788.5/3–154: Telegram

No. 430
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran1

top secret

1798. 1. Re Deptel 1782 rptd info London 44052 if you have not yet made appointment with Shah, prefer you hold up until further instructions because of continuing conversations with British.

2. In our discussions with British here, we have found it useful to seek agreement upon following informal memorandum which is transmitted for your information. We do not consider form or phrasing this memo need alter your presentation of problem to Shah in any substantial way from instructions in previous reftels:

“It is suggested that the Shah may be told:

US and UK agree that the Iranian armed forces, while bearing in mind the need to stabilize Iran’s economy, should develop some capabilities beyond those strictly required for internal security;
our future attitude regarding an increase of Iranian armed force capabilities would inevitably be influenced by developments in the area as a whole;
the military aid which, in future, may be extended by the US will be dependent upon appropriations by Congress which in turn will be influenced by our impression of Iran’s defense posture as it develops as a result of the additional aid now being made available.

The US and UK agree with what they agree to be the Iranian view that it is not now feasible for Iran to enter into military cooperation with other Middle East countries and that, for the time being, Iran should not be expected to participate in regional defense arrangements. Eventual participation by Iran will be influenced by developments in the area as a whole as well as developments, both military and political, within Iran.”

3. British have emphasized desirability informing Shah US and UK have reached joint broad agreement re future Iranian armed forces, but that Shah may wish discuss matter with British Ambassador. Shah reportedly alluded to problem when British Ambassador recently presented credentials. However it is hoped Shah can be discouraged from drawing any inference that he may obtain divergent UK view in any discussions with British Ambassador subsequent [Page 934] to your presentation of “joint broad agreement”. British Ambassador has reported to Foreign Office any indication in this direction would “make deplorable impression”.

4. Although it was Shah who raised original question re future Iranian armed forces and it is to him that joint US–UK reply should be made, it is hoped you will find opportunity discuss matter with Prime Minister or, in your discretion, Minister Foreign Affairs.3

  1. Repeated to London. Drafted by Stutesman and approved by Byroade.
  2. In telegram 1782, Feb. 26, the Department informed the Embassy that the subject of telegram 1751 to Tehran, Feb. 19 (Document 427), had been discussed again with British Embassy officials, and that it was agreed that Henderson was to postpone his approach to the Shah until Mar. 2 in order to give the British the opportunity to comment. Accordingly, Henderson was to proceed along the lines of telegram 1751 on Mar. 2 unless instructed otherwise. (788.5/2–2654)
  3. Ambassador Henderson acknowledged receipt of this instruction on Mar. 2, and reconfirmed that he would not see the Shah until instructed to do so. (Telegram 1862; 788.5/3–254)