788.00/2–2853: Telegram

No. 309
The Ambassador in Iran (Henderson) to the Department of State1

top secret

3454. 1. Thousands of people demonstrated for Shah and blocking Kakh Street in vicinity royal palaces and Mosadeq residence. As I was leaving Mosadeq’s house General Mohanna, Department Ministry Defense and General Afshartus entered his room. As I was leaving, compound jeep with Iranian soldiers swung out of curb towards gate compound. I have since been informed that this jeep crashed gate breaking it and served as signal for rioting. Guards resisted firing in air but throng coming up street from Shah’s palace some 200 yards distant gradually overwhelmed guards and demonstrated against Mosadeq. Mosadeq in pajamas appeared on balcony in effort quiet throng. He was booed down. He then telephoned Ala demanding additional guards from palace charging that rioting was instigated by British agents of court. As rioting increased in violence Mosadeq escaped over rear wall in pajamas accompanied by Fatemi Foreign Minister. They entered auto and proceeded some unknown destination. 30 minutes later woman identified as Mosadeq’s daughter-in-law and another woman climbed wall and left in waiting auto. About same time brigadier-general, probably chief police, scaled wall, commandeered Point Four jeep and went with it to police station.

2. At 5 p.m. thousands of people continued block vicinity royal palaces and Mosadeq’s residence. Loud-speakers are calling on people if they are for Shah, now is time to demonstrate that fact.

3. I have talked with Ala by phone at 4:30 p.m. He confirmed massive throng still are in vicinity of palace. Shah in order quiet people appeared personally on balcony to inform them that he had decided not to go away at least for time being. My impression is [Page 689] that demonstrations are organized. So far as I can ascertain, however, there is not as yet any definite plan, at least as far as court is concerned, for future. Unless Zahedi or some other figure with backing of military takes control of situation immediately either security likely deteriorate or Mosadeq from some new base with backing various elements including Nationalist Movement in Tehran and in country and possibly certain military groups will reassert his power. If Mosadeq successful as is quite possible, he will probably take extremely vindictive measures. Latest news is that certain groups now in street shouting “long live Shah and Mosadeq”. This might be indication that Mosadeq backers trying to prevent pro-Shah supporters from demonstrating against Prime Minister. They may succeed thus in changing attitude of streets which originally were against Prime Minister. Pan Iranists also appearing on street. Tudehs not likely also fail to enter scene in opposition to Shah. Most of Tehran still undisturbed.

  1. Also sent to London, Baghdad, Ankara, and Dhahran.