149. Letter From President Nixon to Director of Central Intelligence Helms1

Dear Dick:

I tried to reach you by phone the day after Christmas but then recalled that you were taking a well earned rest in Mexico. The purpose of my call was to ask you to have a chat with John Connally when you return to get his observations with regard to his visit to Saudi Arabia and also to Algeria.2 In your position as Ambassador to Iran3 I would like for you to take as an extra assignment an analysis of the entire Mideast oil situation analyzing, of course, the relations of American and European companies with the various governments and also the stability of the governments.

As I consider the energy crisis we are going to be facing in the next 10 years a continuing supply of oil and gas from the Mideast is absolutely indispensable, not only to Western Europe and Japan but also even to us. The greatest threat to this source of supply, of course, is the instability of the governments in that area. We all remember what happened when Mossadegh was in power in Iran. The same thing, of course, could happen in Saudi Arabia and even in Iran today if something should happen to the Shah and, of course, in the new and highly unstable gulf states.

I would like for you to make a thorough study of this situation before you leave for Iran and then after you arrive there I want you to visit some of the other countries in the area and give us an evaluation of the stability of their governments and what we can do to shore them up. Before you leave perhaps we can have a further talk on this subject.

With every good wish for the New Year,


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 8, HAK Administrative and Staff Files, Memoranda Dispatched from WB, Nov. 1, 1972 through May 31, 1973. No classification marking. A note to Kissinger from Kennedy, attached to another copy of this letter, reads: “The President personally dictated the attached letter to Director Helms concerning the energy crises and the Middle East.” Kissinger wrote on the note: “Forward to Helms on Monday.” (Ibid., Box 209, Agency Files, CIA, Vol. V, 1972, Memoranda)
  2. See footnote 2, Document 147.
  3. Helms was appointed Ambassador to Iran on February 8, 1973.