The Ambassador in Iran (Wiley) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Dean: Daily there are reports that the American cornucopia is gushing; the latest news is that great sums are going to Indonesia.1 But so far not a nickel has reached Iran in the form either of grants or credits for economic aid. As yet nothing has come to Iran in the form of direct military aid. What is in the offing in this respect seems to have the dimensions of a bag of peanuts. Psychologically this is of course very bad for Iran.

In the matter of military aid, Iran is being condemned to obscurity on grounds that are illogical; namely that (1) the financial position [Page 471] of Iran is so good that Iran should not receive much in the way of direct aid. (Actually the financial position of Iran is dubious, if not bad.) And then, (2) that the economic situation of Iran is so bad that to increase the military establishment of Iran would be a disastrous drain on the resources of the country.

This to me is as weird as the Eleusinian Mysteries and as unintelligible as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

I think it advisable that on a very high level there be reconsideration of our policy towards Iran.

Iran so far has stayed outside the Iron Curtain. A very great part of the credit for this is due to Iran itself. That Russia does not intend to lie dormant with regard to Iran, where poverty is abject, is more than evident. The Tudeh Party, driven underground, has been refinanced and resuscitated into new, vigorous and dangerous vitality. General Razmara, the Chief of Staff, now tells us that the Army is no longer able to cope with subversive Communist activities.2 This, from him, is startling.

I recommend first that something effective be done to remedy the economic situation of Iran. Iran is crumbling away. The Seven Year Plan will not save the situation soon enough. Immediate economic aid is most urgently required. Time is of the essence.

Then, I am strongly opposed to our present policy of “token” military aid. We fool only ourselves. “Token” aid is provocative but not preventive and Iran remains a most vulnerable spot on the periphery.

Once I had a friend who saved up enough money to buy a dress suit to take the girl of his choice to a dance. The great moment arrived. But he had forgotten to buy the white tie; everything, therefore, went askew.

In our policy towards Greece, Turkey and Iran, Iran is, I think, the white tie we forgot to buy.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Indonesia had received a $100 million line of credit from the Export-Import Bank of Washington in February 1950. For documentation on economic assistance to Indonesia, see vol. vi, pp. 964 ff.
  2. Reference is to a conversation, February 13, of General Razmara with Mr. Dooher, reported in telegram 268, February 14, from Tehran, not printed (788.00/2–1450).