UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II
The Middle East Theater
THE PERSIAN CORRIDOR
AND AID TO RUSSIA
T. H. Vail Motter
CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
UNITED STATES ARMY
WASHINGTON, D. C., 2000
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 52-60791
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, D.C. 20402
This volume relates the problems faced by Allies who met in strange lands without the benefit of tested and well co-ordinated policies to govern their diplomatic and military relations. The jealousies and conflicting interests of nations and of government agencies, together with the overlapping of authorities, aggravated an already complex situation. The history here presented seems to make axiomatic the necessity for a single commander in the field who has clear-cut instructions based on long-range plans that have been evolved from past experience and precedent.
Because of its valuable information and acute analysis, this book is essential reading for those faced with the responsibility of future planning in the realms of strategy and its logistical elements. Soldier, diplomat, and financier will find in the following pages a forewarning of the type of problems to be encountered whether in the field of transportation, communications, access to raw materials, the insurance of uninterrupted oil supplies, or in the unpredictable and delicate job of international relations.
Those on the ground struggled with immediate problems not always clearly seen from a distance. Anticipation, planning, and study of history may reduce, if not eliminate, such difficulties in the future.
The author, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale, spent more than two years with the U.S. Army in the Middle East during the war and served for nearly seven years as Chief of the Middle East Section, Office of the Chief of Military History. He has published books and articles in the field of literary and historical scholarship.
Washington, D. C.
15 December 1951
Maj. Gen., U. S. A.
Chief of Military History
No book which takes years to write and another year to bring to publication can hope to keep up with events in Iran. I have therefore dropped a chapter on the postwar years because I could only record in it confused and ever graver incidents without being able, at such close range, to assess their meaning.
Moreover, my purpose has been to tell the story of United States Army activity in the Persian Corridor during the war years 1941-1945. Since the true historical significance of that activity may well prove to be not the success of the aid-to-Russia supply effort-significant as that was to the victory-but the intimate association of the United States with the state of Iran, I have set the Army's story within the larger framework of economic, social, and political factors, without, I hope, taking my eye from the object, which was to show how the Army got there, what it did, and what its activity meant.
I have drawn for primary sources upon official documents and upon interviews and correspondence, and for secondary sources upon narratives prepared during the war at U.S. Army headquarters, Tehran. The location of documents cited in the footnotes may in some instances be ascertained by reference to the Glossary, where designations of collections are explained. The chief of these include the files of headquarters and subheadquarters of the American commands at Tehran and Cairo; and at Washington the files of the War Department General Staff, War Plans and Operations Divisions, the Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office, the Control and International Divisions, Army Service Forces, the Military Intelligence Division, the files of the North Atlantic Division Engineer and of the New York Ordnance Department (both at New York); and at Washington again, the files of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, the Office of the Chief of Transportation, the Department of State, and the Foreign Economic Administration. Smaller selected files assembled by the historical sections at Tehran and Cairo (cited as the Persian Gulf Files and the Middle East Files respectively) have also been heavily drawn upon. I am obliged to the officials of the Historical Section, Cabinet Office, London, for their courtesy in furnishing copies of British documents not available in American files; and to the following civilian contractors who allowed access to the records of their Persian Corridor operations and, through conference and correspondence, supplied valuable information or commentary: Foley Brothers, Inc.; Spencer, White
and Prentis, Inc.; the General Motors Overseas Corporation; the Douglas Aircraft Company; the J. G. White Engineering Corporation; the Bahrain Petroleum Company; and the Bechtel-McCone Company. Specific obligations in these and all other instances are cited in the footnotes.
Many persons, through interviews, correspondence, and memoranda, have supplied information, criticism, and a variety of points of view useful in the highest degree. I am especially grateful to the following: Col. Philip T. Boone, Brig. Gen. Donald P. Booth, Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, Col. L. D. Curtis, Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr., Arthur W. DuBois, C. Vaughan Ferguson, John W. Frey, Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, Col. Milford F. Henkel, Philip C. Kidd, James M. Landis, John Lawrence, Col. Albert C. Lieber, Jr., Derwood W. Lockard, Maj. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell, Wallace Murray, Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley, Brig. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Charles H. Sells, Brig. Gen. Don G. Shingler, Col. John B. Stetson, Jr., Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Sweet, Frederick Winant, Edwin M. Wright, T. Cuyler Young, and Brig. Gen. Paul F. Yount.
