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340. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

1004. During talk which I had with Shah October 27, he told me he would be grateful if I would request members Embassy staff Tehran refrain from political discussions with officers Iranian armed forces. He anxious these officers not become accustomed discuss political matters. I told him I would make request but would not be frank if I did not point out Iranian Army officers frequently approached not only members Embassy staff but myself to discuss political matters. For instance, Batmangilich, Chief Staff, few days ago had urged me have talk with Baqai, for whom he expressed greatest admiration, and even offered make appointment for me with Baqai. I said Chief Staff and his two deputies on various occasions had tried persuade members American representation Iran that Baqai one of great men of country who [Page 812]should have American support. It was being stated in army circles that Shah himself had given orders for these officers to maintain contact with Baqai.

2. Shah seemed somewhat embarrassed. He said true several years ago he had used General Deihimi, one of Deputy Chiefs Staff, as contact man with Baqai but was not doing so now. Deihimi seemed to have become infected with urge engage in political intrigues. It might be necessary transfer him other duties. He had on preceding day given strict instructions officers Iranian Security Forces to cease engaging in political activities any kind. He hoped that Americans would cooperate so that they would not allow themselves be drawn into political discussions with Iranian officers; he did not distrust Americans on my staff, but feared if Iranian Army officers should form habit discussing political matters with them they might be tempted enter similar discussions with other foreign officials, including in certain circumstances even those of Iron Curtain countries. I again promised convey his request to American officials in Iran and expressed hope his officers would carry out his instructions.

3. Last evening at Turkish reception, Generals Batmangilich and Deihimi approached me. They referred to conversation which at suggestion Batmangilich I had had with Baqai on October 24 and asked if it had been helpful.2 I replied it had been interesting but I not sure it had served useful purpose. Batmangilich asked if he could not arrange another conversation. I replied it might be preferable for Baqai and me arrange our meetings direct. Deihimi said “we are afraid that unless we help in this matter you will not see Baqai again and that you will drift apart”. I made vague reply and changed conversation to generalities.

4. At same reception General Farzanegan, Acting Minister Posts and Telegraphs, told me that earlier in evening at request Batmangilich he had discussed Iranian political situation with latter and his two deputies Deihimi and Akhavi. Three had tried enlist his support in prevailing on Zahedi agree to appointment Deihimi as military governor Tehran in place of Dadsetan. They had charged Dadsetan inefficient and corrupt. They also had told him they knew there were rumors that they were cooperating with Baqai but these rumors totally untrue.

5. Purpose this telegram illustrate kind of political intrigues taking place in Iran and participation in them officers Iranian armed forces. Dozen incidents similar those cited herein could be advanced. Difficult ascertain role played by Shah. It seems quite clear it not entirely innocent one. His desire that American officials refrain from having political conversations with Iranian officers may arise more from concern [Page 813]lest we learn too much re his machinations than from wish keep his officers out of politics. If they actually ordered his officers not to engage in political activities my experiences of last evening indicate they not too deeply impressed.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/10–3053. Secret; Security Information. Repeated to London. Received at 9:34 a.m.
  2. An apparent reference to the conversation between Baqai and Henderson on October 23. See the attachment to Document 341.