232. Letter From the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Irwin) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Rountree)0

Dear Mr. Rountree: We are all concerned over the inordinate demands for additional military assistance from the Shah of Iran. Undoubtedly he will renew these demands at all levels during his forthcoming visit to Washington in June.

[Page 545]

As you know, it will be difficult at best to persuade the Shah to adopt a more reasonable attitude toward military aid. The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations has called Mr. Sprague’s attention to the fact that this difficulty will be increased after the Shah has observed the extensive U.S. military program in Taiwan and Japan immediately prior to his visit to Washington. The Shah will undoubtedly contrast our aid in that area with the assistance we have furnished to Iran and will seek to buttress his demands by such comparison. Further, during this trip he will undoubtedly talk with many political and military leaders of the U.S. and of other friendly countries. An inadvertent remark by any of the foregoing officials could provoke an even more stubborn attitude on the part of the Shah.

In an effort to avoid or minimize the difficulties which may come from his tour through Taiwan and Japan, I suggest the following joint State–Defense action. I think it would be wise if we dispatched a joint State–Defense message to all U.S. civilian and military officials with whom the Shah might come in contact during his visit in the Pacific area, fully apprising them of our position regarding additional aid to Iran. I would further suggest that in Japan our people take every opportunity to emphasize to the Shah the extensive Japanese industrial base in support of her military forces. I also suggest that in Taiwan our officials be advised to emphasize to the Shah the extreme tensions in the immediate area which call for unusual military assistance. In both countries I think our officials should be urged to take all possible discreet action to prevent a glamorous display of U.S. military aid to the Shah.

If you concur in the above proposals, I will have members of this office work directly with your office in the preparation and dispatch of appropriate cables.1


John N. Irwin, II
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 788.11/4–1658. Secret.
  2. Rountree responded on April 22 agreeing to a joint State-Defense message regarding possible “exorbitant demands” by the Shah for military assistance. Rountree also felt it “would be useful if we could find means of demonstrating to him the potential U.S. strength in the Pacific area and what it means to the protection of the Free World” while avoiding “any ostentatious display of U.S. military aid in the countries through which the Shah will pass en route to the United States.” (Ibid.)