250. Editorial Note

On instructions from Washington, a senior Embassy official met with the Shah in Tehran on December 8, 1971, to discuss the possibility of Iranian military support for Pakistan. The Shah stated that he had informed the Pakistani Ambassador in Tehran that, in light of the treaty of friendship signed by India and the Soviet Union, he could not send Iranian aircraft and pilots to Pakistan. He was not prepared to risk a confrontation with the Soviet Union.

The Shah proposed an alternative way to provide support to the hard-pressed Pakistani Air Force. He suggested that the United States urge King Hussein to send Jordanian F–104 fighters to Pakistan. The Shah in turn would send two squadrons of Iranian aircraft to Jordan [Page 701] to defend Jordan while Jordanian planes and pilots were in Pakistan engaged in support of fellow Muslims.

The Embassy official indicated that, because of legal constraints regarding the use of military equipment provided by the United States, it would be difficult for officials in Washington to give permission for the transfer of the F–104s from Jordan to Pakistan, or to overlook their absence in Jordan. The Shah said that the United States could not hope to achieve the objective of bolstering Pakistan while maintaining that it was not involved in the effort. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan)