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62. Memorandum From the Assistant Director of the Office of National Estimates (Kent) to Director of Central Intelligence Smith1

SUBJECT

  • NIE–46: Probable Developments in Iran in 1952 in the Absence of an Oil Settlement2

1. The major conclusion reached in NIE–46 (Paragraph 9) was: “Barring the establishment of authoritarian rule, either by the National Front or by the conservatives, the Tudeh potential for gaining control over the country will substantially increase.”

2. The major estimative omission in NIE–46 is the failure to estimate the likelihood of authoritarian rule actually being established. Many hours of discussion failed to produce unanimity among the IAC agencies on the divergent views originally proposed by State and the Board of National Estimates.

3. The Board’s position was that economic and political disintegration under Mossadeq would occur quite rapidly, that the National Front would probably not act with sufficient determination to satisfy popular desires for social and economic reform, and that in the short [Page 175]run there was at least an even chance that the conservatives would return to power and rule by authoritarian methods.

4. State, on the other hand, virtually excluded the possibility of the conservatives returning to power and gave the National Front great potential for remaining in power, for staving off financial breakdown, and for ruling by authoritarian means.

5. State, during the discussions, moved considerably toward the Board’s view that financial difficulties would provide an early and severe test for the Mossadeq regime. State also conceded that the Mossadeq government would have to act with will and determination to control the situation. A compromise was finally reached which in effect offers two equally likely possibilities—authoritarian rule by the National Front or by the conservatives.

6. The Army has advised that it wished to raise several more points regarding the present draft. The Board did not call another IAC representatives meeting on the grounds that State and Navy were completely satisfied with the present draft. They agreed with the Board that little more could be accomplished at the working level.

Sherman Kent
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79R01012A, Box 14, Folder 1, NIE–46 Iran. Secret; Security Information.
  2. Document 63.