351. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Dulles to Secretary of State Dulles1

Before Mr. Herbert Hoover, Jr., left for London we conferred with regard to the question of “assurances” given by the British prior to the undertaking of the recent operation in Iran which resulted in the change of government. He suggested that this information might be useful to you as background for Bermuda.2

Accordingly Mr. Roosevelt has prepared, and I enclose, a brief memorandum giving the information on this subject including Roosevelt’s talks with high British officials.

You will probably have in the State Department further information on this subject since I understand that there were conversations with the British Ambassador and possibly cables with London.

Allen W. Dulles


Memorandum From the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans (Roosevelt) to Director of Central Intelligence Dulles


  • Information Bearing on Current Discussions with the British Concerning Iranian Oil Settlement

1. On 26 November, Herbert Hoover, Jr., telephoned me to discuss the various aspects of the talks he is holding with the British on a proposed oil settlement with Iran.3 As a result of our conversation he asked that I pass on to you his strong recommendation that a report on my own meetings with Prime Minister Churchill and Acting Foreign [Page 855] Minister Lord Salisbury be again transmitted to the Secretary of State, the President, and other appropriate officials attending the Bermuda meeting.

2. It will be remembered that, prior to the U.S. decision to undertake our recent operation, this Government required from the highest level of the British Government an assurance that the British conscientiously desired and intended to reach an equitable oil settlement with the new Persian Government, and that H.M.G. understood well that such a settlement would have to be very carefully drawn up with an eye to giving as much support as possible to the prestige of any Persian Government agreeing to it.4

3. Such an assurance was received and on the basis of it, I was authorized to make various statements conveying this British intention to the Shah and to General Zahedi. My assurances on this score were eagerly received.

4. In passing through London on my way back to Washington, I had conversations with a number of top British officials including the Acting Foreign Minister (as well as other members of the Foreign Office) and with Sir Winston Churchill. In each one of these conversations I repeated the assurances which I had given on behalf of the British Government to the Shah and to Zahedi. In each case I was told that my statements were justified and properly presented, that the British fully understood the necessity of reaching an oil settlement as rapidly as possible, and that they were fully prepared to do so. Lord Salisbury was most explicit in his words to the above effect, and the Prime Minister was the most outspoken of all. He received me in bed at 10 Downing Street. In the course of a most cordial conversation he emphasized his strong feelings that everything possible to help this new Government should be done. There was some discussion as to whether it would be more convenient if diplomatic relations should be restored between Iran and Great Britain prior to discussion of an oil settlement, but Sir Winston indicated that he did not think this was an important issue. He said further that he would be perfectly prepared to give a certain amount of economic aid to the new Iranian Government even before the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. He commented that the AIOC had really fouled things up in the past few years and that he was determined that they should not be allowed to foul things up any further.

5. A very brief written report on the above-mentioned conversations was transmitted by the State Department to the President while he was in Colorado. Oral reports have, as you know, been given to the [Page 856] appropriate officials, but it was Mr. Hoover’s feeling that it would be useful at this time to remind the Secretary and the President of these British expressions and commitments.

Kermit Roosevelt
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 888.2222/12–153. Top Secret; Security Information.
  2. A reference to the Bermuda conference of December 4–8, held among the United States, United Kingdom, and France. For documentation on the Bermuda conference, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. V, Western European Security, Part 2, pp. 1710–1848 (Documents 318364).
  3. See Document 331.
  4. Reference is to the paper British Ambassador Sir Roger Makins gave to Under Secretary Smith, dated July 23; see Document 250.