788.00/3–253: Telegram

No. 311
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran 1

top secret

2266. While situation obviously still confused, your latest reports seem to us to bring out or confirm following points:

Immediate Tudeh objective is to eliminate Shah and for this purpose it is making common cause with Mosadeq. Presumably if Shah were eliminated Tudeh would then turn once again and work to eliminate Mosadeq, following which its chances of coming to power would be greatly increased.
Mosadeq is determined either to eliminate Shah or to reduce him to utter figurehead. Although he may not openly seek or welcome Tudeh support, he cannot disassociate himself from it and if he wins present struggle is likely to find himself unable vigorously to defend himself against Tudeh. This will be especially true if disorders take increasingly anti-western tone and Mosadeq victory is based on anti-western appeal to masses.
On other side, there appears to be substantial and relatively courageous opposition group both within and outside Majlis. We gather Army Chiefs and many civilians still loyal to Shah and would act if he gave them positive leadership or even if he merely acquiesced in move to install new government.
Shah, however, seems to be maintaining policy of complete inaction, with result that Mosadeq opponents, both civilian and military, are afraid to act positively.

On basis foregoing it seems likely Mosadeq will retain power and that this will mean early disappearance of Shah from Iranian political scene, rapid deterioration in relations between Iran and West [Page 692] and greatly increased possibilities of communist takeover. Would appreciate your comments on this analysis.

It is of course quite possible that we can do nothing in this situation and we shall be guided by your judgment in this regard.2

. . . . . . .

  1. Drafted and signed by Jernegan; cleared in draft with the Secretary of State, Under Secretary of State, Deputy Under Secretary of State, and Nitze.
  2. Henderson responded in telegram 3543 from Tehran, Mar. 4, that there was no evidence yet that Mosadeq had made arrangements with the Tudeh, but he was capable of doing so in order to retain power. Henderson added that no reconciliation between Mosadeq and the Shah appeared possible except on terms of the latter’s capitulation. (888.00/3–453)