788.00/10–3152: Telegram

No. 233
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran1


1081. Dept greatly appreciates ur thoughtful tel 1765 Oct 302 and finds it is in essential agreement with most of conclusions contained therein. However, from Emb and other reports, Dept has been inclined to give emphasis to fol factors:

Nationalist and Tudeh programs parallel in Iran but crucial difference is that nationalists reject Sov domination. It has been reported as evidence Natl Front Govt opposition Tudeh, (a) Cabinet and Majlis still clear of commies although admittedly there is thin [Page 509] line between some radical leftists in Natl movement and Commies, (b) Tudeh Party still illegal and Dept unaware any Govt move or intention in direction legalizing party, (c) imposition martial law Tehran and environs, (d) laws recently decreed calling for criminal prosecution persons carrying concealed weapons and persons creating labor and other civil commotion, (e) Natl Front deputies increasingly outspoken in accusing Tudeh Party of Sov domination, (f) Anti-Shah demonstrators arrested Oct 26 reportedly to be exiled Persian Gulf islands, (g) Oct 29 martial law authorities suppressed all Tudeh newspapers.
Dept has considered if Mosadeq shld disappear from polit scene, his successor wld probably be Kashani or his puppet who likely wld be willing and able act ruthlessly, probably more ruthlessly than Mosadeq in maintaining position. Trend polit developments Iran seems to be moving direction dictatorship of natl socialist type which in Iran unlikely to be efficient, reasonable, or based on well-developed program, but allows basis for expectation that ruthlessness toward opposition will be characteristic and Govt will be in essential conflict with communism.
Altho para 4 urtel points out sources opposition to Natl Front, it does not appear take account of support which Kashani and Mosadeq reportedly draw from members landowner and merchant group and likelihood that small merchant class will continue support nationalist dictatorship.
Dept has been led to conclusion from previous reports that land reform apparently being accepted many areas Iran and perhaps more important for immediate future apathy majority peasants still essentially unchanged.
While Kashani presumably wld cooperate with Tudeh if he considers it in his immediate polit interest, is there not possibility that he can maintain his present and potential position without Tudeh assistance?
So far tribes, except for some Kurds, reportedly support Natl Front Govt although undoubtedly their major motive is self-interest.
Factor of major importance Iran’s historical past has been balance of fon powers in Iran. Altho nationalist leaders undoubtedly personally antagonistic any fon influence, they must remain aware importance maintaining some relation with West to counterbalance Sov pressure. Therefore altho Dept foresees that operations US mil missions and Pt Four may be increasingly hampered and US may receive blame for internal Iran problems, it seems not improbable that Kashani may be influenced, particularly if he has responsibility in govt, to consider carefully any move to sever ties with West. This factor is strengthened by additional pt made urtel that Irans have basic hope that US will in some manner provide polit support and econ assistance.

Having these factors in mind, fol are conclusions derived here from info recd:

Barring unforeseen developments such as active Sov intervention Natl Front Govt (if not Mosadeq at least some other leader [Page 510] Natl Front) will remain in power during 1953 and will actively prevent Commies from obtaining any substantial control Iran affairs.
Barring serious crop failure or unfavorable export market, Iran economy can provide sufficient funds for Govt pay mil forces and civil servants and purchase essential imports altho no oil sold and no fon aid recd during 1953 beyond that presently anticipated.
Trend developments favor Commies and will increasingly undermine Western influence. Basic US problem vis-à-vis Iran is how to support non-Commie Govt so that it can remain in control of Iran affairs.

Dept wld appreciate ur comments.

  1. Repeated to London and pouched to Moscow, Ankara, Baghdad, Kabul, Karachi, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Tel Aviv, Jidda, Dhahran, Rome for Unger, Isfahan, Meshed, and Tabriz. Drafted by Stutesman and Richards and approved by Byroade.
  2. Telegram 1765 conveyed a general estimate of the situation in Iran. (641.88/10–3052)