8. Letter From President Johnson to the Shah of Iran1
Your Imperial Majesty:
Thank you for your long letter of January 7, 1964,2 and for the frank comments which it contains. It is just this sort of mutual candor which you and I must always strive to maintain.
Sargent Shriver has told me of the warm hospitality which you extended to him. We are all proud of the similarity between our Peace Corps and your Literacy Corps and recently established Health Corps. Indeed, your whole program of social reform is highly regarded here. Iran seems the brightest spot in the Middle East these days. On all those fronts of greatest concern to Iran—the threat from the north, internal security, and the modernization of Iranian society—the outlook seems most favorable.
The important thing now is to press forward and consolidate the domestic progress so well begun. I am impressed with the support you are giving to civil service, budget, and fiscal reform. Let me urge on you the equal importance of a dynamic and buoyant economy; as you know, I too am devoting much attention to this problem in the United States. We wish all success to your new government, which seems to us to be going in the right direction.
Because of Iran’s exposed position, we have always taken quite seriously your military concerns. However, after another thorough look, we have concluded that the basic factors that led our military experts to agree on the current Five-Year Military Plan have not changed significantly. I personally believe the Plan remains practical and adequate. While we can understand your quite natural worry about potential developments in the Arab world, we simply do not yet foresee much likelihood of a substantial Arab threat to Iran. I can assure you, however, that should any such threat develop, we are more than prepared to re-examine the situation with you. Meanwhile, we trust that Iran will continue to do its best to live up to its very difficult tasks under the Five-year Plan.
General Adams will be coming to Iran again in late March or early April, and if you desire he could discuss with you some of the very broad questions you have raised in your letter. Of course, Ambassador Holmes and General Eckhardt also stand ready to discuss at any time the full range of your political and military problems.[Page 21]
I much appreciate your comments on the meaning of a possible non-aggression pact between Communist and non-Communist states. They strike a responsive chord, and I can assure you that no East-West pact of this kind is contemplated at present. If such a matter were ever to be seriously considered, I would expect to consult fully with you before any final decisions were made.
Meanwhile I very much look forward to seeing you in June when we can discuss these matters further. Personal discussions between the leaders of our two Governments are important to both our countries, and it will be a pleasure to have you here in Washington again.