291. Memorandum of Discussion at the 449th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1.]

2. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters by Acting Director of Central Intelligence Cabell.]

Turning to Iran, General Cabell reported that relations between that country and the USSR continued to be strained. Iran has withdrawn its Ambassador from Moscow and has stated that he will not return until the Soviet Ambassador returns to Teheran. [1 line of source text not declassified] Officially, the USSR is demanding that Iran prohibit all foreign bases on Iranian soil, a demand which Iran is continuing to turn down. Dissatisfaction with the Shah is a constant feature of Iranian opinion but thus far no leader has been available to exploit this dissatisfaction. The Turkish coup d’état, however, has had repercussions in Iran unfavorable to the Shah’s position. The Shah’s continued active role in government is one reason for dissatisfaction. The Shah has now promised to reduce his participation in government and has promised that the elections scheduled for July and August will be free. While these elections will doubtless be determined in advance to a lesser extent than formerly, in practice, the voters can vote only for candidates approved by the Shah. While there is no revolutionary fervor in the army, some army officers appear to have been plotting against the Shah for months. The underlying situation in Iran is of such a nature that an attempt to overthrow the Shah could develop with very little warning.

[Here follows discussion of events in Turkey.]

3. U.S. Policy Toward Iran (NSC 5821/1; OCB Report on NSC 5821/1, dated December 11, 1959; NSC Action No. 2170; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated March 16, 1960; NSC Action No. 2215;1 NIE 34–60;2 NSC 6010;3 Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated June 27, 19604)

[Page 677]

Mr. Gray briefed the Council on NSC 6010, U.S. Policy toward Iran. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting and another is attached to this Memorandum.)5

Secretary Herter said he fully concurred in Mr. Gray’s proposal to send policy papers which had been updated without significant changes in policy to the Council for adoption by Memorandum Action. Secretary Herter felt that a policy which has been updated need not come before a Council meeting unless the paper reflects a difference of opinion. If the Planning Board was fully agreed on the revision of an updated paper, Memorandum Action by the Council should be satisfactory.

Mr. Gray said if there was no objection, the Record of Action would show that the Council adopted NSC 6010 without amendment.

The National Security Council:6

Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 6010; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs or Staff thereon, transmitted by the reference memorandum of June 27, 1960.
Adopted the statement of policy in NSC 6010.
Agreed that future up-dating revisions of NSC policy papers pursuant to NSC Action No. 2215–c should normally be circulated to the Council for Memorandum Action, unless they contain “split” recommendations.

Note: NSC 6010 subsequently approved by the President for implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, and referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.

4. Recent Evidences of Social Unrest and Political Instability In Many Free World Nations

The President wished to refer to a question which had been troubling him. All over the world, in the last six months or so, there has been a rash of revolutions which have overthrown governments—in Cuba, Turkey, and almost in Japan. The U.S. has been working since 1947, and very intensively since 1953, to achieve stability throughout the world but instead seems to have been faced with unrest and unhappiness. The President said he had heard from some of our South American friends that all our aid merely perpetuates the ruling class of many countries and intensifies the tremendous differences between the rich and the poor. The President wondered whether we were stupidly pushing [Page 678] ahead, carrying out programs without taking into account the effects these programs might be having. Perhaps the difficulty was this, however; perhaps we could only stand by and watch a wave of revolution sweeping around the world.

[Here follows discussion by Herter of unrelated matters.]

Secretary Herter said we had believed that Iran had taken a turn in the right direction when it dismissed Mossadegh. Now, however, we find that the Shah is slow in undertaking the necessary reforms in his country. [Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.]

The President wondered what we should do about the revolutionary ferment to which Secretary Herter referred. Could we continue to support governments which would not carry out land reform and which would not lay out any constructive program for the betterment of the situation? To do so would be like giving money to a juvenile delinquent to buy a “hot rod” which might kill someone. We should take a look at our policies and try to determine what effect they are having. He had thought Iran was on the right course. The Shah had laid out a good land reform program at the time of his (the President’s) visit to the country and appeared to be all ready to put it into effect immediately. The Shah had said he would be able to deal with the big landholders. Secretary Herter said most of the big landholders in Iran were relatives of the Shah. Land reform in Iran had been a very slow process.

[Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.] Iran appeared to the President to be in almost as difficult a situation as it had been in during the time of Mossadegh. The situation there might be improved if the liberals could succeed in deposing the Shah and taking over the government. [Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.]

[Here follows the remainder of the memorandum.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Boggs on June 30.
  2. See footnotes 25, and 8, Document 288.
  3. Document 285.
  4. Document 293.
  5. In this memorandum Lay transmitted the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on NSC 6010, June 24. The JCS found NSC 6010 “acceptable” and recommended that the Secretary support it. (Department of State, S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 6010, U.S. Policy Toward Iran)
  6. Attached, but not printed.
  7. Paragraphs a–c and the Note that follows constitute NSC Action No. 2256, approved by the President on July 6, 1960. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)