788.13/3–2550: Telegram

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

top secret

533. ReDeptel 334, March 24.1 Selection Ali Mansur for Prime Minister has been received with consternation and stupefaction even by royal family and inner circle court entourage. Shah after several days extreme vacillation suddenly made choice of Mansur with little or perhaps even no consultation with anyone. His motives entirely obscure and are probably directed against someone rather than for any positive purpose. A political leader who has my confidence and who is loyal to Shah tells me he feels Pahlevi dynasty may be on way out like Kajars. If Mansur, as is rumored, succeeds in making Bader, currently keeper of the Meshed shrine, Minister of Finance, new government will be gallery of rogues.

General consensus is that Mansur will encounter great opposition in Majlis and will have very hard row to hoe. However, he is a smooth operator and is tied in with much that, although corrupt, is influential. Although he has notoriously sticky fingers, he is openhanded in furthering operation his political machine. He has emissaries all over country. For example, he sent emissary within last two days to my personal physician, a deputy, to find out what his price would be for support. Response was negative.

It may be he will successfully form government and remain in power some time. This is unfortunate since months spring to autumn in Iran this year will be of crucial importance.

Ali Mansur is not pro-Soviet. He has much accumulated loot and would be among first to suffer grievously from Communist usurpation power in Iran. He belongs, however, I fear, to category of deluded who believe they can outsmart Russians. He has, however, a daughter who is an outspoken Communist and who has just married Secretary Iran Embassy Paris who is Tudeh.

I do not regard situation with dismay. A firm policy with adequate material support on our part could bring situation back in line. As previously reported and as Department is aware, we have been sitting here in game of high stakes without even having any white chips. Reporting fully by airpouch.2

Sent Department 533; Department pass Moscow 61, and inform Army, Navy and Air.

  1. Not printed; it requested the Embassy in Iran’s views on the appointment of Ali Mansur as Prime Minister (788.13/3–2350).
  2. Airgram A–65, March 24, 1950, from Tehran, not printed (788.00/3–2450).