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41. Project Outline Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

1. References

a. NSC 10/22

b. NSC 1073

c. The Crisis in Iran dated 13 March 1951, TS Control4

d. Attachment entitled Declaration of Iranian Nationalists 5

2. Problem

Iran, internally dissatisfied, facing a severe economic crisis, plagued by pressure from foreign nations, and left without adequate means of developing into a democratic state in the Western sense, shows little possibility of becoming master of her fate and architect of her future. The steady deterioration of the Iranian oil situation has been of great value to the Soviet Union, and the USSR is prepared, through the medium of the Tudeh Party of Iran, to capitalize on the chaotic situation toward which Iran is now heading. On the other hand, the United States has no Iranian party or group with which to combat the Tudeh/Communist menace in Iran and the West in general has been unable to keep up with Soviet policy which, for various reasons, has been dynamic, timely and flexible. In view of the importance which Iran is bound to retain in the international picture, due to both strategic and economic significance, it is essential that the United States do everything possible to keep the Iranian Government from being subverted or overthrown by the Communists in Iran.

a. Objective

The objective of this project is to establish an effective force in Iranian politics with which to oppose the Tudeh/Communists. OPC will back individuals and groups in an endeavor to produce an organized and directed attack upon the Communists in Iran. It will attempt to contact, through the indigenous elements it backs, various religious [Page 122]leaders, political leaders, union leaders, and any other important faction in Iranian politics.

Lesser, but more specific, objectives of this project include the organization of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations to offset those put on by Tudeh; organizing counter, authentic trade unions in Iran; manipulation of religious prejudice and fanaticism to oppose Communism; and capitalizing on personal enmity and competition among enemy leadership.

3. Proposal

In pursuit of the objectives above, it is proposed that OPC subsidize the existing political warfare activities of [3 lines not declassified] and it is believed that this organization represents a force of great potential in Iranian politics. [4 lines not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (17 lines) not declassified]

Advantages accruing to OPC are believed to be extensive. They include guidance and control of an effective force in Iranian politics; organized and directed programs against the Soviets in general and the Tudeh in particular; establishment of a rallying point for all latent anti-Communist forces in Iran; an effective channel for the propagation of U.S. views and policies to counteract the powerful influence of the Tudeh; and awakening the influential religious elements in Iran to the danger of Communism toward their religion and God. In addition to the advantages listed, it will be recognized that such a program, if successful, could act as a catalytic agent in a popular reaction against Communism.

[1 paragraph (5 lines) not declassified]

4. Risks

[2 paragraphs (16 lines) not declassified]

5. Current Status

[4 paragraphs (20 lines) not declassified]

6. Budget Data

It is proposed that this project be set up for a period of one year with extension being granted on the basis of results obtained by that time. Estimated expenses for the first year are:

[6 paragraphs (18 lines) not declassified]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 78–01521R, Box 5, Folder 25, [text not declassified]. Top Secret. According to an attached clearance sheet, the plan was developed [less than 1 line not declassified] on July 24, and approved [less than 1 line not declassified] on August 10. According to another copy of the outline, this project was approved by the Project Review Committee on September 6, although with its funding reduced to [dollar amount not declassified]. (Ibid., Job 58–00070R, Box 12, Folder 494, OPC Operational Project Outline, Reel 96)
  2. See footnote 2, Document 40.
  3. Document 6.
  4. See footnote 1, Document 5.
  5. Attached but not printed.