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

42. Had hour’s conversation with Amini, Acting Minister Court, this morning covering wide range subjects. He talked very frankly. Following are highlights:

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1. With postponement Emir Saud’s visit, Shah again anxious take trip abroad (Embtel 4350 of May 7, 1953).2 Amini is attempting dissuade. Stated that Shah suspicious by nature was apt to see changes which did not (repeat not) exist and needed reassurance. Could he, Amini, tell Shah that Embassy still felt trip at this juncture a mistake? I told him that my personal opinion was that trip at present juncture would be misconstrued both in Iran and abroad.

2. Time was approaching when he felt that his brother, Mahmud Amini, should be made chief of staff. Present incumbent, Riahi, was too close to Iran party and its leftish sympathies. I observed that this seemed purely internal Iranian affair. Without passing on relative merits of officers wished state that ARMISH had reported increased cooperation since Riahi made chief of staff. Similarly GENMISH had found Brigadier Amini most cooperative. Minister Court then stated perhaps change not (repeat not) necessary.

3. Amini then stated he thought that US promise of say 100 million dollars (even though that amount not (repeat not) forthcoming) could move Mosadeq to get rid of extremist advisers and to save country from plight which faced it. I explained in some detail why, in absence of oil settlement, substantial US aid impracticable. Said that while not (repeat not) familiar with details Ambassador Henderson’s consultations Washington, I had no (repeat no) reason be optimistic anything more than present scale aid envisaged. Amini said that in these circumstances perhaps time had come to overthrow Mosadeq. I replied this again internal matter but my understanding was that Shah insistent that any change be by constitutional methods and that recent parliamentary elections seemed to have strengthened Mosadeq’s hold on Parliament. Amini concurred. I also added that disturbances attendant upon non-parliamentary changes might be seized upon by Tudeh with results chaotic for Iran.

4. Amini said that if there was no (repeat no) solution to Iran problems other than eventual control by Tudeh, perhaps it was time to lay plans for “armies of the south”. I said this new subject to me. He generalized that he envisaged cooperation between army and tribes in south to secure area in Iran where constitutional monarchy could exist if worst happened.

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5. I changed subject by asking him what he could tell us re current Soviet attitude towards Iran. He told me Prime Minister had shown him all telegrams on subject and assured him no (repeat no) decisions would be made without full consultation with Shah. Although vague on specific nature discussions, Amini said he did not (repeat not) see that there was much to discuss with USSR. Nothing particularly wrong with 1921 treaty since it had helped keep British out. Border adjustments of little use since USSR could always move back when it felt like it. Gold held by USSR belonged to Iran in any case. Therefore he felt best policy for Iran was to string along Soviets without making any commitments.

6. Sadchikov insisting on having farewell audience with Shah. Since Sadchikov has worked against Shah for seven years, neither he nor Amini inclined to grant request although realizing that protocol requires request be granted. Shah has sent word he will come to Tehran to discuss problem with Amini.

7. Amini suggested it might be good for me to see Shah. I replied this would give me personal pleasure, but felt that unless presently unforeseen circumstances resulted in substantial delay, it might be better for Ambassador to have audience upon his return.

Mattison
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/7–753. Secret; Security Information. Received at 11:15 a.m.
  2. In telegram 4350 from Tehran, May 7, Mattison reported on Minister of Court Amini’s attempt to enlist U.S. financial and economic support should he persuade Mosadeq to (a) settle his differences with the Shah, (b) allow Amini and his friends to gain control of the security forces, and (c) distance himself from the Iran Party. Henderson commented that Amini’s statements “tend confirm Embassy’s suspicion the family associates engaged in what appears to be superior type Persian intrigue.” (Ibid., 788.00/5–753)