powers gathered at Tehran on 28 November 1943, it was made known through Prime Minister Ali Soheyli that the government of Iran desired an Allied declaration respecting its sovereignty. Welcoming this Iranian initiative, President Roosevelt saw in such a declaration an opportunity to lay at rest the problem of the legal status of American troops. His signature, affixed to the Declaration of Tehran on 1 December, provided the same moral support by the United States of Iran's integrity as would the signature
on a treaty regulating the status of American troops; and this American assurance was given without stirring up complications with the Tripartite powers. The text of the declaration follows.11
Dec. 1, 1943
DECLARATION OF THE THREE POWERS REGARDING IRAN
The President of the United States, the Premier of the U.S.S.R., and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having consulted with each other and with the Prime Minister of Iran, desire to declare the mutual agreement of their three Governments regarding their relations with Iran.
The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom recognize the assistance which Iran has given in the prosecution of the war against the common enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of supplies from overseas to the Soviet Union.
The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption.
With respect to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the close of hostilities should receive full consideration, along with those of other members of the United Nations, by conferences or international agencies held or created to deal with international economic matters.
The Governments of the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the United Kingdom are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. They count upon the participation of Iran, together with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments have subscribed.
(Signed) WINSTON S. CHURCHILL
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
The declaration accomplished a number of useful purposes, not the least of which was the recognition by the signatories of the need to strengthen Iran's economy. It also introduced the second phase in the attempt to define the status of American troops in Iran. The declaration having reassured Iran as to the powers' respect for its sovereignty, that government thenceforth showed a lessened interest in
reaching an accord with the United States on a matter in which Iran had once felt its sovereignty infringed. On the other hand, the United States, having obtained a three-power declaration of friendly intentions toward Iran, felt less inhibited in seeking an agreement with Iran on troop status. But the passage of time was to fit such an agreement into a larger design of international relations.
On 2 December, the day after the signature of the declaration, President Roosevelt, about to depart from the Tehran airport, outlined to General Hurley "a tentative basis for American policy in Iran which might be used as a pattern for our relations with all less favored associate nations."12 He requested Hurley to send him a report on steps required to strengthen the Iranian economy as a means of stabilizing the country. In response Hurley advanced suggestions for assisting Iran to develop its resources for the benefit of its people and called for the furnishing of American advisers to be paid by Iran and to operate under provisions of Iranian law. By applying the principles of the Atlantic Charter, Hurley urged, Iran could be encouraged to develop a "pattern of self-government and free enterprise." In transmitting Hurley's letter to .the Secretary of State, Roosevelt wrote: "I was rather thrilled with the idea of using Iran as an example of what we could do by an unselfish American policy."13 The larger design was beginning to take shape.14
It was sketched out some time later in an informal policy paper forwarded to the American Embassy at Tehran by the Under Secretary of State.
The President and the Department [Stettinius said] have considered Iran as something of a testing ground for the Atlantic Charter and for the good faith of the United Nations .... There are important reasons why our present heightened interests in Iran should be extended into the postwar period .... America's
position in Iran is not intended to lapse again in any way to that of relative unimportance . . . . The impression should be avoided at all costs that we intend to stand at the side of Iran as a political buffer to restrain our Allies, the British and Russians, with regard to Iran.
Instead, there was to be an active policy of strengthening Iran and of protecting American interest against any discrimination. "Every effort will be made to obtain British and Russian collaboration. At the same time no implication of the use of armed force to maintain Iran's independence will be given."15 An Iran sufficiently strong and healthy to discourage foreign intervention was the objective. To this international consideration was added the protection and furtherance of American interests in sharing Iran's commerce and resources, not overlooking Iran's strategic location on the international air routes.
