248. Editorial Note

At the 376th Meeting of the National Security Council, August 15, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles included the following information on Iran in his intelligence briefing on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security”:

“Turning to Iran, Mr. Dulles stated that the intelligence community feared that Iran was moving into a situation in which there might be a coup similar to that which recently occurred in Iraq. While he, Mr. Dulles, was not predicting such an eventuality in the near future, the Shah certainly feared this possibility. Some six months ago there had been a plot of Generals to reform the Iranian Government. Accordingly, we should face the possibility that unless the Shah puts into effect some dramatic internal reforms, his days will be numbered. Iran was, after all, still run for the most part by a corrupt group of rich landowners, some of whom were very close to the Shah. There was also a certain amount of disloyalty among the younger officers of the Army. It might be well if this Government considered whether we could not exert some pressure on the Shah to carry out some of the most needed reforms, especially in land tenure and taxation. In the same context, Mr. Dulles pointed out that the new Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq had in a speech in Baghdad urged the people of Iran to revolt. This portion of his speech had been deleted from the public texts.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

At the 377th National Security Council Meeting on August 21, Dulles updated the situation in Iran as part of his intelligence briefing as follows:

“Reports from Iran continued to come in, and supported the view Mr. Dulles had expressed at last week’s Council meeting regarding the shaky position of the Shah of Iran. We still take a gloomy view of the Shah’s future unless he can be persuaded to undertake some dramatic reforms. The problem is very much like that earlier in Iraq, and we should try to persuade the Shah to undertake reforms while there was yet time.” (Ibid.)