32. Memorandum for the President’s Files by the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1


  • Meeting with His Excellency Nassir Assar, Secretary-General of CENTO, on March 14, 1972 at 11:45 a.m., The Oval Office


  • President Nixon
  • His Excellency Nassir Assar, Secretary-General of CENTO
  • Ambassador Mosbacher
  • Major General A. M. Haig, Jr.

Following press photographs, President Nixon welcomed Secretary-General Nassir Assar to Washington noting that while he was cognizant [Page 105] of the Secretary-General’s international hat, he also wished to express to the Secretary-General his warm regards to the Shah of Iran on whose staff the Secretary-General was previously assigned.

Secretary-General Assar expressed his deepest appreciations to President Nixon for his willingness to receive him and to thereby manifest his support for the CENTO Organization. Secretary-General Assar noted that he had long admired President Nixon’s leadership but that as a result of recent events, he had now concluded that President Nixon was indeed the inspirational and intellectual leader of the Western world. He commented that the recent successful trip to Peking and all that it represented for mankind constituted one of the most significant achievements in modern times and that this accomplishment was proof positive of President Nixon’s role as a world leader.

President Nixon thanked the Secretary-General for his comments and pointed out that he had long supported the CENTO concept recognizing that many of its original military objectives had changed and that its cooperative effort in functional areas such as trade, communications, etc. had become more important aspects of the role CENTO would play in the future. The President pointed out that in the months ahead the CENTO membership should give particular attention to strengthening the spirit and morale of Pakistan which had suffered grievously in a real and psychological sense in recent months.

The Secretary-General stated that he agreed completely with President Nixon’s comments and noted that he would strive to assist the Government of Pakistan through cooperative efforts by the CENTO membership. He also noted that it would be very important in the months ahead for the United States to continue to provide assistance to the CENTO membership and President Nixon agreed that the United States would make every effort to do so.

As the meeting concluded, President Nixon informed Secretary-General Assar that he would be visiting Iran in conjunction with the forthcoming visit to the Soviet Union cautioning him that this information had not yet been made public.2

Secretary-General Assar stated that he had now realized three major accomplishments as a result of his visit to Washington. First, he had had an opportunity to visit personally with the greatest leader of the Western world. Secondly, that leader had promised continuing support for the CENTO Organization and thirdly, as an Iranian, he was moved and pleased beyond expectations as a result of his knowledge that the President would soon be visiting his homeland.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 998, Alexander M. Haig Chronological Files, Haig MemCons, Jan–Dec 1972. Secret. Drafted on March 18.
  2. Nixon visited Iran May 30–31, as he returned from a European trip that included the Summit in Moscow May 22–30.