98. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1
332. Reference: Deptel 193 and Embtel 229.2 While I have not completed my survey of all our sensitive installations in Iran, I have visited a sufficient number to be tremendously impressed by what is already being accomplished here. I wonder if many authorities in Washington are aware of the extensiveness of our sensitive operations here by [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. (some of them of a duplicating nature).
My conclusion is that there is little being done in Pakistan that is not already being done adequately here. Under these circumstances, piling on an additional [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Americans atop [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] in Iran (not counting dependents) would in my view be inconsonant with President Johnson’s injunctions re economy in government.
The importance of the Pak facilities is their geography. They afford an additional bearing on target areas. This advantage cannot be transplanted to Iran where bearings are already being taken. Unless someone can demonstrate otherwise to me, transferred personnel from Pakistan will be able to do very little more than is already being done in Iran.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] communications, I find that both [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] already have first-class installations. Obviously any radio man, and I am one myself, is always dreaming of a more extensive antenna system. But as far as I can see both [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] are handling traffic with maximum speed and effectiveness. For neither system is volume of traffic more than one-third its capacity.
General Meyer who visited Tehran last week agrees that proposed site at [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is unsuitable for various reasons. He would like to find more favorable location. He concurs that until that day is reached an extension of present [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] site is required. It is adequate, if not ideal. I favor indefinite stay at present location.
Foregoing conclusions reached even without political considerations. As recent Embassy telegrams have confirmed, Iran is in process of [Page 173] adjusting its foreign policy so as to avoid image of being “American stooges.” Basically Shah and his government will continue to be with U.S.. At same time, from standpoint of keeping them in power, we must understand value of their improving their image. Nationalistic sentiment is virulent in most of Africa and Asia. It is on upswing in Iran, particularly as Pakistan [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] loosen their ties with us. Sensitive U.S. operations here as well as burgeoning US official presence are tailor-made targets for anti-Shah and/or anti-American elements. If such elements were to succeed in stirring up passions against US and Shah remained cooperative with U.S., his own future would be in jeopardy. If he responded to popular sentiment, which he would probably be forced to do, it would mean ouster of great bulk of American presence here, including our existing sensitive operations.
Since we already have well established facilities [1 line of source text not declassified], I think it would be most unwise to tempt fate by importing additional hundreds of Americans. Camel’s back is already heavy laden, from standpoint of what is politically tolerable here. Why risk destroying extensive facilities already in being for minimal additional product?
While recommending against transfer of Pak facilities or any substantial part of them to Iran either now or in foreseeable future. I do not preclude squeezing in an extra technician or so in facilities already established here. I am impressed by present efficiency and compactness of these facilities. My vote goes for keeping them that way.