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

116. Estimate Embassy and CAS present political trends follows.

Immediate reason Mosadeq’s precipitate move eliminate present Majlis as opposition center was mounting effectiveness anti-government activity such as Zohari interpellation and election Maki as controller BMI. Opposition was also successfully gaining control key Majlis committees. Serving accelerate these events and impel Mosadeq consolidate his position urgently was Eisenhower letter clarifying US policy toward Mosadeq Government.2 Letter served belie carefully nursed “myth” US supporting Mosadeq at same time USSR “friendship” overtures appear to be for moment at least nothing more than willingness adjust frontier problems. With bankruptcy foreign policy thus exposed Prime Minister faced Majlis interpellation this subject and exposure government’s unauthorized increase note issue by Maki. Unable or disinclined resort to Shah’s power dissolve Majlis Mosadeq struck upon expedient of mass resignation NMF [NF] deputies and announcement referendum. Latter not provided for in constitution.

Despite Prime Minister’s decreased popularity he still controls principal propaganda media including Radio Tehran as well as government apparatus and funds with which maneuver balloting or demonstrations his favor. Timing also important factor. By invoking memory July 21 uprising Prime Minister can play upon emotions his followers and upon fear his enemies. While opposition continues display courageous facade it appears incapable combatting Mosadeq in showdown struggle. It furthermore lacks leadership while Shah continues docile in hands Prime Minister.

Thus despite almost hopeless financial and economic situation and lack tangible prospects resolving country’s problems in foreseeable future Mosadeq again demonstrating willingness disregard legalities and determination remain in power regardless of consequences. If he succeeds confirming dissolution Majlis through referendum as now seems probable establishment dictatorship will be complete with little remaining of outward democratic forms. Prime Minister will then be in [Page 631]position destroy remaining opposition leaving him in unchallenged and absolute control.

Mattison
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/7–1753. Secret; Security Information. Repeated to London and to Geneva for Henderson. Received at 2:40 p.m. The telegram is printed with redactions in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. X, Iran, 1951–1954, pp. 736–737 (Document 334).
  2. See Document 230.