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

193. For Ambassador. President has approved unanimous recommendation SecState, SecDef, and DCI that we proceed as matter of urgency to develop alternative facilities for our intelligence installations and activities now in Pakistan. He has asked for a firm recommendation on this as soon as feasible. Intelligence community here now hard at work on this problem. Secretary has expressed desire Department play major role in view important political aspects involved in our relations with several countries.

Technical studies have already indicated that preferred alternatives would involve in addition to things elsewhere [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] in Iran: [1 line of source text not declassified]. In eventuality that Pakistan forced withdrawal all our facilities there would be immediate heavy pressure for introduction Iran as much as possible of this burden. Everyone here aware enormous political problems which would be involved and fortunately chances Pakistan’s insisting early and complete withdrawal do not now seem great. Nevertheless, possibility exists and in any event there is desire over longer run reduce our present high degree dependence on Pakistan in intelligence field.

Department’s problem now is to determine politically feasible background within which technical planning for both short and long terms can be done. It may turn out that best approach will be effort to develop embryo installations at technically suitable sites which would be susceptible to expansion should a critical need develop. This could be done in an austere, inconspicuous, and gradual manner. Department keenly aware political liabilities any expansion or additions facilities in Iran and of likelihood relatively short lifespan of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] intelligence installations there as in many other countries. We are determined hold requests for them to minimum absolutely necessary. However, every additional year of coverage counts, and state technology does not provide much hope that other forms collection can relieve burden on [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] facilities your area for next few years.

Department would appreciate by August 30, if possible, your best effort help us define political parameters within which we must work in [Page 167] Iran, including time elements involved (i.e., possibilities in six months, possibilities in a year), possible developments in US-Iranian and Soviet-Iranian relations which might affect receptivity, Shah’s basic attitudes, potential [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] arrangements, etc.

Specifically, what is your estimate prospects for success present proposal [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] which provides for introduction some collection personnel. What is maximum number and kind (military or civilian) personnel which could be introduced in [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]? Is any other relatively large [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] installation feasible elsewhere? What are prospects for modest expansion existing [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] covert activities in [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]?

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 15 IRAN–US. Top Secret/Sensitive; [distribution indicator not declassified]. Drafted on August 23 by Spain and Director of INR’s Office of Current Intelligence Indications William M. Marvel; cleared by Deputy Director for Coordination William McAfee (INR/DDC), Handley, and Howison; and approved by Hughes.