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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Iran,   pp. 718-766 PDF (18.1 MB)

Page 730

second-class mail matter forwarded by our Despatch Agent in London
since the early part of January.
  In this treatment of French mail and British mail, as contrasted
with the treatment accorded American mail, there is manifest dis-
crimination. By any impartial standard it seems obvious that the
American press during the past year has given no more cause for
complaint than the French or the British press. The American press
has produced nothing, for example, to compare, in general offensive-
ness, with Innocence and Design, a book which appeared under a
London imprint, and with which the Department is acquainted.
  Under the circumstances, it seemed that representations to the
Foreign Office of some sort were clearly indicated at an early moment
while the facts giving rise to the discrimination were still fresh. On
the other hand, the Legation did not feel that the matter justified ex-
penditure for a long telegram of explanation to the Department in
order to obtain authorization to protest. Accordingly, the expedient
was adopted of formulating the approach as an inquiry, a request for
information which would necessarily be laid before the Department.
The conversations which have been held on the subject are enclosed
herewith in the form of memoranda. The reply of the Foreign Office,
however, cannot be expected prior to the return of the Shah, which
is expected on March 27th, from his journey in the south.
  It may be added that it seemed best to take advantage of the favor-
able atmosphere now existing due to the recent consummation of the
Hart concessions.17 It would have been unfair to Mr. Hart to inject
a delicate element of this sort before his concessions were legally com-
pleted on the Iranian side, but now that they are complete this ob-
jection has lost its force.
  Admittedly, the whole question is one to be handled with caution.
But the French have now been tarred with the same brush as our-
selves; they received a very thin coating, quickly removed, whereas we
have been wearing a very thick one for a long time. To the Legation
it has seemed justifiable at this time to ask the simple question:
"Why ?"
  Respectfully yours,                        GORDOwN P. MERRIAM
                           [Enclosure 1]
Memorandum    of Conversation Between the American Chargeq
  (Merriam) and the Chief of the Third Political Division of the
  Iranian Foreign Office (Massoud-Ansari), March 16, 1937
  The Charge d'Affaires, accompanied by the Legation interpreter,
called on M. Massoud-Ansari for the purpose of reminding the Foreign
IT See pp. 734 if.

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