Meanwhile, during the spring preceding the dispatch of this policy statement, a new American draft agreement on the status of troops had been prepared which fared no better than its predecessors. Very late in the day Iran proposed to legalize, by unilateral declaration of the Majlis, the presence of American troops; but this proved objectionable as opening the way to the imposition by Iran of duties upon articles imported for the personal use of the American forces and to possible denial of the right of the Americans to sell or dispose of fixed or movable properties in Iran at the end of the war. A unilateral declaration by the Iranian Majlis would deprive the Americans of a chance to negotiate such questions.16
In the end no treaty or agreement was signed, nor were efforts of the Americans in the summer of 1944 to persuade the Russians and British to work out a joint agreement with Iran on the presence of Allied troops, immunities, and exemptions successful. The American command went about its business with nothing more substantial than a gentleman's agreement; but this proved, because of good faith on both sides, to be substantial enough. It was fortified by the American assumption that, though there was no written understanding, the American status was fixed by the status of the British. Furthermore, it was assumed that the existence of leases and business contracts, including the written agreement by which the United States occupied, rent free, Iranian government land at Amirabad, furnished adequate sanctions and implied Iranian consent to the unilaterally asserted American position. Beginning with American declaration of exclusive jurisdiction over its area at Khorramshahr as a military district, the Americans'
assumption of jurisdiction over their own people was extended in ever widening circles. American troops who committed criminal offenses were tried by American authorities under the general provisions of international law. American military jurisdiction over American civilians attached to War Department agencies was continuously exercised. The order of the War Shipping Administration in 1942, placing merchant seamen under military jurisdiction while in port, not only strengthened the power of the American command to keep cargoes moving despite labor agitation or mutiny but emphasized the authority and responsibility of the Americans for their own people in Iran. The Iranian Government did not question the right of the American command to set up its own postal system, nor did it present any bills for customs duties or claims for taxes.17 In the end, although there was no formal understanding as to the removal of American military personnel, this, too, was carried out informally and well in advance of the date promised by the British and Russians in the Tri-Partite Treaty. In the thorny matter of status the experiment in co-operation was once again vindicated.
Broadening the Directive
The services which the U.S. Army was able to render to the Iranian economy during the war period, while useful and numerous, were not in themselves either so vast or so significant as to justify more than passing mention in a general account of the U.S. Army in the Persian Corridor. Of many acts of temporary or purely local assistance no more record was kept than is kept by a neighbor who lends the good wife next door half a pound of sugar, or her man a lawn mower. Other services of which record survives were performed only after an amount of high-level consultation and policy-weighing altogether disproportionate to their material worth. The events which led to the broadening of General Connolly's directive to include the rendering of economic assistance to Iran are therefore more important than the consequences of the broadening itself. These events must be considered as one aspect of a regional, not a local, program. Although tensions both local and personal were generated before Connolly's directive was altered to authorize economic assistance, the determination of policy, while a matter of concern to the Departments of both State and War, was ultimately guided by the President in accordance with regional purposes and policies jointly promulgated by the British and American Governments. This much is said lest the case of the twenty-seven men, which
will appear in the following pages, should appear to be overstressed. The assignment of soldiers under General Connolly's command to perform certain services of a strictly nonmilitary nature for the government of Iran illustrates the larger problems and policies involved. It is these, and not the actual assignment of the .twenty-seven men, which are important.
