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[Page 238]

74. Memorandum for the Record1

SUBJECT

  • Interview with the Ghashghais—May 20, 1952

At the request of State Senator David van Alstyne of New Jersey, I met with Messrs. Nasser Ghashghai and Abdullah Ghashghai. It was understood that we were not to discuss the oil situation but the interview was for the purpose of advising me of what the Ghashghais considered to be dangerous trends in the army in Iran.

The interview was devoted to that activity with the fear expressed by Nasser Ghashghai that much of our military equipment might be building up military strengths only to fall into the hands of the enemy, the Russians, if there were any overt action at all. It is their belief that many of the young army officers are inclined to the Communists, will not fight to defend their country, and that these young officers are subverting many of the troops who are therefore not worthy of having American arms given to them. They spoke glowingly of course of the fighting spirit of the Ghashghai tribe and of the fact that the Ghashghai tribe was attracting to it the support of other tribes, all of whom would fight firstly to defend their country against any invader. Their particular warning was that our chief of the military mission should be advised to be careful as to the kind of equipment and to who obtained the equipment since they were fearful that it would arm the wrong people. One other question which they raised concerned the method of our military mission’s operation in Iran. They said that in effect the mission stayed in Tehran, sat mostly behind desks, talked only to those who spoke English, and therefore really were not able to appraise the sentiment and feeling of the people of Iran. If they were able to circulate more and talk to more of the people throughout the country they would be aware of the dangers in the present method.

I stated only that in all of our aid programs of course we dealt with the government in authority but that I appreciated their interest in coming and that our meeting would be informal and off-the-record. No reference was made to the oil situation other than that the people of Iran were losing their income due to the current situation which they [Page 239]hoped would soon end and Nasser stated that in his opinion it would be a wise thing if America could make a loan to his country.

William C. Foster2
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 330, OSD/ISA Files, Office of Military Assistance, Project Decimal File, Box 63, 091.3 MDAP Iran. Confidential; Security Information. Prepared by William C. Foster, former Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration. Major General George Olmsted, Director, Office of Military Assistance, enclosed this memorandum with a June 9 letter.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.