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80. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

4925. Candidates for successor to Mosadeq must adjust to one political fact of present Iranian situation: namely, ingrained reluctance of Shah to appoint “strong” Primin (Deptel 2879 June 16).2 While successor to Mosadeq shld have strong administration to reverse present deteriorating political trend, Shah has not yet made up mind re Primin he wld want or kind regime which will be required. Decision must be his since Majlis and Senate apparently will await his initiative indefinitely.

Emb views re categories of candidates differ in some points from those expressed by Pyman in May 16 conversation:3 1) Older states-men Qavam and Hakimi (both of whom in early eighties) from recent interviews with Amb, appear surprisingly alert, clear thinking, and cognizant of essential problems now facing Iran. Shah apparently becoming more friendly toward Qavam but pressure from Senate behalf [Page 259]Hakimi may render it easier for him name latter, whom Shah personally wld prefer to Qavam.

2) “Neutral” candidates, such as Entezam, Soheily and Mansur: Entezam having been away from Iran for lengthy time not cognizant of all political forces at work in country and reportedly not particularly decisive personality. These wld be heavy disadvantages in attempting to cope with situation. Soheily, while presumably having confidence of Queen Mother, who currently on very bad terms with her son, Shah, wld suffer heavily by virtue of previous post as Amb to UK. Soheily’s reputation for honesty also not entirely clean. Mansur has successfully placed himself in middle between “neutrals” and Natl Front. He has reputation as grafter and lacks necessary decisiveness. His weakness of character may, however, make him more acceptable to Shah and he may be possible compromise choice.

3) Shah has toyed with possibility Natl Front candidate in order avoid arousing too great antagonism on part Mosadeq and make transition less abrupt from present regime. Typically mentioned are Busheri, Maki and Saleh. Busheri attempts be all things to all men, but now on cool terms with Mosadeq, and Emb believes lacking in judgment and convictions. He not now being seriously considered. Maki wld be highly undesirable Primin in view lack background, extreme ambition, and lack of restraint. He still one of Natl Front leadership triumvirate with Mosadeq and Kashani. Saleh Emb considers unfriendly US and West and unstable personality.

4) Of mil men suggested for Primin, Zahedi has been most prominently mentioned. At present Shah does not appear likely to consider seriously mil man for Primin’s post. Zahedi not so popular as Pyman represented but might be chosen if emergency shld develop.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 84, Tehran Embassy Files, 1950–1952, classified general records, Box 32. Secret; Security Information. Drafted by Melbourne and approved by Henderson in draft. The telegram is the Embassy copy as approved and does not have a time of transmission.
  2. In telegram 2879 to Tehran, June 16, the Department asked the Embassy for its views on the candidates discussed in Washington with Launcelot Pyman, former Oriental Counselor of the British Embassy in Tehran, on May 16. (Ibid., Box 29) For a record of the discussion with Pyman, see Document 73.
  3. See ibid.