123. Editorial Note

President Richard Nixon scheduled a stop in Tehran on his return from the Moscow Summit, May 22–30, 1972, to talk with Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Shah of Iran. Prior to his departure for Moscow, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger passed to President Nixon, on May 6, briefing material from Peter Flanigan, the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs, on the current state of oil negotiations between the Consortium and the National Iranian Oil Company. As summarized by Kissinger, Flanigan requested that the Shah “not be encouraged in his desire for access to the US market for Iranian oil. His [Flanigan’s] point is that such access would make our relations with other Persian Gulf countries as well as with Venezuela extraordinarily difficult and would make impossible the already difficult task of managing the mandatory oil import program.” While Kissinger agreed with Flanigan’s basic point, he thought it possible the Shah would be less worried about access to the U.S. market now than he had been in 1969. Kissinger also noted that the question of selecting friendly countries to import from rather than less friendly ones be “thoroughly examined.” He also informed Nixon that Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted Nixon to tell the Shah how much he appreciated the Shah’s “key role” in stable global energy relations. (Memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, May 6; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 602, Country Files, Middle East, Iran, Vol. IV, 9/1/71–4/1/73) Kissinger’s memorandum is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–4, Documents on Iran and Iraq, 1969–1972, Document 189.

President Nixon’s conversations in Tehran with the Shah touched only briefly on oil issues. During their May 30 meeting, the Shah expressed his agreement that there were key areas which could not be neglected, such as Europe and the Middle East. He said Libya’s oil would go dry in another decade and a half. The United States would have to get more of its oil from the Middle East but could not allow itself to get in a position where it could be “cut off.” Nixon responded [Page 298] “that crazy fellow Mossadegh did it.” The Shah agreed that Mossadegh was “nuts.” The discussion on May 31 did not cover oil. (Memoranda of conversation, May 30, and May 31; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS–28, Kissinger Telcons, Geopolitical Files, Iran, Memcons, Notebook 30 May 72–15 September 73) Both memoranda of conversation are published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–4, Documents on Iran and Iraq, 1969–1972, Documents 200 and 201.