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

276. 1. Natl Front Deputies have been pursuing unparliamentary tactics in order prevent functioning of Majlis. Some of them including Kashani who has made appeal to Armed Forces not (rpt not) obey Qavam’s orders and Ghanatabodi who has publicly threatened personally to kill Qavam if given opportunity, are also endeavoring promote disorder and even full-scale revolution. In Tehran members of Iran Party, one of most important components of Natl Front, has joined forces with Tudeh and new coalition is extremely active, particularly among youth. They are denouncing not only Qavam but Shah himself.

2. In view these rapid developments, Qavam insists he must have free hand to act quickly and decisively. He sent msg to me this morning that yesterday afternoon during audience with Shah, he had asked latter for authority in his discretion to dismiss Majlis at moment’s notice in case it shld become clear that Majlis unable function because of obstructive tactics of opposition Deputies some whom were hiding be[Page 280]hind parliamentary immunities while endeavoring disrupt public order. He told Shah that in any event he might find it necessary arrest Kashani in view latter’s open incitement to rebellion. Shah had hesitated and had said he must examine constitutional aspects problem. Qavam had thereupon informed Shah that unless he cld be given free hand in this emergency by Shah, he wld be compelled to submit his resignation. He asked Shah to think matter over and give him decision earliest possible moment. Late yesterday evening Qavam was informed by some of his advisers that Shah was still hesitating and that during course day, Ala, Min Court, had had three hour conversation with Kashani. Qavam infuriated at news that Court was carrying on conversation with Kashani after latter had engaged in treasonable acts, immed sent his resignation to Shah orally through Ala, Court official who happened to be visiting Qavam at time.

3. According to emissary who brought me above info, Qavam had recd no (rpt not) reaction from Shah re his resignation and was sitting idly at his residence maintaining he no (rpt no) longer PriMin.

4. Upon receipt this info, I called immed on Ala to obtain his version. Ala astonished at news that Qavam had resigned and maintained there must be some misunderstanding. He had just talked over telephone with Shah who told him that yesterday afternoon Qavam had asked Shah for authority to arrest Kashani and that he (Shah) was hesitating whether or not (rpt not) to give authority for act which might be unconstitutional. Ala told me he had informed Shah that subversive movements were being encouraged by failure of govt to act decisively and that Shah shld not (rpt not) allow quibbles re constitution prevent Qavam from taking steps necessary to forestall general conflagration. In my presence Ala called in his Deputy Human to inquire whether latter had heard that Qavam had submitted resignation. Human also expressed astonishment at news which I had brought and said there must be some misunderstanding. Unsuccessful steps were made get in touch with Ala. Ala went at once to discuss matter with Shah and to endeavor persuade latter to agree to dissolution of Parliament or to some other measure which might give Qavam adequate powers to preserve law and order.

5. Ala also told me that he had not (rpt not) seen Kashani since early morning July 18. Ala seemed to believe that some intriguers had been trying to cause difficulties between Shah and Qavam. Ala said that he wld like to call on Qavam and come to understanding with him if he cld do so without being compelled to pass through rows of “courtiers” usually to be found in Qavam’s residence. He wld appreciate it if I wld send message to Qavam and let Qavam know what he had told me. I sent this message immediately on return to Emb and un[Page 281]derstand mtg is being arranged this afternoon between Qavam and Ala.

6. We are somewhat disturbed at situation which is developing as result of inability of Qavam and Shah to cooperate fully at this critical moment. While Tudeh is strengthening its position by acquiring allies in the disgruntled Natl Front, Qavam is apparently sitting idly at his house and Shah is hesitating to take needed decisions.

7. I hope later this evening to be able to discuss new developments with Middleton who is out of town today.

8. We are hopeful that with aid Ala, Shah and Qavam will come to effective working agreement. In meantime shld not (rpt not) slacken our efforts to perfect arrangements for extending financial aid to Iran on urgent basis.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.21/7–2052. Secret; Security Information; NIACT. Repeated to London. Received at 10:50 a.m.