236. Letter From the Ambassador to Iran (Chapin) to Secretary of State Dulles0

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have already sent Telegram No. 2200 of May 291 with some suggestions which I hope may be helpful to the [Page 553]President and to you in your discussions with the Shah at the end of June. I venture to reiterate the point which I made to you when you were here last January, that the Shah is a past master in making the most favorable interpretation of any statement with respect to aid which may be given him. I can only express the hope that it will be possible to leave no doubt in the Shah’s mind during the Washington discussions as to the extent of our assistance, both military and economic. I have spelled out my recommendations in a valedictory despatch which I enclose.2

There is another point which I think will be of interest to you. Recent events in Latin America, an area which I personally know so well, have focused attention on the difficulties of our diplomatic missions of keeping in touch with the “outs” and other dissident elements who may eventually succeed to power. A parallel situation exists here in Iran, as you are probably aware; and any effort on the part of the American Ambassador or his staff to maintain relationships with these elements of the population—unfortunately the majority—who are not 100% pro-government, is viewed with suspicion and even fear. In fact on several occasions high officials close to the Court as well as in the government—the Minister of Court, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and even the Shah himself—have suggested that the American Embassy should avoid any contacts with dissident or even opposition elements of the Majlis who were originally appointed with the entire endorsement of the Shah.

I believe strongly, and I hope I have interpreted your own feelings in this regard, that it is the duty of the American Ambassador to maintain such contacts in the interests of the United States, although naturally with as much discretion as possible. This is necessary in my considered opinion, even though at the cost of some royal displeasure.

I have described this situation in my despatch. I do not wish to burden you with reading the entire despatch, but desire to call your attention to the summary and pages 4 and 5 of the enclosure.

With many thanks for your continued confidence in me, and looking forward to seeing you upon my return to Washington in July.

Sincerely yours,

Selden
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 1028. Secret. a note on the source text indicates that the Secretary saw this letter.
  2. Document 235.
  3. Chapin is referring to Despatch 1056 from Tehran, June 2, in which he confirmed and amplified his recommendations in telegram 2200. The despatch consisted of a 3-page summary by Chapin and a 13-page analysis of the economic and political situation in Iran prepared by the Embassy staff. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.88/6–258)