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165. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

3431. 1. Court source extremely close Shah told Embassy Attaché yesterday evening that Shah on insistence Mosadeq planning leave country very soon. I authorized Attaché convey through this source to Shah my opinion that it might have extremely unfortunate consequences for Iran if latter should leave country just now in apparently hasty manner. Shah sent back message he did not (repeat not) really intend leave country. He only pretending for Mosadeq’s benefit. Message continued that Mosadeq had changed his mind and was now (repeat now) insisting that Shah remain. Shah intended at last moment to defer to Mosadeq’s urging and abandon trip.

2. I had lunch with Ala today. He had just received phone call from Shah who apparently was disturbed at leaks re his departure plans. Shah had asked Ala impress on me secrecy. Ala said Shah had told him that if his plans should become known prematurely, developments might take place which would prevent his departure. I asked Ala if Shah seriously intended leave. He replied in affirmative; arrangements were being made for Shah to broadcast message to his people at about 4 p.m. February 28 stating reasons for departure. Shah would leave by car at 5 p.m. accompanied by Queen, two servants, several guards. Gharagozlu, master ceremonies, and wife would proceed Baghdad by plane March 1 to join Shah’s party. After visit in Spain Shah and Queen plan go to Switzerland for winter sports and medical treatment. I believe despite message allegedly sent me by Shah he really intends leave Saturday evening.

3. Ala says it extremely important that so far as possible press US be influenced to take line that there no (repeat no) great political significance in Shah’s departure. Speculation comparing Shah with Farouk would weaken Shah’s position. No (repeat no) real parallel. Mosadeq has given word of honor he will not (repeat not) undermine Shah in latter’s absence and Shah believes Mosadeq. They are lunching together today.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.11/2–2753. Top Secret: Security Information; NIACT. Repeated NIACT to London and Baghdad. Received at 12:14 p.m. The telegram is printed with redactions in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. X, Iran, 1951–1954, p. 683 (Document 306).