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10. Memorandum From the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans (Roosevelt) to the Deputy Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Dulles)1

SUBJECT

  • NIE–6—Iran’s Position in the East-West Conflict2

1. In accordance with your telephone request to Mr. Wisner, I am submitting the following comments on NIE–6 prepared by ourselves in collaboration with OSO.

2. We feel that the basic fault of this paper is that it is not addressed to the present situation in Iran. (Historically, NIE–6 was designed as a supporting paper for NSC 107.3) In our opinion it fails to come to grips with the essential question, which is whether the loss of Iran to USSR domination in the “cold war” would vitally affect the security of the US. It merely states “there is a danger”. We feel that Iran’s loss under “cold war” conditions would be disastrous and that unless something is done to stem the tide it is a strong possibility.

3. It is difficult to quarrel with individual sentences or statements in NIE–6. However, we feel that there are many sins of omission rather than commission and that the tone gives the impression that the situation is neither critical or remediable. We do not feel that conclusions 1 b and 1 c and 2 b and 2 c can be separated so distinctly but that the situation described in (b) of both paragraphs greatly increases the likelihood of situation (c) developing.

4. We further feel that while the wording of paragraph 3 is technically correct it implies that US interests would best be served by not aiding Iran. Admittedly no firm alignment of Iran with the United States can be assured by any program, but if the loss of Iran is “vital to the security interests of the US in the cold war” every effort should be made to obtain the best alignment possible.

5. The statements in paragraph 8 relating to the strength of subversive elements in Iran, and the ability of the Iranian security forces to control those elements, seem over optimistic. Admittedly there is no clear evidence that the government does not have control of the army [Page 46]and the gendarmérie. Also, there is no conclusive evidence that the Tudeh Party has been able to penetrate the army and the security organizations to any considerable degree. However, the death of Razmara has eliminated the one man who did have effective control of the security forces. The Tudeh Party remains the one secure organization in Iran, and we are without reliable estimates as to its strength and capability. OSO, however, does have scattered information which is now being assembled and which indicates that the Tudeh is stronger and the security forces weaker than generally assumed. It should be noted in this connection that while some months ago the Iranian Government arrested many Tudeh leaders they were never properly interrogated, and shortly after they were arrested, the majority “escaped”. The fact that there was no effective interrogation as well as the manner of their escape would indicate possible Tudeh or Soviet penetration at high levels.

Kermit Roosevelt
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 79–01228A, Box 11, Folder 14, Iran 1951–1953. Top Secret.
  2. Roosevelt was presumably commenting on the March 21 draft of NIE–6. (Ibid.) For the text of NIE–6 as distributed, see Document 13.
  3. Document 6.