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50. Editorial Note

According to the official minutes of the National Security Council meeting held on October 10, 1951, with regard to Iran, the Council “discussed the current situation in Iran in the light of an oral report by the Secretary of State.” (National Archives, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Official Minutes 1947–1961, Box 16, 104th Meeting) In the meeting, the National Security Council also considered an October 10 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed by Air Force Chief of Staff General Hoyt Vandenberg to Secretary of Defense Lovett. In the memorandum, Vandenberg pointed to the serious consequences that would obtain should the Soviet Union gain control of Iran. He [Page 145]wrote that the “Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the United States should take most energetic measures, as a matter of urgency, to support or arrive at the achievement of a solution of the Iranian problem which will:

“a. Provide for the continued orientation of Iran toward the Western World (this should receive overriding priority);

“b. Make possible an effective command organization for the defense of Iran in coordination with the other areas of the Middle East; and

“c. Assure the continued supply of Iranian oil to the Western World, at least during peace.”

At the end of the memorandum, Vandenberg added that “from the United States military point of view, Iran’s orientation towards the United States in peacetime and maintenance of the British position in the Middle East now transcend in importance the desirability of supporting British oil interests in Iran.” The JCS memorandum was circulated as NSC 117 and is printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran, 1951–1954, pages 220–222 (Document 111).