254. Editorial Note

According to a memorandum of October 13 by Karl G. Harr, Jr., Special Assistant to the President, the Operations Coordinating Board during the week of October 6–12, “discussed and concurred in a report on Iran, prepared for the National Security Council review of U.S. Policy Toward Iran, which included a statement as to the seriousness of the situation as reflected in the Special National Intelligence Estimate. While not disagreeing with this evaluation, State believes that steps can be taken in the next six to twelve months which could produce favorable results. At present, the Ambassador and other members of the country team are endeavoring, with some apparent success, to influence the Shah to bring about social and economic reforms. Several members of the Board favored stronger measures to improve the situation, such as using military and economic aid as levers to obtain better performance by the Shah and promoting more popular impact programs. In the light of events since last August, CIA proposes a review of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran and is requesting the views of the Country Team on the current situation.” (Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Staff Secretary Records, Gray, Gordon, IV)

The Operations Coordinating Report on Iran, October 8, is not printed. (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 60 D 661, OCB-Iran, NSC 5703/1) Assistant Secretary of State Rountree briefed Secretary Dulles on this report in a memorandum of October 14, which reads in part as follows:

“Since the submission of the last progress report in April, 1958, increasing concern has been evidenced in many quarters over the prospects of continued political stability in Iran. This concern was heightened significantly by the Iraqi revolution. A recent SNIE dated August 26, 1958, takes a somewhat gloomier view of the short-term prospects in Iran than would seem warranted by the most current reports from our Embassy (Tab B) [Document 253]. Generally speaking, the Embassy believes that the Shah and his government are likely to continue in power indefinitely, unless Iraq is used as a base for subversive [Page 597] activities against the Iranian Government. In conclusion, we do not believe that our basic policies toward Iran need drastic revision, though we are in the process of preparing a draft of a revised basic policy paper for consideration by the NSC Planning Board.

“Other than the internal political situation, our chief problems continue to revolve around military and economic progress in Iran which may subject the U.S. to heavy pressures for increased military and economic assistance. Our relations with the Shah personally have improved considerably as a result of the President’s message to him of July 19, 1958, regarding a buildup in Iran’s military forces.” (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 1; S/PNSC Files, Iran, US Policy Toward—NSC 5703/1)

At the 383d Meeting of the National Security Council, October 16, Allen Dulles reported to the Council as part of his intelligence briefing on “Significant World Developments” to the Council as follows:

“With respect to Iran, Mr. Dulles stated that the tension had eased a bit since the Iraqi coup some three months ago; but there was still a good deal of evidence of dissatisfaction with the Shah in Iran. The latter was taking some, but not enough, steps to try to ease the discontent. Reliable estimates stated that perhaps 20% of the Iranian Army was disaffected.” (Memorandum of discussion, October 17; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

The Council noted and discussed the Operations Coordinating Board report of October 8 and directed the National Security Council’s Planning Board to review and revise the current statement of policy toward Iran contained in NSC 5703/1 in light of it. This action constituted NSC Action No. 1998, approved by the President on October 20, 1960. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)