236. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson1


  • Follow-up on Your Talks with the Shah

You will be pleased to know that the Shah left extremely happy. Your taking him over to the East Room Wednesday made a big impression. Ambassador Meyer asked me to thank you.

In Walt’s absence, he has suggested that I send you this memo to make sure we issue any instructions that need to be given.

We also want to be sure Ambassador Meyer is able to handle effectively any misinterpretations the Shah may have taken away.

1. Pilot Training. Secretary Nitze has arranged jet training for 60 Iranian pilots. He will enter 44 in regular advance jet training school here in the U.S. The rest will go through basic propeller training here and transition to jets under U.S. instructors in Iran. Mr. Nitze has so far arranged for 60, instead of the 75 the Shah mentioned, because our chief of military mission in Tehran understands from the Shah’s Supreme Commander that this is the number required this year.

I would propose offering the above program to the Iranians with the understanding that Defense will go to 75 if that turns out to be the number needed. Is this consistent with your promise to the Shah?

Yes. I only promised to meet his need2

No. I promised 75

2. Future Military Aid. We suggested saying only that you want to continue our military relationship beyond current agreements but can’t make any promises until we know what limits Congress has set. Did you go any further than this?

Yes. I said we’d do everything possible to meet his needs/2/

No. I stuck to the above line

3. Middle East Settlement. Did the Shah indicate his intention to play any specific role in pressing Hussein to come to terms with Israel?



Didn’t come up

[Page 428]

4. Oil. We expected the Shah to ask that you urge U.S. oil companies to increase their oil offtake from Iran. Did you give him any encouragement to expect a better response from them?

Yes. I said we’d talk to them

No. I said these are company matters

Didn’t come up3

5. Vietnam. The Shah is considering collecting a small group of responsible countries to hasten a peaceful solution in Vietnam. Secretary Rusk recommended that you simply offer to be open handed and frank in dealing with such a group. Did your discussions with the Shah go beyond this?

Yes. I asked him to press this

No. I stuck to the Secretary’s line

Didn’t come up3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Iran, Visit of Shah of Iran, 8/22–24/67. Secret; Nodis.
  2. This option is checked on the source text.
  3. This option is checked on the source text.
  4. This option is checked on the source text.
  5. This option is checked on the source text.