122. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran1

903. Following is text of message dated February 26 from Shah to President. Reply in preparation.

“Dear Mr. President,”

“During my short stay in Austria, I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of January 31, 1966 delivered to me by your Ambassador to that country. I gratefully acknowledged it by a letter sent to you through my Ambassador in Washington.2

“Some time before that your esteemed and able envoy, Mr. Averell Harriman, whom you had entrusted with the mission to explain the American aims and objectives paid a visit to Tehran and gave me a full account of his mission. We had a long and fruitful exchange of views.”

“It would be appropriate to observe, Mr. President, that the evil of aggression which has plunged South Vietnam into the miseries of a ruinous war, may also engulf other areas of the world, if adequate measures are not taken in good time to forestall it. The developing course of events in this region clearly shows that my predictions of these past years have not been far wide of mark. Let me add, Mr. President, that unfortunately disruptive elements in the Middle East, in utter disregard of morality, principle and human life are constantly on the look out to carry out their destructive activities in order to be able to maintain their position which they could not otherwise do so in a healthy and orderly community. We are at present face to face with dangers coming from directions which, though clearly foreseen by me, we could not for reasons I would not elaborate here, take adequate measures to provide against them.”

“I need hardly stress, Mr. President, that my cherished aim in this region is the safeguarding of peace and stability—factors so essential to the implementation of our reforms and further enhancing the prosperity of our people. And perhaps, it will be no exaggeration to say that the political and economic stability of Iran, as so far maintained, has proved to be not only to the advantage of our own country but also of great value to the security and continued stability of the whole region.”

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“But we can hardly maintain this situation if we fail to provide ourselves with the necessary facilities and requirements. Recently, however, diminishing United States military assistance coupled with the exchange requirements of our growing population are placing unduly heavy burden on our limited foreign exchange resources, further aggravated by the fact that in comparison with other oil-producing countries of the Middle East, our oil production figures bear no relation to the needs of our greater and growing population.”

“Faced with this situation and feeling more than ever the grave danger gathering in the direction of our Western and Southern borders, our national interests demand that we lose no time in preparing ourselves to cope with any threat by purchasing our military requirements with our limited foreign exchange at a reasonable price from the United States or look out for other suppliers who are in readiness to offer us better terms and conditions. I earnestly hope that this vital question of our approaches in the United States will receive favourable consideration. I take this opportunity to offer you my heartfelt and sincere wishes for the success and fulfilment of your great task. May God Almighty’s blessings be with you in the pursuit of your high ideals and noble work.”

Sincerely, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 IRAN. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Crawford, cleared by Bracken and Komer, and approved by Hare.
  2. Telegram 967 to Vienna, January 30, transmitted a message from the President to the Shah informing him that the U.S. and South Vietnamese Governments were ending the suspension of bombing attacks against North Vietnam. (Ibid., POL 27 VIET S) The Shah’s February 2 response is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Iran—Shah Correspondence, Vol. I.”