60. Editorial Note

Prime Minister Mosadeq’s reluctance to accede to the conditions for a continuation of military aid and the military missions to Iran under Section 511, paragraphs (a) and (b) of the Mutual Security Act of 1951 posed a problem for the Truman administration. Section 511, paragraphs (a) and (b), prohibited providing military, economic, or technical assistance to any nation unless the President determined that such assistance would strengthen U.S. security and unless the recipient country agreed to certain obligations. (P.L. 82–165; 65 Stat. 381) A memorandum from Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs Berry to Secretary Acheson, dated January 8, 1952, explained that “Prime Minister Mosadeq thus far has categorically refused to give the assurances required under Section 511(a) of the Mutual Security Act in order to permit continuation after January 8 of military aid and economic and technical assistance in support of the military effort. Dr. Mosadeq’s refusal to give these assurances in any form appears to have been based upon his reluctance to take a position which might be interpreted as aligning Iran irrevocably with the United States in opposition to the Soviet Union, thus militating against Iran’s current efforts to maintain a neutral position in the East-West struggle.” As the Department was flexible in devising a formula whereby Mosadeq could legitimately fulfill the conditions set forth in the Mutual Security Act, “we proceeded with a plan to obtain from Dr. Mosadeq in suitable form assurances under Section 511(b) of the legislation which would permit continuation of ‘simple’ economic aid. After difficult negotiations even on this point, Ambassador Hen[Page 170]derson was successful in obtaining from Dr. Mosadeq a letter which, although not wholly satisfactory, at least contained assurances that Iran adhere to the principles of the United Nations, those principles including the principles set forth in Section 511(b). An exchange of notes on this basis was accomplished on January 5.” For the text, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran, 1951–1954, pages 305–311 (Document 141).

In telegram 2771 to Tehran, April 1, Acheson directed Henderson to “tell Shah you have reported his views to Washington and have been advised there is still no way military aid can be extended to Iran in absence assurances required by law. At your discretion you may also wish to tell him that US will be forced in near future to divert elsewhere funds appropriated for Iran unless there is reasonable assurance Iran will become eligible for resumption military aid.” (National Archives, RG 84, London Embassy Files, Lot 59 F 59, classified general records, Box 28)