Memorandum of the Third Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

The Persian Minister called this morning, on the eve of his departure for Switzerland to join and have a conference with the Shah. He spoke of the Anglo–Persian Treaty, asked what negotiations had occurred between the United States and England, and referred to the recent account which appeared in the New York World of England’s reply to us. He said that in that account Lord Curzon had been quoted as saying that the United States Government had been advised of the matter through Colonel House. I reminded him that in the same account the statement had been made that if any information had been given to a representative of the United States as to England’s intentions in regard to the Treaty, the advice was of such a casual and informal character that it made no impression on anyone and was not taken as being a communication.

He asked if there were any modifications which England had agreed to with the United States, and showed me another clipping from the World stating that there had been. I told him no, there [Page 719] had been none. He asked what he should tell his Shah as to the position which the United States would take and what its position had been. I told him he might say to His Majesty that the Government of the United States had expressed its surprise to England and had declined to participate or to take any action which would indicate its approval of the Treaty. He intimated that as ratification by Parliament was necessary for the validity of the Treaty and as the Shah was shortly returning to Persia, an arrangement might be made by the Shah to prevent ratification and asked what attitude we would take.

In response I told him that it was a matter which was purely Persian and that we could not take any attitude but that we would feel very sorry to see an arrangement made by the terms of which Persia would lose part or the whole of its sovereignty.

Breckinridge Long