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

2091. For Secretary from Ambassador. Subj: US-Iranian Cooperation. Ref: A. State 48689, B. State 43366, C. Tehran 1546.2

1. Presented to Shah on afternoon March 14 proposal contained reftel (A) cast in terms you gave me orally on March 9. Shah responded immediately and affirmatively. In fact, I had difficulty in getting beyond the subject of nuclear power, because he wanted to get down to brass tacks on that right away. In any event, he did hoist aboard the broad spectrum of possible joint interests in the economic and technological fields.

2. The Shah would like the first conference of senior American and Iranian officials to be in Tehran and under his aegis. In fact, he said he would chair the first meeting in order to listen to the dialogue between the two sides. He stated that Iran is prepared to field an individual or a delegation at the same level that the US is prepared to present. The question therefore now is how to organize the delegation to visit here. My recommendation would be that in the first instance it should include the Chairman of the AEC and the Secretary of Commerce. This listing is not in derogation of the Secretary of Commerce but is to underline the Shah’s current preoccupation with attempting to satisfy his ambitions in the nuclear field. He is definitely planning on nuclear power plants to the equivalent of 20,000 megawatts and has up till now committed only 5,000 to the French. He is planning to establish in the near future an atomic energy organization headed by an as yet unidentified individual who is described as being trained in atomic physics and as being “a practical man, not just a theoretician.”

3. Recommendation in preceding paragraph need not be regarded as holy writ, because the Shah is clearly flexible in reaction to our initiative and is prepared to move in whatever direction we indicate. Nevertheless, there is no mistaking his preoccupation with satisfying his considerable ambitions in the nuclear field. In fact, his eyes visibly brightened when I spoke of the possibility of using heat generated by nuclear plants for direct reduction of iron ore as being technically and economically feasible. Such a process would further conserve Iran’s gas [Page 177]reserves, according to the Harza Company representative here who floated the theory.

Helms
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, [no film number]. Secret; Priority.
  2. Telegram 48689 to Tehran is Document 55. For telegrams 43366 and 1546, see footnotes 2 and 3 thereto.