227. Despatch From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State0
- Athens’ Telegram to Dept No. 215 , February 3, 19581
- New Developments in the Activities of General Qarani
During the past few weeks, there have been new developments in the activities of Gen. Valiollah Qarani and his associates. The first development is covered by the enclosed copy of a memorandum relating to a meeting which took place on January 22, 1958. Officers of the American Embassy met with Gen. Qarani and Mr. Esfandiar Bozorgmehr at the request of these two Iranians, who said they had further views to set forth regarding developments in Iran. The immediate motivation for the meeting probably can be found in the anticipated arrival of the Secretary [Page 538]and Assistant Secretary Rountree, who were scheduled to visit Tehran on their way to the Baghdad Pact Meeting in Ankara.
The second development occurred some days after the Secretary’s departure for Iran. Mr. Bozorgmehr flew to Athens to talk directly with Assistant Secretary Rountree, having read in the Iranian press that Mr. Rountree was then visiting several Middle Eastern countries. It seems that Mr. Bozorgmehr had been planning to visit Washington for this purpose, but seized the opportunity afforded by Mr. Rountree’s presence in Athens to approach him there. Mr. Rountree’s conversation with Mr. Bozorgmehr is covered in Embtel 215 of February 3 from Athens; to the Department.
The third development took place within the past few days. [3–½ lines of source text not declassified] Gen. Qarani and his colleagues had emphasized, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that one or all following steps should be taken in the relatively near future:
- An approach by the American and British Ambassadors to the Shah suggesting, in effect, that the Shah should reign and not rule.
The Iranian Majlis should adopt necessary reforms required for Iran and take steps to see that they are implemented.
[1 paragraph (3 lines of source text) not declassified]
Further developments will continue to be reported. Representatives of the American Embassy plan to maintain their present friendly relations with representatives of Gen. Qarani, and will talk with them as occasions arise. It seems highly desirable to keep abreast of their plans and activities. At the same time, every precaution will be taken to avoid involvement in them.
There has been some speculation as to reasons for the recent spurt in activities of Gen. Qarani and his colleagues. One reason might be an effort to make known their views to the Secretary and Assistant Secretary Rountree. Another reason might lie in current rumors that the Shah was on the verge of authorizing a reorganization of the Iranian military establishment. It has long been common knowledge that there was intense competition among the various intelligence branches of the Iranian armed forces. If reorganization took place, Gen. Qarani, as Vice Chief of Staff of the Iranian Army and de facto G–2, might find himself in a subordinate position to Gen. Haji Ali Kia in his role as J–2 of the Supreme Commander’s staff.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 788.00/2–1058. Top Secret.↩
- In telegram 2136 Rountree reported on his discussion in Athens with Bozorgmehr on the situation in Iran. Bozorgmehr informed Rountree that there was “considerably less freedom in Iran than under Mossadeq; that present government was completely without power and some ministers remain only because directed by Shah to do so; businessmen under impossible handicap unless they have financial participation of Shah or corrupt group surrounding Shah; public opinion has swung heavily away from pro-Shah, pro-US position of two years ago; Shah and government have softened considerably toward Soviet Union, with constant danger Iran will accept large-scale Soviet aid.” Rountree reported that Bozorgmehr had no special request but wanted to ensure that the United States knew the true situation in Iran. (Ibid., 788.00/2–258)↩
- Secret; Sensitive; Special Handling Required; Not Releasable to Foreign Nations. Prepared by Colonel John W. Baska, Air Attaché, for Deputy Chief of Mission Wilkins.↩
- Not found.↩