S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1, NSC 107 Series

No. 7
Draft Statement of Policy, Proposed by the National Security Council1

top secret
[NSC 107]



It continues to be in the security interest of the United States that Iran not fall under communist domination, either as a result of invasion or internal subversion.

Iran is located in a key strategic position, the occupation of which would enable an enemy to threaten the nearby oil producing areas, Turkey, the countries on the Eastern Mediterranean, Pakistan, and India. Iranian oil resources are of great importance to the economies of the United Kingdom and Western European countries. Loss of these resources would affect adversely those economies in peacetime.
Communist domination of Iran would damage United States prestige and seriously weaken, if not destroy, the will to resist in nearby countries, except Turkey.
Communist domination of Iran could only be viewed as one in a series of military, political and economic developments the consequences of which would threaten the security interests of the United States.

For these reasons, the United States should continue its basic policy to take all feasible steps to assure that Iran does not fall victim to communist control.

Because of United States commitments in other areas, the current understanding with the United Kingdom that it is responsible for the initiative in military support of Iran should be continued. The vulnerability of Iran, particularly the northern part, and the paucity of the military resources available make it desirable that the United States and the United Kingdom jointly give early consideration to measures designed to strengthen the general area in order to give Iran support in depth.

Present conditions in Iran as well as Soviet threats to that country require that the United States further strengthen its programs in Iran in support of its basic policy. Accordingly, the United States should:

Continue to extend political support and military aid and accelerate economic aid as much as possible in order to (1) increase internal security in Iran, (2) strengthen the Iranian Government and people in their resistance to communist pressures, (3) bring them into closer association with the free world, and (4) demonstrate the intention of the United States to assist the Iranians to remain independent.
Press the United Kingdom to effect an early and equitable settlement of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company dispute.2

. . . . . . .

The United States should now make plans and preparations in conjunction with the United Kingdom to counter possible communist subversion in Iran and to increase support of the pro-Western Iranian Government in the event of either a communist seizure of power in one or more of the provinces or a communist seizure of the central government. Such plans and preparations should envisage political and economic support, including:

Correlated political action by the United States and the United Kingdom.

. . . . . . .

Efforts to induce nearby countries such as Turkey and Pakistan to assist the legal Iranian Government.
As desirable, consultation with selected countries to attain support for the United States position.
Exposure of USSR responsibility and consideration of reference of the situation to the United Nations.
In the event of overt attack by organized USSR military forces against Iran, the United States in common prudence would have to proceed on the assumption that global war is probably imminent. Accordingly, the United States should then immediately:
Seek by political measures, to localize the action to stop the aggression, to restore the status quo, and to ensure the unity of the free world if war nevertheless follows. These measures should include direct diplomatic action and resort to the United Nations with the objectives of:
Making clear to the world United States preference for a peaceful settlement and the conditions upon which the United States would, in concert with other members of the United Nations, accept such a settlement.
Obtaining agreement of the United Nations authorizing member nations to take appropriate action in the name of the United Nations to assist Iran.
Consider the possibility of a direct approach to the highest Soviet leaders.
Place itself in the best possible position to meet the increased threat of global war.
Consult with selected allies to perfect coordination of plans.
While minimizing United States military commitments in areas of little strategic significance, take action with reference to the aggression in this critical area to the extent and in the manner best contributing to the implementation of United States national war plans.
  1. Attached to the source text were a cover sheet and a note by Lay which states that the draft statement had been prepared by the Staff of the National Security Council on the basis of an initial draft prepared by the Department of State. This draft has not been identified in Department of State files. Lay’s note states further that the draft and the Staff Study (supra) were being submitted for consideration by the National Security Council at its next meeting on Mar. 21. The composite document consisting of the cover sheet, Lay’s note, the draft statement, and the Staff Study were circulated as NSC 107.

    Regarding the discussion of NSC 107 at the 87th meeting of the National Security Council, see the editorial note, infra.

  2. On Mar. 21, before the meeting of the National Security Council, the Bureau of European Affairs suggested that this paragraph be redrafted to read: “3b. Press for an early and equitable settlement of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company dispute.” (Memorandum to the Secretary of State; S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1, NSC 107 Series) There is no record to indicate that Secretary Acheson approved this suggestion.