274. Memorandum Prepared in the Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency1

Messages need to be sent to the following places and persons containing in each case the various points indicated:

a. A message via [less than 1 line not declassified] to Burton Berry in Baghdad providing State Department guidance to him along agreed lines [1½ lines not declassified]. This message should indicate that the Department considers that he handled situation in exemplary fashion under the circumstances and should make it clear that at least for the present, and in absence of any satisfactory indications of possible success, the U.S. wishes to avoid assuming responsibility for urging statements upon the Shah beyond what he himself has indicated his disposition to be. This message might be from Whiting to Berry. We should indicate that State has seen the Arab News Agency report on the Shah’s statement which is considered helpful but deficient in many respects—e.g., it is not nearly as good or as full as his oral statements to Berry. Also, his statement of intention to take off for Europe in the near future is regarded as unfortunate.

b. [2 lines not declassified] The message to Berry will be [1½ lines not declassified] that Berry will handle any contact with the Shah.2

c. The substance of the message to Berry, including the text of the statement (to be drawn from Berry’s cable as indicated by underscoring), should be repeated to Roosevelt together with the additional explanation that State has gone part of the way in the direction apparently desired by Roosevelt but has been unwilling to authorize Berry to press the Shah to make an appeal to the armed services of Iran to arise in support of him—as a matter of U.S. initiative. In this regard, the Department feels that, lacking more satisfactory indications than it has been able to draw from Roosevelt’s messages, that there is a real and significant possibility of decisive action in Iran, the Department does not wish to become associated with a reckless backing of a hopeless cause. The possibility of a more affirmative State Department position in this regard would depend upon Roosevelt’s ability to provide more satisfactory evidence of the possibility of significant resistance. (State is not sure whether Roosevelt’s language intended to buck up Shah or whether all of it is really meant at full strength.) Reference should also [Page 685] be made to IN 10764,3 and Roosevelt should be advised that State has passed the word to VOA and instructed its own press relations people to avoid any such terminology as “coup d’état,” “plot,” etc., and that while playing the story “straight” they should play up the fact that there is another version of the story supported by both Zahedi and now the Shah which indicates that if there was any coup d’état it was that of Mossadegh and not of Zahedi.

d. We have also to consider adding as part of one of the foregoing messages or making it the subject of a new message—[less than 1 line not declassified]—a reference to our OUT 81878 of 16 August4 which indicated that, while State had no policy objection to the British urging the Shah to make the statement suggested by Roosevelt, we were under admonitions to avoid any approach of our own to the Shah for this purpose. The point should be made that Mr. Berry’s action has at least partially overtaken that position of State and that Berry is being authorized to speak with the Shah in the sense of subparagraph a. above.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 80–01701R, Box 3, Folder 10, TPAJAX. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. The message to Berry has not been found.
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 269.