121. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1 2

SUBJECT:

  • Your Appointment with Ambassador Mac Arthur—Thursday, April 8 at 3:30pm

The main reason for your seeing Ambassador Mac Arthur is to get his feel for how you might manage a visit to Iran later this year. There will be a brief photo opportunity at the beginning of the meeting.

You will recall that the Shah has invited you to attend the anniversary celebration of 2500 years of Persian monarchy at Persepolis October 13–15 and to pay a state visit to Iran either immediately before or immediately after those ceremonies. When the invitation initially came last summer, you replied that you would like in principle to accept but would have to wait before committing yourself. Ambassador Mac Arthur’s return to Iran would provide an occasion for sending some informal word to the Shah of your tentative plans.

Ambassador Mac Arthur feels you should avoid the celebrations themselves. Some 40 heads of state are now said to be planning to attend. Security and logistics would be major problems. The Ambassador, however, very much wants you to come to Iran. He feels it would be manageable for you to pay a visit in late September or very early October.

Ambassador Mac Arthur will also probably wish to mention to you the evolving situation in the Persian Gulf. The Iranians may seize three small islands in the mouth of the Persian Gulf if the British fail to make arrangements satisfactory to Iran in permitting Iran to station defense forces there after British departure.

Talking Points

1.
What is the Ambassador’s advice on the best way to handle a visit to Iran? [Anything you can tell the Ambassador about your travel plans would be worth asking the Ambassador to pass to the Shah when he returns to Iran just to indicate that the Shah’s invitation remains on your mind.]
2.
Would the Ambassador care to say a word or two about the situation which he sees evolving in the Persian Gulf?
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 602, Country Files, Middle East Files, Iran, Vol. III, 1/1/71–8/31/71. Confidential. Sent for information. A note on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. Kissinger advised Nixon to discuss a proposed visit to Iran during his upcoming meeting with Ambassador MacArthur.