741.91/23: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)

5844. Your urgent 2831, August 18, 7 p.m.

The Anglo–Persian agreement has caused a very unfavorable impression upon both the President and me and we are not disposed to ask our Minister at Teheran to assist the British Government or to ask him to preserve a friendly attitude toward this agreement. At Paris I asked of Mr. Balfour three times that the Persians have an opportunity to be heard before the Council of Foreign Ministers because of their claims and boundaries and because their territory had been a battle ground. Mr. Balfour was rather abrupt in refusing to permit them to have a hearing. It now appears that at the time I made these requests Great Britain was engaged in a secret negotiation to gain at least economic control of Persia. The secrecy employed and the silence observed seem contrary to the open and frank methods which ought to have prevailed and may well impair the bases of a peace inspired by friendliness. We cannot and will not do anything to encourage such secret negotiations or to assist in allaying the suspicion and dissatisfaction which we share as to an agreement negotiated in this manner.

You will respond to Lord Curzon’s request in this general sense.