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159. Briefing Notes Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency for Director of Central Intelligence Dulles1


1. On 20 February Mossadeq advised Shah he would resign 24 February2 in view

a. palace intrigues,

b. Shah’s unfriendly attitude and

c. his responsibility for disturbances among tribes and in army.

2. Same day Ambassador Henderson presented last British offer which received in friendly way but likely to be rejected. No real change.

3. Mossadeq is out to finish Shah and reportedly has made three demands

1. Turn over Crown property to government

2. Abandon control of army

3. Clean out court

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4. Shah capitulated:3

1. To make clear Army takes orders from Mossadeq.

2. Stop seeing unfriendly persons.

3. Discuss distribution crown lands.

5. Danger lies in leaving entire control in Mossadeq’s hands because his elimination by assassination or otherwise would leave vacuum into which Tudeh Party might move.4

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80R01443R, Box 1, Folder 6, NSC Briefing 25 Feb 53. Top Secret; Security Information. Prepared on February 25 for DCI Dulles’ briefing to the NSC. There is a notation on the notes indicating they were “used.”
  2. The phrase “go over to people” is inserted here by hand.
  3. The first two sentences of point 4, “This major step in destroying Shah’s power. Shah has promised” were crossed out in pencil and replaced with the words, “Shah capitulated:”
  4. At the 134th meeting of the NSC on February 26, Dulles noted that “the most recent intelligence had made clear that Mossadegh’s maneuvers, begun on January 20 to reduce the Shah to impotence, had pretty well succeeded. Mossadegh had made three demands on the Shah—one with respect to handing over most of the Crown lands; secondly, assurance that Mossadegh would control the army; and thirdly, a promise by the Shah to cease contact with persons unfriendly to Mossadegh. So far as the resignation of either Mossadegh or the Shah was concerned, the crisis which Mr. Dulles had indicated as imminent last week could be considered over. But there was now a dangerous vacuum in the power picture. If the Shah’s power was completely gone, it would be extremely difficult to find any constitutional alternative to Mossadegh if he were driven from power. The possibilities that the Communists would fill this power vacuum had been heightened.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Box 4, NSC Series, 134th NSC Meeting)