210. Memorandum for the Record1

Ambassador Henderson has recently been informed on a number of occasions by close associates of the Shah that he is disturbed regarding British attitude toward himself. He has reportedly stated on occasions, “The British threw out the Qajar dynasty; they brought in my father; they threw out my father; and they can throw me out or keep me as they see fit. If they desire that I should remain and that the Court should retain powers given it by the Constitution, I should be informed. Likewise, if the British wish me to go, I should know immediately so that I can quietly leave. Do the British wish to substitute another Shah for me or to abolish the monarchy? Are the British back of present efforts to take away my powers and deprive me of my prestige in Iran and abroad?”

On May 17, the Shah sent an emissary to Ambassador Henderson to say that much would be done to clarify the situation if Ambassador Henderson could ascertain secretly and unequivocally the British attitude toward the Shah.

Ambassador Henderson plans to leave Iran on June 3 to return to the United States on leave and will see the Shah prior to his departure.


Message From British Prime Minister Churchill 2

“You may certainly inform the State Department that while we do not interfere in Persian politics we should be very sorry to see the Shah lose his powers or leave his post or be driven out. Perhaps Mr. Henderson will convey this assurance to the Shah and say that it comes personally from me.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, GTI Files, Lot 57 D 529, Alleged British Intrigues. Top Secret. Drafted by Richards.
  2. A handwritten note by Richards below this message reads: “Note Message for Shah from Sir Winston Churchill handed to me by Beeley on 5/28/53.”