3. Letter From the Shah of Iran to President Nixon1

Dear Mr. President:

I thank you for your message of 19th January2 and I greatly appreciate the friendly concern which you have manifested with regard to the outcome of the negotiations which my government is conducting with the oil consortium. In order to elaborate on certain matters which you have raised I would like to point out that there is no comparison between Iran and the other countries of this region. First of all, our situation and conditions are different as we already own our resources according to the Oil Nationalization Law of 1951. Secondly, as you, Mr. President, are no doubt aware, my country is becoming a developed country and, moreover, the other states in this part of the world do not have our needs nor our possibilities. We also think that the oil companies had ample time to reach an agreement with us but they spent time doing otherwise. I am convinced that after the announcement of our policies which are the best guarantor of the secure flow of oil supplies through the companies good prices and discounts, there will still be time for the parties concerned to meet our legitimate rights and reasonable demands. I am fully aware of your many preoccupations at this time and the very heavy schedule you have at the moment, but I deemed it necessary to bring this matter to your attention. I am always grateful to you for your deep interest in Iran and its role in the stability of this vital region.3

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With warm regards and best wishes,


Mohammad Reza Pahlavi4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence, Iran—M.R. Pahlavi, 1969–1974. No classification marking.
  2. In his letter to the Shah on the negotiations between Iran and the consortium, transmitted in telegram 11341 to Tehran, January 19, the President urged that “since a unilateral step which does not meet the legitimate interests of both sides could have serious consequences for the objectives which we are pursuing together, I do want to express the hope that you might defer any unilateral action until I can study the issue and put my considerations before you.” (Ibid.) For more information on the negotiations, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969–1974, Documents 151 and 152.
  3. In telegram 416 from Tehran, January 22, Farland reported that Alam had convoked him to discuss the Shah’s reply to the President. “With considerable coolness and complete absence usual pleasantries my meetings with him, Alam said that he felt President had had a one-sided briefing (from oil companies).” Downplaying the danger of leap-frogging, Alam announced that a straightforward buyer-seller oil relationship had become a point of principle to Iran. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 602, Country Files—Middle East, Iran, Vol. IV, September 1971–April 1973)
  4. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.