58. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran1
73527. Subject: U.S.–Iran Cooperation. Ref: State 48689, Tehran 2091.2 For Ambassador from the Secretary.
1. Following the Shah’s favorable reaction to our proposal to broaden and deepen our relations, the next step is to set the stage for substantive and concrete discussion of priority areas of cooperation we would both wish to pursue. I want it emphasized that we view this new effort as very much an equal partnership exchange in which both sides will feel free to advance new ideas and suggestions and to discuss these fully, freely and frankly. Please approach the Shah along the following lines.
2. We are gratified by his positive response to our proposal and want to move expeditiously to give substance in concrete ways to the concept of broadening and deepening our ties. Since our first approach to him, we have developed some specific ideas which we believe have merit and on which we are prepared to move promptly once we have the Shah’s reaction and any suggestions he may have. We want to emphasize from the outset that we wish to be responsive and we desire our planning to be in accord with Shah’s own views and priorities. I look forward to discussing this personally with the Shah at a fairly early date so as to have the full benefit of his own views as to how we can most effectively work together over the entire range of our mutual interest.
3. We believe there is considerable scope for expanded cooperation between our countries in the economic field. In order to provide proper focus and suitable high-level official guidance, we suggest the establishment of a Joint Economic Commission at the Cabinet level. On our side, we have contemplated that the Commission would be headed by the Secretary of Treasury. This is of course up to the Shah, but in our own planning for this Commission we have been assuming he would [Page 180]wish to designate either the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Economy as the Iranian head. Between sessions of the Commission, which might meet annually or more frequently as it decides, the business of the Commission could be carried out by standing or ad hoc working groups that could address general areas of concern or specific projects.
4. We have noted the priority the Shah gives to developing alternative means of energy production through nuclear power and agree this is the area in which we might most usefully begin on a specific program of cooperation and collaboration. I suggest this be the first working group under our Joint Economic Commission. The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission is prepared to visit Tehran with a team of experts to discuss, with whomever the Shah designates, ways and means by which we can most usefully cooperate in this field based on our own extensive experience.
5. We are also prepared to get together a team or teams of experts to visit Iran or to receive Iranian officials here to explore ways of transferring U.S. technological skills and know-how to Iran so as to develop a research or manufacturing capability in other selected areas it considers of high priority. We have in mind such areas as water desalinization, solar power, and certain fields of mechanical and electronic engineering, including solid state electronics and production of selected military end items. We would welcome the Shah’s views as to whether these are areas of particular interest or whether there are others he would wish us to consider.
6. You should note our understanding of the Shah’s high interest in developing a petrochemical capability which will enhance and diversify the value of his oil resources. You may tell him we are prepared to field a team of experts or to explore here with his own representatives concrete ways in which the U.S. and Iran might collaborate in bringing his desires to realization.
7. You might also note our understanding of the Shah’s interest in the fields of advanced radar and communications including satellite and ground systems, and that we are prepared to discuss ways in which Iran might become involved in these fields. (FYI: With regard possible US teams under 5, 6, and 7 above, we need to explore how much can be done through USG personnel and existing official funds, recognizing that private industry and expertise will be needed to do the job. You should therefore handle these suggestions in way to leave US flexibility. End FYI)
8. We would welcome knowing other subjects the Shah might like to have addressed for priority attention under our proposed Joint Economic Commission. (FYI: We are exploring potential for collaboration [Page 181]on complex problems such as Iranian desire for assured supply of raw materials, and channeling of resources to the neediest nations, but are not in position to offer specifics at this time. End FYI)
9. With regard to political and security matters, we are prepared to continue and expand the consultations and close ties which already mark our relations and which we value greatly. We would like to feel free, and have the Shah feel equally free, to raise for full and frank discussion between us such matters as our common interest in achieving a durable peace between the Arabs and Israel and what we are trying to do to help achieve it; problems affecting the stability of the Persian Gulf region and the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent; the need to assure freedom of access through the Indian Ocean; and such extra-regional matters as the prospects for détente between US and the Communist powers, and trends in US relations with Western Europe. We contemplate remaining in the closest touch on the Shah’s concerns regarding Iran’s security and on how we can continue to cooperate through our sales and training programs in helping to build up Iran’s defensive capability. We also hope to exchange ideas on how closer regional ties might be developed, particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia, to enhance regional security. Through our ties in CENTO and other channels we will wish to remain in close contact on Soviet activities and intentions that could threaten regional stability.
10. It is our current feeling that use of existing channels and mechanisms can be intensified for the expanded cooperation we have in mind in the political and security fields. We will wish frequent visits to Iran by senior US civilian and military officials, and we hope the Shah will agree these can be complemented by similar visits to the US by Iranian officials. We see our respective diplomatic missions and the US Military Mission in Iran as playing key roles. We would welcome the Shah’s views as to whether any additional structure is needed to ensure the type of very close exchange we wish. We would be receptive, for example, to suggestions for more structured political consultations than we have had, on a regular basis. And if the Shah believes our military cooperation can be improved, for example by establishing a joint commission on security matters, we are prepared to respond to his wishes.
11. Please tell the Shah that I have hoped for an early occasion to visit Tehran, and subject to his views I am prepared to do so during the course of my next trip to the Middle East when I shall be trying to help bring about further progress toward Arab-Israeli peace. During my visit to Tehran we could discuss in more detail any of the foregoing as well as other ideas the Shah and his advisors may have as to the substance or structure of our expanded cooperation. My visit could provide a good occasion for a public announcement of our new coopera[Page 182]tive relationship.3 (Should the Shah like some earlier announcement, however, we will be pleased to have any specific suggestions.) Immediately following my talks with the Shah, a first joint working group meeting on nuclear power could take place in Tehran, in which the Chairman of our Atomic Energy Commission and her experts would participate. This meeting would be concrete evidence of our mutual interest in developing closer ties through specific concrete programs. During my visit we might also agree as to the timing, agenda and venue of the first meeting of our Joint Economic Commission.
12. I am confident the Shah will appreciate the seriousness of our purpose and our desire to move forward vigorously in specific concrete ways. We attach highest value to a partnership from which we are confident both our nations can benefit greatly.4
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 603, Country Files—Middle East, Iran, Vol. VI, January 1974–. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Miklos and Sober, cleared by Sisco and Eagleburger, and approved by Kissinger.↩
- Documents 55 and 56.↩
- Helms cautioned in telegram 2838 from Tehran, April 13, that since the Shah “does not ‘like to wear Arab clothes,’” the United States should “go slowly in giving widespread publicity to this new effort since it will place the Shah in the position of following closely in the footsteps of the US/Saudi announcement.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D740086–0205) The U.S.-Saudi statement, issued on April 5, announced the two countries’ intention to expand and give “concrete expression” to cooperation in economics, technology, and industry. (Department of State Bulletin, April 29, 1974, p. 459)↩
- The Shah replied through the Embassy in telegram 2958, April 17, approving the Joint Economic Commission, the technology transfer proposal, petrochemical collaboration, advanced radar and communications development, and discussions on political and security matters. He also hoped for U.S. assistance in the production of 10,000 megawatts of nuclear energy, and added that all of the proposals could be handled within normal bilateral agreements. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 603, Country Files—Middle East, Iran, Vol. VI, January 1974–)↩