347. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Gray) to the Director of the International Cooperation Administration (Hollister)1


  • Policy Decision on Iran Military Support Program

I have carefully considered your memorandum of 23 January 19562 in which you state that a necessity exists for seeking a basic high-level consideration of, and specific decision concerning, the nature and scope of a military support build-up in Iran before undertaking such a program, the scope and ramifications of which, while obscure, are obviously far-reaching.

My understanding of the situation is that the U.S. has a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of their conclusions concerning an interim role and mission for Iran.3 The OCB Board Assistants have seen [Page 799] fit to submit a statement to the Board that the Iranian Army and other security forces are deemed capable of maintaining internal security.4I am also aware that our Ambassador to Iran was authorized to inform the Shah of Iran last July that the U.S. would maintain the current rate of funds in FY 1956 and increase it in FY 1957 and FY 1958.5

I believe that activities in connection with the engineering survey to validate the FY 1956 projects, as well as the approval of specific projects for construction, can be conducted so as to clearly indicate to the Iranian Government that the approval and construction of any project is based solely upon the current availability of funds and its military value at the time of approval and not upon any overall defense plan for Iran developed by the Iranian Government or the MAAG.

I consider, therefore, that a firm policy exists under which we can proceed with the engineering survey of the FY 1956 projects and eventual approval of specific projects when the results of the survey are available for evaluation. Should you desire to initiate action to obtain a reexamination of this current policy, I do not feel that such action should serve to further delay execution of the engineering surveys for the FY 1956 Program.

Gordon Gray6
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 788.5–MSP/2–756. Top Secret.
  2. Document 344.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 344.
  4. The reference is not clear, but OCB Progress Report on “U.S. Policy Toward Iran” (NSC 5504) stated that the Iranian Army and other security forces were capable of maintaining internal security. See footnote 2, Document 349.
  5. See Document 320.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.