The material needs of Iran during the war years became the concern of those two Allies, the British and the Americans, who recognized the relevance of Iran's economic plight to the success of the war effort. It was also relevant to the general regional problem of the economy of the Middle East as a whole. With the usual genius of the human race for doing things the hard way, responsibility for aiding Iran became the concern not of an all-wise and all-powerful authority but of a multiplicity of agencies-British and American, civilian and military, severally and in combination. On the British side an early step in channeling economic matters through a central authority was the establishment at Cairo of an Intendant-General to co-ordinate all supply and transport problems in the Middle East. In April 1941 the Intendant-General set up the Middle East Supply Center (MESC) as a clearinghouse for civilian supply for the entire region. The Intendant-Generalcy gave way to the office of Minister of State, to which Richard Casey was appointed. With his subsequent membership in the British War Cabinet, the line of administrative authority for MESC ran through him straight to the Ministry of War Transport at London. The connection with London reflected MESC's primary object: efficient regulation and control-as a war measure-of shipping and commerce among .the states of the Middle East. The purposes which motivated such controls were military: to eliminate nonessential shipping and trade; and to avoid the political and military hazards which would arise from populations made discontented or hostile by hunger, unemployment, and other end products of disorganized economies. It has been stated of MESC that its object was primarily military, its methods economic, and its accomplishments often political.18
The dispatch of the North African and Iranian Missions to the Middle East in 1941 to render lend-lease aid to the British and other friendly forces brought the United States into the picture; while the
entrance of the United States into the war put lend-lease at the service of civilian as well as military needs. The adherence of the United States, upon British invitation, to the MESC followed in the spring of 1942; but the participation of the United States in a comprehensive economic program for the Middle East was complicated by the fact that the Americans, so newly come upon the scene, possessed no single economic authority similar to that exercised by Minister of State Casey. Economic, political-diplomatic, and military agencies-all with legitimate interests in economic matters-included the War Department, with its responsibility for military allocations under lend-lease, and its implementing missions, later merged into USAFIME; the Department of State, with primary responsibility for political matters through its ministers at Cairo, Tehran, and the other Middle Eastern capitals; the Lend-Lease Administration and the Board of Economic Warfare, later merged into the Foreign Economic Administration, whose policies and functions were closely integrated with those of the State Department; the Navy; the Treasury; and the War Shipping Administration. In Iran there were also the Anglo-American Combined Supplies Committee at Tehran, the Millspaugh economic mission, and the military missions to the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie.
The administration of lend-lease matters had from the beginnings in March 1941 provided for the agencies concerned, American and foreign, a nightmare of procedural complexities. Lend-lease entered the Middle East through War Department agencies; but even from the beginning, when the War Department's primacy in determination of quotas and allocations for military purposes was strongest, it was apparent that lend-lease involved problems not primarily military. Of these the most touchy ones were determination of the ultimate receiver of particular lend-lease goods and services; the definition of the end use to which these were to be put; the attempt to see to it that no substitutions were made either in end user or in end use; and, most difficult problem of all, the procedure of allocation which involved not only the method of setting quotas but the determination of who should set them. War Department agencies in the Middle East were inclined to test every question that arose in the crucible of immediate war purposes and military objectives and programs. Lend-lease and the Department of State extended the testing area to that embraced by the larger regional purposes of MESC: the maintenance of the civilian economy. Within all three groups were some who accepted and others who strongly resisted the power, which carried over from early lend-lease conditions, by which the British, who were the chief beneficiaries, could, in effect, dole out American aid from the British quota, or, by virtue of
established British controls in the Middle East, could insist on the British right to determine quotas for the region. The desire of certain Middle Eastern nations to deal directly with the United States and not through the British emphasized even more deeply that lend-lease wore many aspects and required for its functioning the balancing of many interests.19
Accordingly, when the United States adhered to MESC both the State and War Departments were represented in it.20 But when Frederick Winant, State Department liaison officer for the Lend-Lease Administration, was soon after authorized "to represent the office of Lend-Lease Administration in the Near East Area served by the MESC," the multiplicity of interests involved may be noted in the wording of his formal instructions. "In so doing," wrote Stettinius, then LendLease Administrator, "you will consult with this office in connection with policy matters and will act in close collaboration with the local U.S. Army, Navy, and State Department authorities, and the local representatives of other U.S. agencies wherever their interests may be involved."21 In connection with Winant's appointment, and the accompanying appointment of Philip C. Kidd to Iran, the War Department in August 1942 notified General Maxwell-by then, as Commanding General, USAFIME, the head of the successors to the original American lend-lease missions-that Winant and Kidd would act as lend-lease advisers to Maxwell and Shingler, but that all lend-lease requests would re-
