44. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

8095. Please deliver at opening of business November 18. Subject: Shah’s Message to President Sadat. Eyes Only for the Secretary from the Ambassador.

1. Khalatbari called me to Foreign Ministry morning November 18 to read me message from Iranian Ambassador in Cairo about his meeting with President Sadat at 1300 on November 16 pursuant to instructions from the Shah. There was no explanation as to why Shah communicated with Sadat by telegram rather than sending emissary as he did in case of King Faisal. Shah’s telegram to Sadat was dispatched on November 11 but due to pressures Sadat did not receive Iranian Ambassador until November 16.

2. Shah’s message to Sadat contained usual congratulatory amenities, mentioned that you had informed Shah of your talks with Sadat, expressed hope for continuing success of cease-fire arrangements. Shah pointed out that policy of Arab countries to use oil weapon had produced results and had contributed to opening eyes of oil consuming nations to Arab cause. If this policy were to be continued now that fighting had stopped, however, and if oil consuming nations were to be subjected to economic pressure, this could in America, Europe, and Japan give to Jewish lobby and those who are opposed to Arabs opportunity to use this policy to their own advantage by exposing it as type of blackmail designed among other things to cause suffering this winter among young and old people. This according to Shah would not [Page 157]benefit Arabs and therefore it would be better at this stage to put an end to oil embargo and await results of negotiations which have been started. Shah points out that if negotiations get nowhere, oil embargo can always be reinstituted.

3. According to Iranian Ambassador, Sadat listened carefully, sent thanks to Shah, and said would study Shah’s message most carefully. He also stated he would discuss it with other Arab leaders.

4. Khalatbari then told me that Shah had given an interview on November 16 to Lebanese journalist, whose name Khalatbari could not remember. In this interview Shah took pains to point out for benefit of Arab readers the significant difference between using oil sanctions in time of war and while fighting going on and continuing to use them after the negotiating process has started following cease-fire.2

5. At end of our session Khalatbari asked me if I knew what development had led the President to make his statement to effect that he saw signs that the oil embargo was being lifted.3 I replied that I had no information. He is anxious to know if you care to share the information with him and the Shah.

Helms
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 603, Country Files—Middle East, Iran, Vol. V, May–December 1973. Secret; Niact; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. In the interview on November 25, reported in telegram 8305 from Tehran, November 26, the Shah publicly advocated the lifting of the oil embargo, giving diplomacy a chance to achieve peace. With the recent acceptance of the cease-fire, he was quoted as saying, “Oil is like bread—it cannot be held back in times of peace.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, [no film number])
  3. President Nixon, in remarks on signing a bill authorizing the trans-Alaska pipeline on November 16, stated that “it is a reasonable possibility that at some time in the future we can see some change with regard to some of the Arab oil-producing countries and their attitude toward exporting to the United States and to Europe.” For the full text of his remarks, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 941–945.