74. Editorial Note

In October 1969, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, the Shah of Iran, visited the United States. He met privately with President Nixon on October 21 in an off-the-record conversation, and with Secretary of State Rogers on October 22. The Shah told Rogers that the Persian Gulf was unstable. He felt Gulf security should be guaranteed by an alliance between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but that Saudi Arabia was unreliable due to its limited military ability and weak internal situation. The Shah also stated that, despite Iran’s legitimate claim to Bahrain, he would accept UN mediation to determine the will of the Bahraini people. (Memorandum of conversation, October 22; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1245, Saunders Files, Visit of Shah of Iran Oct 21–23, 1969)

In January 1970, Iran again broached the idea of a regional security arrangement including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Ambassador to Iran Douglas MacArthur approved of the idea, finding it “very much in our national interest” and in keeping with the Nixon Doctrine. (Telegram 36 from Tehran, January 5; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 1 NEAR E) Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hermann Eilts agreed, but warned that Iran should not push the idea too fast. (Telegram 54 from Jidda, January 7; ibid.) CINCSTRIKE also supported a regional security arrangement, stating that combined contingency planning “would provide the least costly and the most practical and credible approach to regional security.” (Telegram STRJ5–ME 287 from CINCSTRIKE, January 13; ibid.)