The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, selects, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.
Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et. seq.).
The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954
This volume is part of a sub-series that documents the foreign policies of the
Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower administrations. However,
this volume is a retrospective volume that is meant to supplement
Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, Volume X, Iran,
1951–1954, published in 1989. The 1989 volume provided significant
documenta[Page IV]tion on the oil dispute
between the United Kingdom and Iran following the latter’s decision to
nationalize the assets of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in March 1951. It represents a thorough,
accurate, and reliable account of the role the United States played in mediating
the dispute. However, it did not provide any documentation on the role of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the
formulation of U.S. policy toward Iran or documentation on the covert action
that led to the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mosadeq on August 19, 1953. The lack
of such documentation prompted a sharply critical reaction from concerned
academics, the media, and other interested members of the public. In 1991, this
reaction prompted the introduction and passage of congressional legislation,
updating the Foreign Relations statute and affirming the requirement that the
Foreign Relations series “shall be a thorough,
accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy
decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity.” Furthermore, the
legislation required U.S. Government departments and agencies to provide
Department of State historians with “full and complete access to the records
pertinent to United States foreign policy decisions and actions.” In order to
fulfill this congressional mandate, Department of State historians were charged
with compiling a “retrospective” volume, utilizing materials previously
unavailable to the Foreign Relations series, to address
the remaining gaps in the historical narrative left by the 1989 volume on
This Foreign Relations retrospective volume focuses on the use of covert operations by the Truman and Eisenhower administrations as an adjunct to their respective policies toward Iran, culminating in the overthrow of the Mosadeq government in August 1953. Moreover, the volume documents the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community in the policy formulation process and places it within the broader Cold War context. For a full appreciation of U.S. relations with Iran between 1951 and 1954, this volume should be read in conjunction with the volume published in 1989.
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversations are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division. The original document is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia and other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations [Page V]of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition is in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by their headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original document are so identified by footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.
The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.
The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.
Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation
The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in [Page VI]the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.
Because of the history and significance of this volume, the Advisory Committee offered advice throughout its lengthy preparation and took the unusual step of delegating a member to review the manuscript. Although the committee appreciates that some documentation remains classified and does not appear in the volume, it assesses the volume as a reliable guide to the trajectory of U.S. policy toward Iran from 1951 to 1954 and an exceptionally valuable addition to the historical record. Accordingly, the committee recommended its publication.
The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Orders 12958 and 13526, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.
The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2004 and was completed in 2014, resulted in the decision to withhold 10 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 38 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 82 documents.
The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted
in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process
described above, that the documentation, annotation, and editorial notes
presented here, and read together with
Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume X, Iran,
1951–1954, provide a broadly accurate account of the main lines of U.S.
policy toward Iran from 1951 to 1954.
The Office of the Historian wishes to express its gratitude to Ambassador Harmon Kirby for his tireless efforts in pursuit of transparency and accountability in his work on the Foreign Relations series. This volume is dedicated to his memory.
The editor wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance of the Historical Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence at the Central [Page VII]Intelligence Agency. The editor extends sincere appreciation to staff at the Truman and Eisenhower Presidential Libraries. The editor would also like to thank the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), College Park.
James Van Hook selected and annotated the documentation, under the supervision of Edward C. Keefer, the then General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Chris Tudda and Kerry Hite coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman and Carl Ashley, successive Chiefs of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.