quire Maxwell's approval.22 Such instructions could have reduced the collaboration of Winant to compliance, or Maxwell's approval to a formality. To avoid such a dilemma called not only for the good will and co-operation of Maxwell and Winant, which both gave, but often for the even more difficult reconciliation of points of view toward lendlease that did not always coincide because of the differing approaches of War and State.23
Some months later, in January 1943, the Lend-Lease Administrator advised the Assistant Secretary of War that, in view of the fact that Winant was the ranking representative over all other lend-lease representatives in the Middle East, the Lend-Lease Administration desired to revoke all authority previously conferred on Maxwell as a representative of lend-lease. In reply the War Department, declining the proposal, pointed out that both Winant and Maxwell had been designated lend-lease representatives, and concluded:
In the absence of a definite relationship between your representative and the CG of American forces in the area, such as has been established for instance in Australia and in North Africa, the War Department must be of the view that the proposal to relieve General Maxwell of his Lend-Lease activities is not in the best interest of our war effort.24
The return to the United States in mid-1943 of both Winant and Kidd temporarily unbalanced the joint responsibility of State and War Department agencies in the administration of Middle Eastern lend-lease affairs and exposed the need for a centralized American economic authority, primarily to participate in the work of MESC, and also to co-ordinate lend-lease activities.25 All agencies concerned with economic matters in the Middle East except the military were subsequently combined into an American economic mission, and James 1Vi. Landis, Dean of the Harvard Law School and Director of the wartime Office of Civilian Defense, was made its director and named principal American civilian representative to the MESC. In defining his duties and appointing him to the personal rank of minister, the Secretary of
State stipulated that all matters involving political considerations would require consultation under the guidance of the American chief of mission in each country concerned.26 One result, besides the benefits of centralization of American economic authority, was that administrative responsibility for the MESC now devolved for the British upon the Minister of State (later the Minister Resident) and the Ministry of War Transport and for the Americans upon the American Economic Mission in the Middle East and Mr. Landis. Joint Anglo-American committees at Cairo, London, and Washington co-ordinated questions of policy where civilian and military interests required it. American influence in the MESC grew steadily stronger henceforth.27
Another result of the Landis appointment was the stimulus it afforded to the program of American economic aid for Iran; but before the Army was brought formally into the program two more mountains, in addition to those already mentioned in connection with the Middle East program as a whole, had to be moved. The name of the one was Procedure; of the other, Policy. Under the first heading came such considerations as the submission of requisitions for lend-lease articles for Iran's needs. Such requests came from a variety of Iranian governmental sources and were made to various American agencies. It was necessary also to determine a final authority in the field for screening requests, after which ultimate decisions rested with higher authority in Washington acting in conformity with over-all plans and policies for the region. The mountain Procedure therefore closely adjoined the mountain Policy; for the fact that the Persian Gulf Service Command (and its successor, the PGC) was on the spot with seemingly inexhaustible stocks of vehicles, equipment, and goods of all sorts made it the object of requests to divert its resources to Iranian needs. But these requests could not be granted without impeding the command's primary mission of aid to Russia. Without questioning Iran's need Connolly was convinced of his inability under his instructions to respond favorably to a fraction of the demands for help. He was nevertheless drawn into the program of economic aid.
At the turn of the year 1942-43, a serious food shortage, which resulted from seizure of grain and livestock by USSR occupation forces in their zone of Iran, was intensified by local hoarding and profiteering. The situation produced an agreement, signed on 4 December 1942 by American, British, and Iranian authorities, by which the Americans and the British undertook to make up food deficiencies by importation
of 30,000 tons of wheat and 24,000 tons of barley during the ensuing year. During 1943 the PGSC unloaded and delivered to Iranian customhouses civilian goods arriving at the ports and arranged for the movement of imported grain within the Corridor, thus taking an active part in solution of an emergency situation. Other actions by the Soviet authorities in their zone created deficiencies in the Iranian economy of an emergency nature. The output of the Iranian state munitions factory was diverted to the USSR, as was that of Iranian canning factories, copper mines, and military shoe factory. As lend-lease imports to fill these and other needs increased, the PGSC Gulf District established in August 1943 at Khorramshahr a storage dump and camp for guards for Iranian military supplies.28
The requisition procedure met with some differences in interpretation. In June 1943 the War and State Departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided that henceforth all independent Near Eastern countries, among them Iran, might request lend-lease aid directly from the United States and need not put their requests through the British; but no understanding was reached between War and State as to how the governments were to submit their applications. It "might be possible," a mesage from Washington stated in September, for the commanding general of PGSC to receive applications and pass them to Washington with his recommendations. Requests made through other American agencies, such as the American Minister or the American missions to the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie, would go to Washington, whence they would be submitted by the War Department to Connolly for comment.29
