156. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2


  • Your Foreign Travels—Possibility of Including Iran

Secretary Rogers (attached) strongly recommends you try to include Iran in your foreign travels—notably in connection with your trip to Moscow—or make some alternative arrangement to see the Shah. Ambassador MacArthur returned here last month with word that the Shah is still counting on your promise to visit him this term in office as you told him in 1969 and reaffirmed this year. Last week Ambassador Afshar approached me to express the Shah’s hope you will be coming. I was sympathetic in expressing your deep interest in Iran but was noncommittal on the precise question of a visit or its timing.

There are two aspects of the Shah’s interest. One, of course, is his special relationship with you and his great sensitivity and pride in not being overlooked, especially in view of the fact that you are meeting with other major leaders in connection with your Peking/Moscow travels. On the substantive side, he has overriding concerns about long-range Soviet objectives in the area, including the Persian Gulf and Indian subcontinent.

I am sending this to you just to inform you that the Shah has raised this question again. You will probably need to wait until nearer the time to see what competing invitations you have. While I had my doubts previously I now believe that with the momentous developments in South Asia and the potential in the Mid East, a visit to Iran is a serious proposition.

[Page 2]

Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon


  • Visit by You to Iran Either Just Before or Just After Your Visit to Moscow

Ambassador MacArthur has reported that the Shah of Iran is counting upon you to keep the commitment you made in 1969, and reaffirmed in 1971, to visit Iran during your present term in office. The Shah is a proud and sensitive man; in the light of your visits to Moscow and Peking, and of your upcoming meetings with at least five other heads of state and government, I believe we are headed for serious trouble if you do not also visit Iran or make some other arrangement to meet the Shah soon.

The Shah remains apprehensive of Soviet Union long-range designs upon Iran and the Persian Gulf. He feels encircled by the Soviet penetration of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. A visit by you to Tehran or at least a meeting with the Shah would help meet an outstanding commitment, and also serve to reaffirm the importance of our interest in a strong, friendly, and independent Iran. I therefore strongly recommend that you add Tehran to your travel itinerary, for example in connection with your Moscow trip, or make some other arrangement to meet with the Shah.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 481, Presidential Trip Files, Iran Visit, [Cherokee] (Part 1). Confidential. Nixon wrote at the bottom of the memorandum: “H + K—I agree [that a visit to Iran is a serious proposition.] Right after Democratic Convention?”
  2. Kissinger advised the President that Ambassador MacArthur and Secretary Rogers both urged Nixon to make his long-awaited trip to Iran, both to assuage the Shah’s pride and to ease the Shah’s concerns over long-range Soviet objectives in the region.