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

309. 1. Emissary Qavam called on me at 3 o’clock this afternoon (Embtel 308, rptd London 99).2 He said that Shah had sent msg to Qavam thru one of Qavam’s lieutenants shortly before noon suggesting that Qavam pursue following course; (a) set up cabinet at once; (b) obtain finan aid from US; and (c) endeavor to administer country with firmness on constitutional basis. Shah promised that if it shld become clear that new Cabinet cld not (rpt not) function in present situation and if members new Cabinet wld join in recommending that [Page 284]Majlis be dissolved he wld give such recommendation sympathetic consideration.

2. According to my informant Qavam was disturbed at this msg. He told his advisers he cld not (rpt not) believe that Shah was serious. Shah must know that unless he cld give convincing evidence that he had power and ability maintain order and to govern country he cld obtain no (rpt no) finan assistance from US or elsewhere. Furthermore it was mockery to talk about any Cabinet attempting to function in present conditions. Qavam, therefore insisted that he immediately submit his formal resignation. His advisers, however, begged him for good of Iran not (rpt not) be precipitous. They suggested that he ask for immediate audience with Shah in order explain situation. Qavam finally yielded and asked for audience. It was not (rpt not) until 2 o’clock that reply was received from Shah that he wld receive Qavam at 5. In meantime Qavam had learned that Shah was having protracted conferences with reps of opposition. When it became clear to Qavam that his visit to Shah was being postponed while HIM was having discussions with those who shared responsibility for stirring up revolt against govt he again insisted on submitting resignation. His advisers however, begged him to wait until they cld make appeal to me.

2. Emissary of Qavam asked me if I wld not (rpt not) be willing to try to see Shah before Shah received Qavam in order to impress on Shah seriousness of situation and to persuade him before too late to give Qavam necessary powers. I replied that I had gone just as far as I properly cld to impress upon Shah seriousness of ME situation and to stress necessity for decisive action. I deemed it useless and unwise intervene at this juncture. Emissary of Qavam said that if Qavam was told no (rpt no) help coming from me he wld not (rpt not) call on Shah but wld instead send his resignation. I suggested that emissary urge Qavam not (rpt not) to resign until latter had seen Shah once more.

3. I am beginning to believe that Shah has never been really anxious for Qavam to succeed; that he has preferred Qavam to fail if success meant that Qavam shld have any considerable powers; and that for some time he has been secretly negotiating with Natl Front leaders with idea of agreeing upon successor to Qavam who wld be acceptable to them. Unless some unexpected development occurs during next two hours strong possibility Qavam will resign. Shah might however, try to keep him on temporarily until he can complete arrangements for a successor. I am afraid that Shah’s hesitations and his surreptitious dealings with various opposing groups simultaneously are undermining his own prestige and may place country in great danger. My refusal to go to Shah at this moment is not (rpt not) based so much my desire not (rpt not) to intervene in Iranian internal affairs as upon my conviction that my visit wld serve no (rpt no) useful purpose; that I [Page 285] wld find Shah evasive and vague and not (rpt not) responsive to appeals either to logic or patriotism.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.13/7–2152. Secret; NIACT. Repeated to London. Received at 12:47 p.m.
  2. Document 92.