The policy and procedure to effect it were embodied in a paper adopted by the Munitions Assignments Board in Washington in September 1943. "In accordance with its announced policy," the paper read, "the United States Government will receive requests direct for munitions of war from all governments eligible for Lend-Lease aid . . . ."30 Applications were to go to the Munitions Assignments Board at Washington, which would then obtain the views of the military commanders in the area involved, inform United Kingdom rep-
resentatives, and receive and examine their views. This was the American position. The British position recognized "the right of any nation to apply for munitions direct to Washington, London, or any Dominion"; considered that when the claimant nation "is situated within an area of British strategic or security responsibilty" its requests, "whenever possible," should have prior approval of the British commander-in-chief of that area before being considered at Washington; and requested that "whenever possible" no commitments be made by the Munitions Assignments Board at Washington until the views of the British Chiefs of Staff had been obtained.31
The two approaches to aiding the independent countries of the Middle East led, toward the end of 1943, to a challenge by the British32 of the procedure being followed by General Ridley and Colonel Schwarzkopf in making direct requisition to Washington for lend-lease articles needed by the Iranian Army or Gendarmerie. Although the American lists had received the approval of the British military attache' at Tehran, the British position was that, since Iran was in an area of British strategic and security responsibility, the War Office at London was concerned in such matters as the size, equipment, and training of the Iranian forces. The British suggested that these matters should be handled by agreement between the chief of the American military mission concerned and the Commander-in-Chief, PAI Force. General Ridley took the position that his contract with Iran expressly forbade him to tender any advice based upon other considerations than the good of the Iranian Army, and that the proposed arrangement, if carried out, would render Ridley's position political and thus forfeit the confidence of the Iranian authorities and jeopardize the purpose of his mission. Ridley noted that if the Americans and the British were to plan to "speak with one voice," as the British commander of PAI Force had urged, such agreement would have to be negotiated at the diplomatic level. This view was upheld at the War Department the following April 1944, and what began as a procedural matter ended in the realm of policy with American insistence on the Iranian Government's right to determine its own policies and to effectuate them by direct appeal to the fountainhead of lend-lease.33
While this weaning of Iran from British tutelage was being attempted through Anglo-American adjustments, the question of General Connolly's authority to render economic aid to Iran was being threshed out within the American official family. Two factors put Connolly in a pivotal position: the possession by his command of articles suitable for use in aid of Iran; and the fact that Washington asked for his views on requests for aid which came via the American Legation and the Millspaugh, Ridley, and Schwarzkopf missions. Many of the demands on Iran's behalf were clearly for nonmilitary purposes, like a request for the loan of equipment to dig irrigation ditches and wells. This type of assistance, strongly supported by Minister Dreyfus and the President's ambassador-at-large, General Hurley, was usually denied by Connolly as lying outside his primary mission.34
In the matter of building up the Iranian Gendarmerie with American supplies, Colonel Schwarzkopf experienced difficulty in converting General Connolly (and the War Department) to the project. Requests for supplies, approved by the Department of State, by the British military attache at Tehran, and by Philip Kidd, civilian head of lend-lease in Iran, often foundered upon the rock of War Department nonconcurrence.35 It was the view of the Department of State that the requested equipment was essential to civil well-being in Iran, in accordance with the general purposes of MESC, which had their roots, as has been noted, in military necessity. Moreover, mid-1943 found conditions in Iran, in the opinion of the commanding general of USAFIME, highly alarming. General Brereton reported to Washington in August, as follows: "Employees are likely to revolt against the Iranian Government. The British can discover no group upon which to found plans for internal security. It is asserted that confidence in American advisers is decreasing and a state of chaos developing."36 Whether or not Connolly shared Brereton's alarm, he did not abandon his basic assumption that the strengthening of Iran's economy lay beyond his primary mission to aid Russia. In exasperation Minister
Dreyfus in a message to Secretary Hull denounced this attitude and castigated Connolly and his fiscal director, Colonel Stetson, for what he saw as their indifference to Iranian problems.37
But to Connolly the Iranian problem wore one aspect, and to Dreyfus another. In the two men the differing approaches of the War and State Departments to the problem of Iran were personified and brought face to face. As spokesmen for their departments' policies, they clashed, as the policies each was bound to pursue clashed. Even after the assignment of Minister Dreyfus to another post, following the Tehran Conference, removed the mounting personal tension between Dreyfus and Connolly, the War and State Departments still lacked a harmonious meshing of their differing means for attaining the same general ends on behalf of the Iranian problem.
