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

1774. We increasingly disturbed over reports Shah’s current attitude towards relations with US and threats he had made to reconsider Iran’s position vis-à-vis USSR if he not given satisfaction by US on such matters as budgetary assistance, force goals, and bilateral agreement. Attitude in some instances seems to border on blackmail tactics. While we recognize Shah’s alarm over area developments is reason for legitimate concern on his part, it seems evident that in his frustration as to how to strengthen his position he has grossly under-estimated US contribution to Iranian security and indeed to stability of his own regime. While we realize that Shah no doubt has taken this line in belief it would precipitate greater US willingness to accede to his desires, we cannot discount possibility that in his present apparent frame of mind he might take some action which he and we would later deeply regret. We believe therefore it desirable at this time for you to have talk with Shah (without leaving document) for purpose bolstering his morale by emphasizing degree of US support.

By separate telegram1 we are communicating instructions re budgetary assistance to Iran to support military buildup envisaged in letter of July 19, 1958.2 While our deep concern over general budgetary situation and our inability to do all Shah might like must be communicated to GOI, our willingness despite extreme Congressional difficulties again come to aid Iran by contributing to budget is effective evidence our desire be helpful and should be useful in conversation with Shah.

In discussing force goals, Shah can be told that recent US decision to assist Iran in bringing existing units up to full authorized strength through accelerated training and MAP equipment is clear indication US sympathy for and appreciation of Iran’s exposed position. While there has been difference of military opinion on force goals, US view has not [Page 623] implied any lack US support for defensive posture member countries. Moreover we believe position to be taken by US military representatives at Karachi meeting Baghdad Pact will be considered by Shah to be constructive.3

US decision to join in London Declaration4 and undertake there same commitment Baghdad Pact powers undertook among themselves is concrete evidence continuing US support for Baghdad Pact and principle collective security with Iran. Bilateral agreement now under negotiation is designed to give effect to London Declaration. As Shah knows we can incorporate in executive agreement of this nature only provisions for which there is existing legislative authority. While therefore our flexibility has been somewhat limited with respect to optimum desires of Iran and other Pact countries, draft which we have suggested can leave no doubt as to deep interest of US in Iranian security. Moreover numerous public statements by US with respect to Iran and other members BP have made our position clear, as have appreciable military, economic and financial programs over past several years. Impact of agreement and its usefulness in achieving its purposes will of course depend in large measure upon public attitude of countries undertaking it. On the one hand constructive attitude welcoming agreement will be highly beneficial; on the other hand any public indication of lack of satisfaction with it cannot fail to diminish its usefulness.

We of course know Shah’s deep concern over events in neighboring countries, a concern which we share. We believe there should be regular exchange information this score in order be prepared for any eventuality. We believe however that with respect to Iraq there are now some hopeful signs that Iraq can and will avoid falling into communist camp or becoming member UAR. While we are disturbed over degree cooperation between Afghanistan and USSR there are no indications Afghanistan plans abandonment of present policy neutrality. At present we do not feel that Afghanistan or Iraq represents threat to Iran and US will do all in its power to see that this threat does not materialize. There has been concern expressed in some quarters regarding reports that US efforts to improve relations with UAR might involve change of US policy towards friends, including members Baghdad Pact. Shah can be assured that while US would welcome restoration of something approximating normal relations with UAR, this does not involve any change in attitude with respect to its relations with other states. An important new factor in situation is that Arabs, including UAR leaders, now seem to have greater appreciation of communist threat and to the [Page 624] extent that this develops and action is taken by them in accordance with such appreciation, the security of Iran will in long run be enhanced.

We understand USSR has suggested multilateral guarantee integrity and independence of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries if these countries should adopt neutralistic foreign policy. In addition we hear USSR has offered vague but generous aid if this course adopted. The record of Soviet guarantees is such that they cannot be relied upon, e.g., non-aggression pacts with Baltic and Balkan states. Furthermore Soviet aid is clearly political weapon designed to be turned off and on depending upon willingness with which recipient follows Soviet policy lines. We interpret latest Soviet note Iran as evidence continuing Soviet effort break up Baghdad Pact defensive alliance. Great efforts made by USSR in this direction are clear evidence continuing value such alliances. We confident Shah’s realistic appraisal of Soviet threat to his regime has not been altered.

We believe and are confident Shah shares the belief that Irano-American friendship is based upon mutuality interests and goals. Differences of opinion from time to time cannot affect either basis for or depth of friendship, and fortunately there have been and are few real differences of opinion between us. US committed itself with full support US Congress to come Iran’s aid under terms Joint Resolution on Middle East.5 US intends abide by this policy.6

You may find that Yatsevich will be able provide other useful material for talk which he obtained during recent discussions in Washington.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.88/1–1659. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Mouser and Rountree and approved by Rountree.
  2. Telegram 1772 to Tehran, January 16. (Ibid., 788.5–MSP/1–459)
  3. See Document 243.
  4. See Document 56.
  5. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1958, pp. 894–895.
  6. The Eisenhower Doctrine, March 9, 1957, for text see ibid., 1957, pp. 829–831.
  7. According to telegram 1314 from Tehran, January 17, Wailes met with the Shah on January 16 and communicated the relevant portions of this telegram to him. They also discussed the Baghdad Pact. According to Wailes, the Shah felt “he gets little out of the Pact and is committed to do things which he is militarily unable to accomplish.” The Ambassador stated that despite the “solemn and quiet attitude” of the Shah, Wailes was “somewhat encouraged by the spirit in which he received what must have been to him a disappointing presentation.” (Department of State, Central Files, 611.88/1–1759)