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309. Memorandum From the Acting Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans ([name not declassified]) to Director of Central Intelligence Dulles1

SUBJECT

  • Memorandum of Conversation Between Mr. Henry Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for NEA, and John Waller, CNEA–4, Concerning Allayar Saleh, Iranian Ambassador to the United States

The conversation reported herein took place at the request of the Deputy Director, Plans:

1. Mr. Waller called Mr. Byroade’s attention to the fact that Ambassador Saleh had tendered his resignation and presumably planned to return to Iran in the near future. Information had reached us to the effect that the Iranian government had urged Saleh to remain at his post and withdraw his resignation. However, it appeared that Ambassador Saleh definitely intended to relinquish his post. Mr. Waller stated that CIA was concerned by the prospect of Saleh’s return to Iran at this time in view of his Iran Party ties and his very considerable personal prestige which might be exploited by pro-Mossadeq or even pro-Tudeh political factions which are in current opposition to the Shah and the Zahedi government. In this connection Mr. Waller recalled the recent role of the Iran Party in support of Premier Mossadeq and in violent opposition to the return of the Shah, which role had brought the Iran Party dangerously close to outright alliance with the Tudeh Party.

2. Mr. Waller observed that this was essentially a Department of State problem but that CIA felt that it was appropriate for its views to be brought to the attention of the Department of State. Furthermore, it would be perhaps possible for CIA to take covert action designed to neutralize any adverse effect which Mr. Saleh’s return might occasion.

3. Mr. Byroade acknowledged the fact that the possible problems presented by Ambassador Saleh’s return to Iran were of concern to the Department of State. He stated that he also had received information to the effect that the Zahedi government had urged Saleh to remain at his [Page 743]post in Washington and that Ambassador Saleh had refused to do so. Mr. Byroade added that in his opinion Saleh now regretted having announced in such strong terms his allegiance to Mossadeq and opposition to General Zahedi. In Mr. Byroade’s opinion, Ambassador Saleh’s press release on the subject was hastily made and made on the basis of inadequate information from Iran which had caused Mr. Saleh to under-estimate the degree of popular support for the Shah. Mr. Byroade stated that the Department probably should have gotten to Ambassador Saleh before he made his unfortunate remarks to the press, but that since these remarks were made it would appear that Ambassador Saleh had burned his bridges behind him. Mr. Byroade believed that there was absolutely no chance that Saleh would at this point consider remaining as Ambassador to the U.S.

4. With regard to possible black campaigns intended to discredit Saleh or otherwise neutralize him in Iran, Mr. Byroade felt that we should proceed with caution since Saleh, given favorable circumstances, might later prove helpful to the U.S. Mr. Byroade stated that the Department had an informal channel of contact with Saleh through Mr. Engert, former Ambassador to Iran and Ambassador to Afghanistan. Through this contact it might be possible to encourage Saleh to delay his return to Iran. However, Engert had reported recently that Saleh intended to return straightway to Iran despite real fear and apprehension as to his reception there.

5. Mr. Byroade stated that he was not sure we need worry about future opposition activities by Saleh in Iran. Nevertheless, he shared to some extent CIA’s concern in this regard. Mr. Byroade said he would like to think about the problem further and he would let CIA know of any action which the Department felt it should or could take either to delay Saleh’s return to Iran, or to neutralize him once in Iran.

[name not declassified]
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 7901228A, Box 11, Folder 14, Iran 1951–1953. Secret.