The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes of the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.)

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This specific volume documents U.S. policy towards Iran and Iraq from 1973 to 1976.

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Although part of a larger integrated series, this volume is meant to stand on its own. Readers who want a more complete context for U.S. relations with the Middle East during this time period should consult other volumes in the 1969–1976 subseries. U.S. relations with the countries of the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region, as well as the Nixon and Ford administrations’ general policies toward the Middle East as a whole are covered in volume E-9, Documents on Middle East Region; Arabian Peninsula; North Africa; 1973–1976. U.S. policy towards the Arab-Israeli dispute is covered in two volumes. Volume XXV documents the October 1973 War, its immediate origins, outbreak, and ceasefire. Volume XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, details U.S. efforts to broker a more permanent peace settlement between the Arab states and Israel. Oil and energy issues are addressed in volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969–1974 and volume XXXVII, Energy Crisis, 1974–1980.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXVII

The editor of this volume sought to present documentation that explains and illuminates the major policy decisions made by Presidents Nixon and Ford regarding U.S. relations with Iran and Iraq between 1973 and 1976. The volume is divided into two chronological sections. The first section documents the increasingly close political, economic, and strategic relationship, which developed between the U.S. and Iran during the mid-1970s; the second section covers Washington’s somewhat more distant interactions with Iraq, with whom the United States did not maintain formal diplomatic relations following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

U.S.-Iranian relations under the Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford administrations were the closest between the two countries since 1953. The first Nixon administration’s decision to sell to the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, whatever non-nuclear weapons he desired removed one of the long-standing points of U.S.-Iranian discord. Thereafter, U.S. officials recognized Iran’s notion of itself as protector of the Persian Gulf, even if they lacked full confidence in it. This section of the volume also focuses on the issue of oil prices, which the Shah insisted on raising in 1973 despite a long-term 1972 agreement with the consortium of western oil companies in Iran. First, in January 1973, the Shah successfully sought equally favorable terms to the majority participation rights secured by the Arab states. Later, following the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Shah took no part in the oil embargo and continued to secretly supply Israel with fuel. Yet during the December 1973 OPEC meeting in Tehran, the Shah led the charge for dramatically increased oil prices.

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Additionally, this section of the volume documents the Ford administration’s attempts to deflect Congressional efforts to use U.S. arms sales as a lever to force Iran to cut oil prices or to improve Iran’s human rights performance. Following Ford’s agreement to sign new legislation that no security assistance be provided to any country whose government persistently violated human rights, the Embassy met with representatives of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to guide officials in presenting their human rights situation in a more positive light internationally.

In sharp contrast to Iran, Washington had had no official relations with Baghdad since the Iraqis broke relations over the Arab-Israel war of 1967. Accordingly, U.S. involvement in Iraq was largely confined to the administration’s aid to the Iraqi Kurds in their opposition to the government in Baghdad. This section of the volume shows that by 1972, however, U.S.-Iraqi relations had in some sense improved with the establishment of the U.S. Interest Section in Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government itself had quietly expanded its interest section in the United States, to which it appointed a distinguished chief in early 1973. Moreover, the 1973 settlement of the oil dispute between Iraq and the Iraq Petroleum Company indicated some Iraqi interest in normalizing relations with the West and distancing itself from Moscow.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The original document is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; and addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classi[Page VI]fied after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original document are so identified by footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. The note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the Presidents or their major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House [Page VII] officials, since those officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Nixon White House Tapes

Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the PRMPA and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon Estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor has made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts produced here. Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document; the transcript represents an interpretation of that document. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in technology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and over time produce more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. The most accurate transcripts possible, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a transcript, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department [Page VIII] of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2007 and was completed in 2011, resulted in the decision to withhold 1 document in full, excise a paragraph or more in 8 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 50 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate and comprehensive—given limitations of space—account of the Nixon and Ford administrations’ policies toward Iran and Iraq from 1973 to 1976.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland; the Richard Nixon Estate, for allowing access to the Nixon presidential recordings, and the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for facilitating that access. The editors also wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials and staff at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at Ann Arbor, Michigan, especially Geir Gundersen, Donna Lehman, and Helmi Raaska. Thanks are due to the Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, who were helpful in arranging full access to the files of that agency. John Earl Haynes of the Library of Congress was responsible for expediting access to the Kissinger Papers, including the transcripts of Henry Kissinger’s telephone conversations. Copies of the Kissinger telephone conversations are now available at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project. The editors were able to use the Kissinger Papers, including the transcripts of the telephone conversations, with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The editors would like also to thank Sandra Meagher at the Department of Defense.

Monica L. Belmonte collected the documentation for this volume, made the initial selections, and annotated the documents she chose. The volume was completed under the supervision of Edward C. [Page IX] Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Rita Baker and René Goings did the copy and technical editing. Do Mi Stauber and Associates prepared the index.

Dr. Stephen Randolph
The Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs
December 2012