Learn about the beta

238. Memorandum From the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Roosevelt) to Mitchell1

1. Following received 13 July:

Source: Individual with good political contacts but heavily biased against Mossadeq. B–2.

“A. National Movement Fraction held stormy two hour session 12 July with following results:

(1) Mossadeq wants Fraction to boycott future meetings Parliament and Mossadeq proposes call referendum to determine whether ‘people’ desire him continue in office.

(2) Razavi opposed this procedure declaring he supported Mossadeq ‘up to now’ but he not willing close Majlis.

(3) Argument over issue grew so intense that meeting was adjourned to 10 a.m. 13 July.

B. Following session reported A above Makki met privately with Moazami and Razavi, the three agreed that Pres. Eisenhower’s letter2 had seriously weakened Mossadeq’s position. Moazami and Razavi [Page 621]said ‘if situation so bad’ they willing ‘get rid’ of Mossadeq but they would insist Mossadeq be replaced by some member Natl. Front. Makki urged that decision be delayed until after 30 Tir (21 July) anniversary Qavams effort overthrow Mossadeq.

C. At private interview with Mossadeq 12 July, latter told Massoudi, the publisher of Ettelaat:

(1) ‘very angrily’ that Eisenhower letter ‘did not hurt Iran, but it did hurt American prestige in Iran, very much.’

(2) The govt. ‘is prepared’ for mass demonstrations expected 30 Tir (July 21).

(3) That Mossadeq has no intentions of going to Majlis 14 July for scheduled interpellation because ‘they (the opposition) want to kill me.’ Instead Mossadeq plans close Majlis and call for public referendum.

Source commented: Eisenhower letter has had tremendous impact and Parliament press people and foreign policy now turning against Mossadeq. His position is most critical of career. Only weapon left to him is power of arrest. I expect mass arrests of opposition to begin from 14 July. Any attempt by Mossadeq to close Majlis ‘sure’ to alien-ate deputies; ‘They don’t want to lose their jobs and positions of influence.’

2. Following received from station 13 July:

“Current developments possibly affecting plan:

1. Mossadeq threatening dissolve Majlis and hold referendum.

2. National Movement Fraction reported believe govt. must answer interpellation but to avoid joining opposition on this issue are rumored preparing resign or absent selves from Majlis.

3. Mossadeq possibly to ‘permit’ demonstrations which would be anti-American in character.

4. Within 48 hours Mossadeq will go on radio and take case to people.

5. Press calling for expulsion Point Four Director Warne and Embassy Press Attaché Bruce, closing U.S. Embassy and other U.S. installations and charging U.S. has joined British against Iran.

6. Tudeh sponsored Youth Festival of several thousand which convened July 9 still in session.

7. Tudeh has set up ‘Board of July 21 Anniversary’ resolved to organize a common demonstration.”

3. On night of 11 July [less than 1 line not declassified] stated following to station:

“A. Opposition greatly encouraged by Eisenhower letter.

[Page 622]

B. Independent Deputy Fakhr attempting establish contact Za-hedi’s son who expected meet Fakhr night of 13 or 14 July.

C. Zahedi has had attack rheumatism and gout with which he plagued for number years but now in good health and spirits.

D. Mossadeq 11 July sent ‘urgent secret instructions’ to Minister Finance to pay Ministry Interior rials two hundred thousand (Dollars two thousand) ‘for printing the papers.’ Opposition believes this refers to forms for referendum which Mossadeq believed planning to hold in effort gain expression popular backing.”

4. Following report received, dated 12 July, from source believed reliable:

“1. Station representative asked whether any basis to rumor Shah intends go abroad. Source stated Shah very much encouraged by Eisenhower letter, believes his absence from Iran at this time not advisable and is even supported in this view by Queen who now recognizes her own recent trip Spain grave mistake. If Mossadeq renews pressure Shah would merely return Caspian until storm over.

2. Should Mossadeq request Shah take initiative dissolve Majlis Shah would refuse. It is however doubted very much whether Mossadeq would present such request to Shah as this would be recognizing Shah has authority ‘rule’ rather than ‘reign’.”

5. Following report dated 14 July [less than 1 line not declassified]:

“1. Pro-govt. officials in Tehran post office department destroying all copies opposition newspapers mailed to provinces.

2. Opposition in Majlis now consists 20 deputies firmly committed to and 11 deputies cooperating with Zahedi.

3. Independent Deputy Fakhr and National Movement Deputy Khosrow Qashqai now ‘wavering’ toward opposition.”

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 80–01701R, Box 3, Folder 12, Misc. Correspondence—TPAJAX. Secret. The recipient is referred to as “Mr. Mitchell” in the original and is not further identified.
  2. Document 230.