97. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State 1
319. Re Embtel 244.2 In discussion eighth Shah remarked that Soviet economic delegation currently visiting Tehran is manifesting almost unbelievable cordiality. This followed cordiality he (Shah) had experienced during his recent Moscow visit when Soviets offered 200-year non-aggression pact and MIG aircraft. Shah had not responded to these two Soviet offers but he said he could not help wondering whether he should not be more responsive to Soviet offers, particularly since his generally pro-Western orientation seemed to be having less value. He noted Ayub finding CENTO membership useless. As for himself, he had only recently realized when there was an alarm re an air attack by Iraqis that Iran has no early warning or other anti-aircraft equipment. He said Iran’s airfields and aircraft could be wiped out in one raid. Current attention, he said, is being given to dispersal of aircraft.
Referring to well-known Soviet objectives vis-a-vis Iran, I pointed out what Shah had termed “Soviet smiles” were clearly tactical. He should give credit, I said, to CENTO for deterring Soviet bully tactics and compelling Soviets to be more friendly.
Comment: Shah’s irritation re lack of air-defense equipment is increasing.