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272. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency [text not declassified]1

DIR 16090. 1. Reference your priority message of 17 August.2 In view extra sensitivity this matter we have been requested by State to convey [1½ lines not declassified].

[Page 675]

2. State considers your handling of situation exemplary under circumstances and requests that if in your judgment the situation permits you should contact Shah again at earliest opportunity and suggest to him that he issue clear and definitive statement explaining his actions and ______ the ______ along lines of his statement to you yesterday, viz: “In recent weeks Shah had felt increasingly that he would have to take action against Mossadeq as the latter became bolder in flouting the constitution. Therefore he decided to take action within the framework of his constitutional power ______ taken not in any sense a coup d’état. He decided to appoint Zahedi in place of Mossadeq. Three days ago he sent letter of appointment to Zahedi to capital city with a trusted emissary. The letter was delivered to Zahedi which empowered him to take office. When the messenger arrived at Mossadeq’s house to deliver Shah’s communication he was arrested while trying to carry out Shah’s order. Shah took this action dismissing Mossadeq and appointing Zahedi in his place because Mossadeq had continually violated the constitution and because Shah himself had sworn upon ascending the throne to respect and uphold the constitution. Shah had no choice but to remove the head of a government acting unconstitutionally. When it became apparent that Shah’s orders were not being followed he left the country but he stands ready to return when he can to serve the people and in the meantime prays for the independence and safety of the country and that all the patriots will never allow their country to fall under the control of the illegal identity E. Finally Shah might usefully give public expression to his view that Mossadeq thinks that he can form a partnership with Tudeh Party and then outwit it, but in so doing Mossadeq will become the Doctor Benes of the country.

3. For your information State has seen Arab news agency report of Shah’s statements which considered helpful but deficient in many respects and inferior to summary statements summarized by you. His statement intention move to Europe in near future is unfortunate as revealing lack seriousness of purpose.

4. For your further guidance State unwilling in absence of more hopeful indications as to possible results to authorize you to press Shah issue an appeal to the army to rise. Shah has not said anything on his own initiative this regard and State does not wish assume responsibility for urging upon Shah course of action which might well prove useless and even reckless.

5. For guidance [less than 1 line not declassified] you are not to take any action with respect to Shah without specific authorization HQS. Please lend all possible support and assistance to Berry particularly with respect to prompt servicing his communications.

6. [less than 1 line not declassified] pass paras 1 thru 4 above to MI–6.

[Page 676]

7. Explanation genesis of above follows immediately.3

End of message.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency. Secret. Transcribed specifically for the Foreign Relations series from microfilm in the Central Intelligence Agency that no longer exists. See “Sources” chapter. Omissions are in the transcribed text.
  2. The reference is presumably to [text not declassified].
  3. In telegram TEHE 712, August 17, the Station in Tehran urged that the following request be sent to Ambassador Berry in Baghdad: “I urge you to send strongly worded message encouragement to the Shah of Iran who is now in Baghdad. According my information he has latent support majority of Iranian population including its most eminent clerics, including, of course, Borujerdi. However his presence needed Iran to successfully rally populace against tyranny of Mossadeq. In exercising his constitutional prerogatives of dismissing one Prime Minister and appointing another he has placed himself in position having fight to finish. Please have my personal assurances that he issued firman for dismissal of Mossadeq and appointment Zahedi. It is my belief that a word from one so renowned as yourself will encourage Shah return to his country and carry on struggle which rapidly becoming symbol constitution vs. unconstitutional methods.” (Central Intelligence Agency. Transcribed specifically for the Foreign Relations series from microfilm in the Central Intelligence Agency that no longer exists. See “Sources” chapter.)