788.5/3–954: Telegram

No. 435
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Tehran1

top secret

1838. Department does not suggest (reurtel 1872 rptd London 5702) you utilize memorandum in para 2 Deptel 1798, rptd London 4454,3 as basis your presentation to Shah. We had in mind that you would formulate your own presentation substantively along lines Deptel 1751,4 and it seems to Department you have done this admirably as outlined in para 8 urtel 1872. British have advised us they do not wish to ask for any further amendments to memorandum of understanding. We do not consider your presentation differs substantively from understanding with British, but, in view concern that Shah might obtain impression US–UK views at variance, you might wish inform British Ambassador before approaching Shah. If, in your discussions with Stevens it appears there may be important [Page 948] differences which will become apparent there, inform Department and put off appointment with Shah. We will then attempt obtain from British reaffirmed agreement on policy and presentation.

Your proposed presentation (para 8, urtel 1872) does not appear require additional NSC action as it appears in consonance with spirit and intent established NSC policy which clearly states desirability encouraging Iran to move towards regional defense cooperation with her neighbors. It is matter of implementation for us to secure this result when we can, but not to push for such a solution until we feel it is possible of attainment and can be obtained under conditions to make it a durable long-term arrangement.

Background on memorandum informally agreed with British may be helpful. When Department formulated Deptel 1751, copy of actual message was not shown British. We made up instead a summary which was subject some misunderstanding Foreign Office. Most of delay in talking with British has been due their misconception that it was our intention press Iran for immediate association with the Turkish-Pakistan arrangements. This was not our intention and memorandum (Deptel 1798) was re-write of Summary Deptel 1751 in order make this point more clear. We did not consider memorandum in Deptel 1798 needed alter your presentation to Shah based upon earlier instructions Deptel 1751 but desired you to have copy.

We appreciate force of fundamental questions raised paras 5 and 6 urtel 1872 but do not believe we need attempt obtain final answers to them at this moment. We consider existing NSC policy provides sufficient foundation to proceed as suggested your para 8. We will, of course, continue have in mind important points you have raised.

For your information we see only two possible points of difference with British. In first place, we believe their opinion of future potential defensive capabilities of Iranian armed forces is less than our own. Secondly, they have not as yet made a decision whether they wish to see Iran join the Turkey–Pakistan arrangements. We believe their difficulty is influenced by first point mentioned above but more importantly by their concern lest they be drawn into request for formal security guarantee of Iran’s borders. We must bear in mind their position somewhat different from US in Middle East. UK now has treaty commitments with Jordan and Iraq, as well as Commonwealth obligations to Pakistan. US contemplates no formal treaty relationships within area which would involve question of so-called “security guarantee”. British fear if Iran moves forward in defensive matters and arrangements it might be awkward for them not to extend treaty commitments to Iran similar [Page 949] to those they already have elsewhere in ME. This they are reluctant to consider in absence greater capability in Iran herself.

Seems to us futile to attempt urge British make early decision as to their eventual attitude towards Iran’s entry into security arrangements when we and they both in agreement that Iran would not, and probably could not in present day situation, face up to this action herself. On other hand, if things go well we would hope to persuade British to our point of view by time Iran could in fact take this step.

Agree with your analysis re formalization and prolongation of military mission agreements contained para 7 ur reftel.

Having regard for above considerations, you may proceed, in your discretion, inform Shah of broad US–UK agreement re future Iranian armed forces and additional US military aid substantively along lines Deptel 1751, as elaborated para 8 urtel 1872.

  1. Repeated to London. Drafted by Byroade and Stutesman and signed by Byroade.
  2. Document 431.
  3. Document 430.
  4. Document 427.