2. Editorial Note

In telegram 2001 from Tehran, March 7, 1951, Ambassador Grady reported on the “confused” situation in Tehran following the assassination that day of Prime Minister Razmara. Discounting the possibility that the Soviets had been involved in the assassination, Grady wrote that many others may have had an interest in Razmara’s death, including the Shah, who feared Razmara’s power; the British, who felt Razmara had not done enough to settle the oil dispute; and the National Front. He added that the Shah had suggested the imposition of martial law to the Majlis, but was dissuaded from doing so. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/3–751)

In telegram 2008 from Tehran, March 8, Ambassador Grady predicted that, in the wake of Razmara’s assassination, the likelihood of the Majlis demanding nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) was high. Grady therefore suggested that “considering US may lose through any open intervention, that we stand to lose less by insistence that Britains now make every possible effort reach agreement along Aramco lines while we limit our action to public and private statements that we believe such an agreement would completely safeguard Iran interests and should be accepted by them.” He added that “this approach could be discussed at Washington–London level and if Britains knew that we would support them to degree mentioned it is possible that they might be encouraged to concentrate all of their power here upon problem. Because question is now almost entirely political and emotional, British solution would have to be along those lines.” (Ibid., 888.2553–AIOC/3–851)

Grady then reported on his conversation with the British Ambassador in Tehran in telegram 2020 from Tehran, March 9. They both agreed “that Shah likely to decide upon weak government as temporary measure until some of emotion now prevalent wears itself out, and then it is to be hoped, install strong Prime Minister.” He added that he had suggested to the Shah a legal way be found to impose martial law. He also gave expression to his fear that the “Soviets might attempt capitalize upon present disturbed conditions.” (Ibid., 788.00/3–951) For a related report on the situation in Iran from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, Burton Berry, to Secretary Acheson, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran, 1951–1954, pages 9–11 (Document 5).