279. Telegram From the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State1
571. Shah arrived Rome early this afternoon (reference Baghdad’s 97 and Tehran’s 374 to Department).2 Associated Press has given Embassy following on what it believes exclusive interview with Shah:
Asked about Iranian Foreign Minister’s demand that he abdicate, he said “I am not (repeat not) going to abdicate now”; asked if he had fled, he said “It is not (repeat not) true—I have not (repeat not) fled from my country”; asked if he would return, he said “Probably, but not (repeat not) in immediate future”; Shah added he and Queen had not [Page 685] (repeat not) yet made up their minds, but would not (repeat not) remain in Rome, indicating that they might stay on elsewhere in Italy as this is “nothing else but a vacation”. Asked if he had any comment on Mossadeq’s policy, he said “I cannot answer that now, but I will have a statement regarding that in a few days. You can say, however, that I am watching very carefully every development in my country”.
Foreign Office informed Embassy it was embarrassed by Shah’s presence. First information it had came this morning from Shah’s cable requesting hotel reservations here in Rome; subsequently, information received from Italian Mission Baghdad to effect visa had been issued. Foreign Office pointed out that Shah was still Sovereign as he had neither been deposed nor abdicated. Junior officer protocol section of Foreign Office met Shah and took him to hotel.
Would appreciate instructions on manner in which Department desires Embassy deal with Shah.