The appointment of Landis in September to be American director of economic operations in the Middle East helped to weight the scales in favor of the views of the State Department. In a diagnosis of Iran's troubles, prepared in November for Harry Hopkins to take to the Tehran Conference, Landis ranked foremost the lack of food. He found other consumer goods in sufficient supply, but the means of distribution (transport) disrupted. Iran's third fundamental lack was system, or what Americans liked to call know-how.38 Despite the encouragement to administrative reform supplied by the Millspaugh economic mission the machinery of Iran's economy was still dangerously inefficient.
The story now reaches the case of the twenty-seven men.39 As a means of attacking Iran's three lacks, Landis requested Connolly to furnish seventeen officers and ten men to assist in solving problems connected with the transport of cereal and sugar beets for civilian needs and fuel and oil for the Iranian transport system. The request was referred to Washington to the headquarters of the Army Service Forces, whence General Somervell on 6 December 1943 directed an inquiry to Harry Hopkins at Cairo to ascertain from the President (who was in Egypt on his way home from the Tehran Conference) whether he desired the Army to furnish that sort of assistance to a State Department
mission. Somervell stressed the view that the Army would not consider such assistance a precedent for the future. An affirmative answer having been received the next day, Somervell ordered Connolly to furnish the desired Army personnel.
The President's approval was followed by two moves to assure that the Army's assistance could be relied upon in other cases than that of the twenty-seven men. Wallace Murray, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs of the Department of State, requested the Commanding General, Army Service Forces, to broaden Connolly's instructions to authorize the furnishing of equipment and forces in aid of Iran; and Landis, at Hopkins' suggestion, sought for and obtained from the President a letter containing the following passage:
Your work, under the directives you have received from the Department of State and the Foreign Economic Administration, is primarily concerned with the conduct of economic activities relating to the war. In that work you will, of course, put first the strengthening in every way of the warm and co-operative relations with our Allies, upon which our success in the war, and thereafter, so largely depend. On occasion you may require the assistance of other branches of the United States Government, now active in the Middle East, to make your endeavors in the economic field effective. Within this area of operations you are authorized to show this letter to such officials of the United States in order that the aid they may reasonably give you may be forthcoming within the limits of their staffs and in so far as is consistent with political and military policies.40
The Murray proposal was examined by the State and War Departments for several weeks, General Connolly's views were obtained, and War made clear to State its concern to safeguard its primary mission lest its resources be dissipated. War urged that Connolly's aim should be to help Iran help itself and not have "the American Army do the work which Iran needs done." Granting Connolly the authority requested by State was not to be interpreted as sponsoring activities in finance, agriculture, and health. The War Department cautioned against rendering aid in such a way as to arouse misunderstanding in Iran, instancing a case in which the British, using trucks with British Army markings, assisted in collecting the Iranian harvest, only to incur the suspicion of the Iranian public that they were diverting the harvest to their own uses. Acting in accordance with Connolly's recommendation, the War Department on 12 February 1944 amended Connolly's Letter of Instructions by granting him discretionary authority to render for short periods such aid as had been requested by the Department of
State. The kinds of aid covered included furnishing technical advice and lending equipment and personnel, providing no interference with Connolly's primary mission ensued. Connolly later asked that, to avoid inviting a flood of requests whose denial might lead to ill feeling, public announcement of the new directive be withheld.41
In accordance with his broadened authority, Connolly made the twenty-seven men available to Landis who recommended their assignment to the Iranian Road Transport Department, under the direction of Floyd F. Shields, transport adviser in the Millspaugh mission. Plans were made to use them in a thoroughgoing reorganization of Iranian road transport calculated to require a year's time. Applauded by the Department of State, this assignment of American Army personnel was regarded within the War Department as based upon an erroneous concept of aid to Iran. An OPD memorandum suggested that the Iranians, instead of training their own people, hoped to keep the twenty-seven men indefinitely. The Chief of Staff on 31 March notified the Department of State that they should be replaced by Iranian civilian or military personnel by 26 August 1944, and for this reason Connolly's recommendation that they be detached from the PGC and organized as a special mission was not approved. The request was made without knowledge of Marshall's intention to put a time limit on the men's availability.42
