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

345. At 11:15 General McClure on Embassy advice had conference with Chief of Staff Riahi lasting forty minutes.

McClure stated he gravely concerned at reports he received and radio news broadcast re coup d’état. Stated had information from Embassy and other sources that Shah issued decree dismissing Mosadeq and appointing new Prime Minister.

He also had information from Mohanna, Deputy Minister of Defense, that there was no such decree.

McClure stated his mission was accredited to legal and constitutional government and that two conflicting reports of existence of Shah’s decree made his official position an uncertain one in relation to army.

Was army to support Shah and carry out his orders or support an ousted Prime Minister (granting that decree was authentic)?

Riahi replied that mission relationship remained unchanged; that few officers and civilians had attempted overthrow Mosadeq and had not succeeded; that he knew of plot six hours beforehand and had taken appropriate steps. He denied, without apparent conviction that a decree had been authentically signed. He stated that Iran and its people came before Shah or any particular government and that army was of people. Army would support people. He said Iran had adopted policy of long range benefit to its people; that Iran wanted and needed sympathetic help of free world particularly US but that she would not deviate from that policy even though it meant loss of aid and even friendship of US. He repeated his desire for continued help.

McClure replied he did not know what our government’s policy would be in support an illegal government if it were determined that Shah had signed a decree setting up a new government.

Riahi stated cordial personal and official relationship between them had been based on frank and honest expression of views and that he hoped that relationship would continue. He added footnote that it unfortunate that US had been taken in by British propaganda and poor reporting; while blood ties of Britain and US caused close collaboration, [Page 669] US was the one country who could help peoples achieve their “four freedoms.”

Embassy believes McClure handling of conversation most helpful and in US interest under present difficult circumstances.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 79–01228A, Box 11, Folder 14, Iran 1951–1953. Secret; Security Information; NIACT. Repeated to London NIACT and to Beirut for Ambassador Henderson. Sent with an instruction to pass to the Defense Department. Received at 12:10 p.m.