152. Letter From the Under Secretary of State (Irwin) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard)1 2

Dear Dave:

General Williamson, Chief, ARMISH/MAAG, Iran, has recommended with the strong endorsement of Ambassador MacArthur that the USAF Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) in Iran be continued to July 1974, although at a level of 43, reduced from the present 80. We support this recommendation and urge that an early affirmative decision be made to this effect.

The purpose of continuing TAFT personnel in Iran until July 1974 is to enable the Imperial Iranian Air Force to activate efficiently and effectively two additional squadrons of F–4 aircraft it has purchased from the United States which will be delivered over the next three years. These additional aircraft will bring to a total of eight the number of F–4 squadrons Iran has acquired from the United States at a cost of nearly $550 million. In our view the addition of these aircraft will enhance Iran’s deterrent and defense capability and help assure peace and stability in the vitally important Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean areas, thus serving United States and free world interests directly. We feel our assistance in this respect is an excellent example of the Nixon Doctrine in operation. As you know the services of these personnel are financed by the Iranians. In addition, our support through TAFT will doubtless contribute to the maintenance of the excellent relations and [Page 2] good will we enjoy in Iran and permit us to continue to count on the many privileges, including overflight rights in the vitally important East-West Turkey-Iran corridor, we now have. The value of TAFT personnel in Iran in connection with the activation of previous F–4 purchases has been well established. We believe there is every reason to conclude that their continuation would assure the successful activation of Iran’s additional purchases.

With all best wishes,
John N. Irwin
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–9 US-IRAN. Confidential. Drafted by Miklos; and cleared by Sisco, Davies, and Chapman.
  2. Irwin supported the recommendation that the U.S. Air Force Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) to Iran be continued to July 1974, at a level reduced from 80 to 43, to ensure effective operation of the two additional squadrons of Iranian F–4 aircraft.