172. Editorial Note

Foreign Secretary Eden and Chancellor of the Exchequer Butler visited Washington March 4–7, 1953, for talks with U.S. officials on a wide array of strategic, political, and financial issues, including Iran. In a meeting with Eden on March 6, Secretary Dulles stated that “we felt while it was still obscure that the authority of the Shah had probably largely and permanently disappeared. We felt Mosadeq would probably come through the present situation remaining in authority. We felt further, however, that with the Shah gone or his authority gone that when Mosadeq disappears by one means or another, that there was increased doubt as to whether there would be an orderly transition to another government.” This discussion of Iran focused on the appropriate U.S. response should Mosadeq reject the joint U.S.–U.K. oil proposal of February 20. (See Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran, 1951–1954, pages 670–674 (Document 300).) Eden agreed that any U.S. aid designed to sustain the Iranian Government under such a scenario should not concern oil. Secretary Dulles added, near the end of the discussion, that “he thought we would have to play certain aspects of this problem by ear as the situation developed. . . . It might be possible that in the immediate future the USSR will lose interest in external aggression although, of course, the reverse also was possible. The major objective for both of us should be to keep going in Iran a government which will be non-Communist. Additionally, he felt that no great premium should be paid Mosadeq for acting as he has. There should, for instance, be no major United States purchases of oil, but, on the other hand, we should do what we can on a small scale to keep the Mosadeq government in existence.” See ibid., volume VI, Part 1, Western Europe and Canada, pages 907–917 (Document 381). For full documentation of the U.S.–U.K. discussions in Washington March 4–7, 1953, see ibid., pages 887–964 (Documents 375391).