332. Letter From the Ambassador to Iran (Henderson) to the Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Richards)1
I am enclosing herewith as of possible interest to you, Mr. Stutes-man, and other members of the Department, a number of memoranda which I have received in the last few days from various members of the staff. Since these memoranda are self-explanatory I will not comment on them at length. I am not sending them under cover of despatch since I consider that they are too fragmentary to have a place in the permanent files of the Department.[Page 793]
[name not declassified] who is the author of several of these memoranda, is, as you are undoubtedly aware, a most active CAS source. During the turn-over last August he made close contacts with certain military circles, including the Prime Minister and the son of the Prime Minister, and has assiduously exploited those contacts. The Prime Minister’s son arranges frequently for [name not declassified] to join himself and the Prime Minister at dinner. During these dinner parties many matters are discussed. Usually [name not declassified] advises me regarding at least certain passages of these conversations. The fact that he sees the Prime Minister so frequently of course builds up his prestige and causes many Iranian officials to approach him rather than our Armed Forces Attachés and other appropriate members of the Embassy staff.
You will note that Colonel Pakravan, Chief of G–2, who formerly maintained close relations with CAS, has avoided CAS contacts since August 19. It is clear that Colonel Pakravan is hostile to General Zahedi and is unhappy at the shift which brought Zahedi into power. It would appear from the comments which he made to Colonel McNulty that he, like a number of other Army officers who do not feel that they are profiting from [name not declassified] close relationship with the Prime Minister, is not pleased at this relationship. I assume that [name not declassified] is carrying on his activities under instructions from his superiors in Washington. I am trying so far as is possible to cut down too much free-wheeling. This is not too easy, however.2
I have discussed with the Shah the growing strength of Baqai in the Army, but His Majesty does not seem to be particularly concerned. He intimates that he is sure that Baqai and the Army are loyal to him, and so long as they are there is no need to worry regarding their attitude towards the Government. The Shah even remarked to me that it is important that there be some opposition to the Government and it is preferable that that opposition be composed of persons loyal to the Crown. I have tried to impress upon the Shah the fact that it would be unfair for the Prime Minister to be compelled to deal with a General Staff politically active and critical of himself. The Shah however takes a rather smug attitude about the matter.[Page 794]
I thought you might be interested in Imam Jumeh’s conversation with Howison.3 There is no doubt in my mind that the so-called “pro-Shah” party which the Imam is organizing is not particularly friendly to the Prime Minister. We are not particularly disturbed regarding the warning which Ahmad Aramesh gave to Mr. Howison. There is always a possibility, of course, that some of us might be made victims of terroristic tactics. I believe, however, that Aramesh has talked about this with Howison primarily to establish a closer personal relationship with him.4
You of course will recall Mostafa Fateh who has the reputation of being a particularly loyal British agent. He has been extremely critical of the United States in the past. He is one of the Iranians who has repeatedly charged that nationalization of oil would not have taken place without U.S. encouragement.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/10–1753. Secret; Security Information; Official–Informal. Attachments 3–5 are attached but not printed. See footnotes below.↩
- At the end of this paragraph is a handwritten note by Henderson that reads: “Please take no action with regard to this matter which I prefer to handle here. [name not declassified] is [illegible] and has done much useful work.” Henderson marked the letter to indicate that the note applied to the concluding sentences of the third paragraph.↩
- In a conversation of October 14 with Dr. Sayid Hasan Emami, the Imam Jumeh, Second Secretary of Embassy John M. Howison discussed Jumeh’s intention to form a political party which “the Shah approved” but “was not sponsoring.” In another conversation that Howison had on the same day with the Imam Jumeh and Mostafa Fateh, formerly of the AIOC, Jumeh commented “that he did not believe Zahedi would ever come to grips with the oil problem. Zahedi was reinforcing rather than destroying nationalistic propaganda in order to cater to public opinion.” Both memoranda of conversation are attached.↩
- Howison reported in an attached memorandum to Melbourne, October 15, that Minister of Labor Ahmad Aramesh had told him that “pro-Mosadeq and Tudeh elements were planning a putsch which was tentatively scheduled for October 22. As a build up for this effort they would resort to terrorist methods of which Americans would be primary targets. He had learned that I ‘might be one of the people’ to be assassinated as a preface to the uprising. . . . My assumption is that Aramesh was trying either (a) to impress me with his usefulness to me personally in a manner which would imply that closer professional relations between us might be very convenient for me as an individual or (b) to impress me with the seriousness of the putsch allegedly being planned. If the latter was in fact his aim, it was a highly successful tactic.”↩