306. Memorandum From the Chief of Station in Iran [text not declassified] to the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Roosevelt)1

[number not declassified]

[less than 1 line not declassified] Contribution to TPAJAX

1. In Station opinion we cannot be too complimentary concerning the contributions of our [less than 1 line not declassified] agents to the success of TPAJAX. [less than 1 line not declassified] did remarkably good job while maintaining security at all times. They are to be highly commended for laying the groundwork for action and providing the spark which set off the demonstrations on 19 August. Their contribution can best be described by a general review of TPAJAX.

2. As the project developed in late July and early August, we were still faced with the overriding problem of fear—fear on the part of most Iranians, including those in the opposition, to take any action against the Mossadeq government. In retrospect, our only hope to get popular and active backing in a movement to unseat Mossadeq was to point up an issue which would instill greater fear in the average Iranian than his fear of Mossadeq. For the first three weeks in August, [4½ lines not declassified] were able to lay the groundwork for future action. They were assisted in this campaign [less than 1 line not declassified] who also emphasized the collaboration of Mossadeq and the Tudeh. Secretary Dulles’ and President Eisenhower’s comments concerning the Tudeh were of great help and gradually the people of Tehran began to feel a greater fear than the one which previously pervaded their lives. They began to feel that Mossadeq’s retention of power could only lead to a Communist state. They believed this strongly and it was reflected in the conversations of most to whom we talked during this period. There was still a deep fear of Mossadeq, but the groundwork had been laid—given an opportunity to act against Mossadeq with some degree of success, Iranians would join together to overthrow him.

3. On Sunday, August 16, news of [cryptonym not declassified] press interview began to leak out. The fact that he possessed a Firman began to spread, but still there was no proof since few had actually seen facsimiles of the Firman. [2½ lines not declassified] On Tuesday, reports of the Firman were printed in several papers and Foreign Minister Fatemi [Page 726] denied its existence. Nevertheless, the word continued to spread and the number who saw a facsimile increased. [2 lines not declassified]

3. Meanwhile, Fatemi had aided our cause by having the Statues of both Shahs torn down throughout the city. His violent speeches attacking the Shah offended most Iranians and strengthened their resolve to act. Their fear of the Communist menace, plus their indignation over Fatemi’s actions combined in an emotional desire to do something. Only the spark was needed to set off the conflagration.

4. Wednesday was the day set by the Station for action. [1½ lines not declassified] We were hoping for a strong religious showing and felt that something might happen if we could only get it started. It must be said, however, that there were many persons out Wednesday morning who had no connection with us. Nevertheless, they were disorganized and milling about aimlessly until several people discovered a press shop in process of printing broadsheets containing a facsimile of the Firman appointing [cryptonym not declassified] Prime Minister. There were several shops doing this and there were several different items. [less than 1 line not declassified] a statement of [cryptonym not declassified] along with his Firman. [less than 1 line not declassified] a call to revolt and support the Shah along with a copy of the Firman. There was one other as yet unidentified. (probably [cryptonym not declassified]) By 9:30 a.m. people were running into at least two print shops, [1 line not declassified]. They distributed the broadsheets as fast as they came off the press and the pressman happily continued to print them for the rest of the day. [7 lines not declassified]

5. Armed with the knowledge that [cryptonym not declassified] was the legal Prime Minister, that the Shah had actually made his move, and conditioned for action by the past three weeks, the people of Tehran acted. Trucks, provided by the Army, [less than 1 line not declassified] were filled to overflow capacity and headed for Radio Tehran. Buses were stopped and commandeered by the mobs and all means of public transportation were forced to mob use. Private automobiles were ordered to allow Shah supporters to climb all over them and head for the radio station, which quickly fell to Royalist control.

6. After the mobs were out, the [less than 1 line not declassified] role diminished and the military role became paramount. Indeed, if plans had not been thoroughly laid for this aspect of TPAJAX the [less than 1 line not declassified] contribution would have been to no avail, all of which points up the multifacted nature of TPAJAX’s success.

7. [1 line not declassified]

[name not declassified]

[name not declassified]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 80–01701R, Box 3, Folder 8, TPAJAX Vol. II. Secret; Security Information. Sent by air pouch and for the attention of the Deputy Chief of Psychological Operations.