243. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran0

204. Verbatim text. Please deliver following message from the President to the Shah.

“I know that Your Majesty, like ourselves, is concerned about the recent developments in Iraq and the effect that those developments may have on certain aspects of the collective security planning we have undertaken through the mechanism of the Baghdad Pact.1 Although we believe it would be premature at this time to make final decisions as to how the coup d’état in Iraq may modify our collective security planning, we wish Your Majesty to be assured that the United States Government is fully aware of and actively following the possible implications. Moreover, I recall that Your Majesty in our recent talks indicated your belief that there should at this time be additional strengthening of the Iranian armed forces beyond that already contemplated.”

[Page 576]

“With the foregoing in mind, we believe it is important to begin now to reconsider our collective security planning. It is also our belief that your armed forces as now supported should be brought up to agreed operational strength and to a high level of operational efficiency. I have, therefore, already directed that the delivery of a wide range of equipment for your present forces be further accelerated and I am prepared to provide your armed forces with additional training assistance on a selected but intensified basis. As you with our assistance are able to provide adequately trained manpower, my government is prepared to consider with you the desirability of activating additional units as well as the possibility of our assisting in the equipping of such units.

“We fully recognize that the strengthening of Iran’s military power and its efforts to achieve economic development will result in strains on the Iranian economy. You may depend on the sympathetic and prompt consideration by the United States, within our available means, of Iran’s needs for economic assistance as they may develop.

“I have every confidence that through our combined efforts with our other friends, the recent events will not be permitted to undermine joint security arrangements. It is our purpose to help assure the political independence and integrity of your country as an integral part of those security arrangements.

Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]

Observe Presidential Handling.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 788.5–MSP/7–1958. Secret; Priority; Presidential Handling. Drafted by Rountree and Jones, cleared in draft with Defense and ICA, cleared by Eisenhower, and approved by Dulles.
  2. In telegram 185 from Tehran, July 15, Chargé Hall reported that the Shah told him that in view of the Iraqi coup, “arms are life or death to Iran now.” The Shah stated that his request for 16 divisions had only been premised on the event of a Soviet attack. Now he had Iraq at his back “which means Nasser and we consider him worse than the communists.” The Shah noted that Baghdad Pact defense planning had been shared with Iraq and now it would be available to Nasser and the Soviets. The Shah feared the end of the pact and isolation for Iran. Hall reported that the Shah was confident that the United States, would act, but feared that delays in doing so would allow more Middle East countries to fall into “enemy hands.” Hall quoted the Shah as saying: “I know US has allies, Congress, public opinion, bureaucratic processes to contend with, but I have to think of my people and country which are in imminent peril. To cope with peril US must be able to act on 24-hour or less notice.” (Ibid., 788.56/7–1558)