Most useful of secondary sources were the studies prepared in the Historical Section, Office of Technical Information, Headquarters, Persian Gulf Command, by 1st Lt. Francis J. Lewis, Acting Chief of the Section, and the following noncommissioned officers: Laurence P. Corbett, Ralph W. Kerns, Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., Ogden C. Reed, Wallace P. Rusterholtz, and George B. Zeigler. They are narratives (cited with their authors' names in the footnotes) totaling a quarter of a million words, written at the level of the operating units. The studies provided information, background, and a reservoir of incident and comment of the sort that does not reach papers produced at the highest levels. Three of these narratives, abridged by Sylvia Josif (Mrs. Harold Josif), provided the starting point for my chapters on port, railway, and trucking operations.
Washington, D. C.
15 December 1951
T. H. VAIL MOTTER
|I. EXPERIMENT IN CO-OPERATION||3|
|II. YEAR OF CONFUSION||28|
|III. SIX MONTHS IN IRAQ||44|
|IV. INTERLUDE OF THE MISSION TO THE USSR||65|
|V. THE IRANIAN MISSION AND ITS SUCCESSORS||82|
|VI. WHARVES, ROADS, AND BARGES||101|
|VII. AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY AND DELIVERY||124|
|VIII. MOTOR VEHICLE ASSEMBLY AND DELIVERY||139|
|IX. STRENGTHENING IRAN||156|
|X. NEW JOB, NEW TOOLS: THE SOS PLAN||175|
|XI. BLUEPRINT FOR THE MACHINE||212|
|XII. THE MACHINE AT WORK||240|
|XIII. THE AIR CORPS TAKES. OVER AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY||264|
|XIV. THE ARMY TAKES OVER THE TAP'S||274|
|The End of Operations||281|
|XV. OIL FOR THE WAR||284|
|Early Pipeline Projects||285|
|Increase of Middle East Refinery Capacity-Bahrain||291|
|Container Plants at Abadan and Bahrain||298|
|Supply of POL Within the Command||302|
|Gasoline for Russia||306|
|XVI. TRUCK TRANSPORT||309|
|The Trucks Start Rolling||316|
|Operations and Obstacles||322|
|XVII. THE RAILWAY||331|
|Authority and Responsibility||333|
|The Power of the Purse||339|
|The Americans Take Over||346|
|Men at Work||353|
|Problems and Solutions||360|
|The Last Months||375|
|XVIII. PORT OPERATIONS||379|
|Evolution of American Responsibility||380|
|The American Organization and Its Functions||385|
|The Ports and Their Problems||392|
|XIX. TARGET ZERO||417|
|The Process of Contraction||418|
|Evacuation and Redeployment||425|
|Liquidation of Property||427|
|XX. THE U.S. ARMY AND AID TO IRAN||435|
|The Question of Status||437|
|Broadening the Directive||447|
|XXI. THE MILITARY ADVISORY MISSIONS||461|
|The Work of the Missions||464|
|Priorities and Policy||468|
|The Question of Continuing the Missions||473|
|6. Freight Hauled in the Persian Corridor by the Motor Transport Service, 1943-1944||492|
|14. Estimated Costs of Constructing Fixed Installations in the Persian Corridor, 1943-1945||501|
|1.United States Army Forces in the Middle East||502|
|1. Approaches to the Middle East||Inside back cover|
|2. Principal Russian-Aid Routes||Inside back cover|
|3.The Districts, 1942-1945||223|
|4. American-Operated Routes||314|
|5. The Ports||Inside back cover|
|Iran Aerial Photo of Khorramshahr||392|
|Iran Aerial Photo of Bandar Shahpur||393|
The Frontispiece, supplied by the Department of State, is from the White House files.
The two photos are from the U. S. Air Forces, Department of Defense.
page updated December 2001