The difference in attitude between State and War was not now over the desirability of the Army's lending aid in the economic program but over extent and method. In the determination of these the Army's voice in military lend-lease and in the apportionment of its personnel and equipment was fairly matched by the Department of State's voice at the diplomatic level. A stalemate was avoided by the day-to-day balancing of the two prerogatives and responsibilities and by a further refinement of the procedures by which requests for aid were screened. On 23 February 1944 Connolly reported to Marshall on the extent of aid already rendered or planned for and gave his estimate of the probable sources of further requests.43 In addition to citing the services rendered in 1943 in handling grain importations for the civilian economy, Connolly stated that he was considering using empty Motor Transport Service trucks on the southward return run to haul 1,500 tons of Iranian Government-owned wheat from Hamadan to Dorud. Further assistance in transport had been furnished through the supply
in 1943 on memorandum receipt of 200 motor vehicles for an indefinite period and the assembly by Connolly's plants of 360 trucks shipped to the Ridley mission under lend-lease.44 Most requests for assistance, Connolly reported, had come from the Millspaugh mission and it was anticipated that this source and the Shah, rather than the Ridley and Schwarzkopf missions, would provide most future requests. Contacts were being maintained with Millspaugh, Ridley, Schwarzkopf, the American Embassy at Tehran, and L. Stephen Timmerman, American adviser to the civilian police.
In reply to this report the War Department sent Connolly a long message on the procedures being adopted for handling the diverse requests for aid expected to follow the broadening of the directive. By direction of the Department of State the American Embassy was to screen all requests. Although Connolly's operations had priority over those of the U.S. missions to the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie, Connolly was to give these agencies all possible help, in such a way as to reflect credit upon them as instruments of the American policy of aiding Iran. General Ridley's opinion was to be sought in cases where projects could be carried out in whole or in part by the Iranian Army or Gendarmerie, but Connolly was to have the last word on participation by PGC. The message closed with a declaration of policy. "We do not want American soldiers to undertake any work that can be done by Iranian civilians or soldiers. Assignment of American troops to execute any requests would be the best way of meeting the situation, but this method would not be in conformance with the principle of aiding the Iranians to aid themselves, and would deter the development of Iranian abilities."45
Projects and requisitions for Iran approved by Connolly were nevertheless subject to overriding diplomatic policy and, in the case of the road transport project including the twenty-seven men, to the vicissitudes of Iranian politics. The President's policy of aiding the Iranians to help themselves required a corollary insistence that aid be entrusted only to competent agencies, capable of putting it to effective use. In accordance with this principle the American Embassy at Tehran approved lend-lease supply of military goods for the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie because the Ridley and Schwarzkopf missions were able to direct their use effectively. On the other hand, by the end of June
1944, the Millspaugh mission had encountered such severe opposition to its operations as to evoke a threat from the Iranian Prime Minister and Majlis to repeal the sweeping economic powers of its director as Administrator General of Finance. Moreover, the issuance of orders to return the twenty-seven American officers and men to active status with the PGC had rendered the tenure of office of Floyd Shields, to whose direction they were assigned, so precarious that the American Embassy directed the suspension of delivery of road transport vehicles, tires, and spares "until it is clear that their use will be controlled by a reliable organization." In a matter of days the threat passed and the embassy asked Connolly to release the articles. This proved, however, only the lull before the storm, for by the following January 1945 official announcement was made of the withdrawal of all economic power from Millspaugh.46
The departure of the Millspaugh mission left only the War Department agencies-the Persian Gulf Command and the military advisory missions-to implement the President's policy toward Iran as formulated by the Department of State.
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