324. Memorandum From the Chief of Station in Iran ([name not declassified]) to the Ambassador to Iran (Henderson)1

1. Qashqai Khans and all Kalantars pledged their word to the writer 22–23 September that they:

A. Will fight only if attacked.

B. Have “complete confidence” in Gen. Zahedi whom they consider friend of 30 year standing, but do not trust the Shah (because of past betrayals) and must be prepared to protect themselves against him.

C. Intend to obey laws, pay taxes, etc.

D. Would, if provided with “face-saving” device, swear (and keep) allegiance to Gen. Zahedi and the Shah.

E. Will not join any Tudeh plan, nor tolerate Tudeh activity in their area.

2. Qashqais’ requested that above be passed on to Gen. Zahedi, and the following proposal be discussed with both Gen. Zahedi and the Shah:

A. In order to save Qashqai face and free them from word given Mosadeq to support him to “end” the Shah might pardon Mosadeq, on Qashqai petition, allowing him retire to village or leave country.

B. On promise such action, Qashqais would bow before the Shah and give guarantee they would:

(1) support him and government “100 percent.”

(2) have no further dealings with Mosadeq or followers.

(3) themselves (Qashqai Khans) leave Iran if the Shah felt their absence would benefit Iran.

3. Advised by the writer that he felt above proposal would not be accepted, Qashqais said they view it as simple face-saving device, but would welcome any other acceptable proposal under which they could bow before the Shah without violating word to Mosadeq, whom they hold in greatest respect. Once they considered their pledge to Mosadeq fulfilled, Qashqais’ said, they ready assure same degree loyalty to Zahedi–Shah.

4. In “parliamentary” discussion of 2 and 3 above Qashqai group (chieftains and gray beards of all 18 Qashqai units and one Boir Ahmad unit) stated:

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A. In past (except under Mosadeq) they relegated to role second-class citizen and subjected to “control” by army groups which despised and insulted them, molested their women and stole their goods.

B. Under Mosadeq, their welfare “considered” and there was no trouble in their area.

C. In past, their enemies saddled them with unwarranted reputation double dealing. They “gave their word” to Americans years ago and to Mosadeq 28 months ago and considered themselves bound in both cases.

D. They had not caused trouble since Mosadeq fall only out of respect their cooperation to Americans. They intend to continue to follow American advice but in present instance feel bolt to Zahedi bandwagon would cheapen them and tend to confirm enemy accusations (C above).

5. During the powwow at Qashqai headquarters Nasr Khan Qashqai expressed confidence in the Commanding General, Shiraz Garrison, and, in order to relieve local anxiety regarding Qashqai concentration, started Qashqai groups on southward migration—despite obvious shortage forage. Two of the largest units were observed by Col. Brooking, The Embassy’s Air Attaché, the following morning, moving southward 20 miles west of Shiraz.

6. Following the powwow, a close friend of the Qashqais told the writer: “The wound is fresh now; give them three months and this will heal itself”.

7. Returning to Tehran by air the morning of 24 September, the writer observed hordes of Qashqais and flocks jamming 30-mile mountain trails moving southward toward winter quarters.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 84, Tehran Embassy Files, 1953–1955, classified general records, Box 9. Secret; Security Information.