788.00/3–751: Telegram

No. 4
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran1

top secret

1531. Pres and Acting Secy sending appropriate messages condolence Shah and FonMin.2

While Dept realizes development will require rapid decisions and action in Iran and that you will continue exert ur influence as you deem appropriate, its prelim views might be useful at this juncture.

Removal Razmara from picture creates grave crisis which requires firm hand and forceful direction if situation Iran is not to become so unsettled that Communists can take over with relatively little difficulty. Only person in Dept’s opinion who cld provide this direction under present circumstances is Shah and we believe US and Brit shld support him in every feasible way and encourage him to act with force and vigor in crisis.

Shah shld take every possible precaution to protect himself and Dept wld appreciate ur urging on him necessity of adequate personal security, pointing out possible calamitous results for Iran if anything shld happen to him.

While we wld not wish to give Shah impression US is trying to suggest Premier, Dept believes it might be well to convey to him view whoever he selects shld be man he personally trusts and who he knows is loyal to him. Other qualifications appear secondary at this juncture.

  1. Drafted by Ferguson and Rountree. Repeated to London.
  2. In telegram 1994 from Tehran, Mar. 7, Ambassador Grady reported that Prime Minister Razmara was assassinated at 10 a.m. that day by a member of the religious group, “Fedayan Islam”. (788.13/3–751) In a subsequent telegram Grady reported that the situation was still confused, but Razmara’s death seemed to have arisen because the “Fedayan Islam” concluded that he favored Communist activities and was acting on behalf of foreign interests in connection with the oil question. (Telegram 2001 from Tehran, Mar. 7; 788.00/3–751) Finally on Mar. 9 Grady reported that it was becoming clear that the motivation for the assassination was Razmara’s speech to the Majlis on Mar. 3 in which the Prime Minister had supported the AIOC supplemental agreement. (Telegram 2013 from Tehran; 888.00/3–951)