94. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran1

283040. Subject: Oral Message for the Shah. For the Chargé from the Acting Secretary.

1. Please deliver the following oral message from Secretary Kissinger to the Shah:

2. I am pleased to inform you that, following up on our discussions during my recent visit to Iran, we have now completed arrangements for joint US-Iranian production of the TOW missile.2 Some formalities remain to be concluded within the US Government, but that should be successfully worked out within the next several weeks, at which time our Department of Defense will be in touch with the appropriate Iranian military authorities to conclude and formalize agreement on TOW missile co-production. I wanted Your Majesty to have this word from me in advance of the official approach by the Department of Defense to your military authorities since I look upon this arrangement as a useful step in developing even further the bilateral cooperation between Iran and the United States that we both consider so important.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 13, Iran—State Department Telegrams, From SECSTATE–NODIS (2). Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted and approved by Eagleburger.
  2. In backchannel message WH43619 to Helms, December 20, Scowcroft indicated that he could not send Helms information on TOW co-production for the Shah until the Under Secretaries Committee study was completed. The administration needed to move carefully, he noted, since co-production, particularly with an oil producer, aroused domestic political sensitivities over employment, balance of payments, and competition. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages, Box 4, Mideast/Africa) The next day, in backchannel message WH43622 to Helms, Scowcroft wrote that “there are whispers that Henry promised the Shah co-production of the TOW.” He promised to verify the facts with Kissinger and report back. (Ibid.)