788.00/2–2750: Telegram

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


330. Department inform Army, Navy, Air. The situation in Iran is bad, deteriorating, and dangerous. I do not believe that Razmara (Embtel 268, February 14)1 or Eqbal2 (Embtel 289, February 19)1 or our many other top level contacts, all unanimous, are being unduly pessimistic.

Iran is dominated economically by archaic feudalism, tempered only by corruption. Within the ruling hierarchy there is notable lack of coordination.

Economic conditions involving hunger and despair among the masses are an obvious invitation to subversive activities. This invitation is not being “declined.”

We cannot counteract this by VOA, Smith-Mundt, or Point Four. More is needed. Point Four, for example, with money, will not accomplish very much because the necessary governmental and financial support and preconditions for investment do not exist; in any event not enough to meet the immediate situation.

Iran is a light-weight matched against a heavy-weight. Under no circumstances can we be very optimistic. However, our investment for peace in the world is so vast that I question whether we can justify, either to ourselves or to Iran, aid to Iran, both economic and military, that is only “token.”

We should face the facts and on the highest level re-evaluate the position of Iran in the mosaic of our strategic planning and thinking. We should then decide either to let Iran go down the drain by default or else to attempt something effective.

By effective, I mean economic measures based on adequate financial support through grants and credits which under American control and direction could alleviate any crushing distress of the masses.

This in turn would facilitate military collaboration since the army is recruited from the masses.

While one may have no illusions that Iran could successfully resist Russian invasion, it is true that Iran if given the will to resist could very greatly impede such invasion, thus augmenting in considerable measure the logistic and manpower burden on the invading army.

[Page 482]

Telegraphic evaluation of the increase in subversive activities under the direction of Tudeh will follow shortly,3 also analysis economic situation by despatch.4

Sent Department 330; repeated London 25, Department pass Moscow 26.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Dr. Manuchehr Eqbal, Iranian Minister of Roads and Communications.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Telegram 341, February 27, from Tehran, not printed (788.001/2–2750).
  5. Despatch 87, March 6, from Tehran, transmitted a memorandum prepared by the Embassy for Department of State consideration, analyzing the situation in Iran and suggesting a reexamination of the Department’s policy on economic aid to Iran (888.00/3–650).