Learn about the beta

372. Editorial Note

In a memorandum to Secretary of State Dulles, July 30, 1954, Acting Special Assistant for Intelligence Fisher Howe discussed the political prospects for Iran. He wrote that political power in Iran was exercised by the Shah and the landowning classes. If the Shah were assassinated or removed, the possibility existed that the army would intervene. Iran’s power structure was maintained by the continuance of martial law, the enforcement of strict press censorship, the work of the security forces, the provision of U.S. emergency aid, and the expectation of an oil settlement favorable to Iran. Howe wrote that “this balance is likely to be broken by the persistence of fundamental political and social trends which neither the Shah nor the landowning groups will be able to alter. The new urban groups, for example—especially intellectuals, professional men, merchants, and workers—will probably grow in importance as the force of traditional social relationships and beliefs diminishes in the continuing encounter with Western modernism.” For the full text of this memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran, 1951–1954, pages 1041–1042 (Document 485).