188. Telegram 2641 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]

NEA/IRN for Ambassador Farland


  • President’s Visit to Iran: Importance of Iran to US


  • A) Tehran 2440 B) Tehran 2604 C) Tehran 2642

This is sixth and last in series messages on President’s visit to Iran foreseen in ref A.

Ref B and C, outlining Shah’s views on wide variety of domestic and international issues, were designed to assist Department as it prepares recommendations on subjects which may come up during President’s visit and private talks with Shah.

In addition to positions President will take on specific issues, we believe President’s posture in Iran—both in public and in private—should take into account and, when appropriate, explicitly stress three principal themes outlined below which, in our view, sum up importance of Iran to US.

A. Iran is success story among developing countries. From 1947 until 1968, USG gambled in Iran by making sizeable investment of USG resources (close to $900 million in grant military assistance: some $600 million in various forms economic aid). That gamble has paid off handsomely—probably more so than in any other developing country which benefited [Page 2]from similar US investment:

Economic assistance ended when Iran became aid graduate in late 1967: and only remaining military aid is small MAP grant ($960,000 FY 1972, $400,000 FY 1973), devoted to support of Military Advisory Mission and training of Iranians in U.S.
Indices of progress Iran has made in utilizing USG (and other foreign) aid are impressive and in many cases unique among developing countries: (a) economic growth rate of over BJP percent for more than past five years, with 12 to 13 percent growth rate expected current year—thus outstripping even Japanese growth rate: (b) both literacy rate and per capita income have doubled over past decade: (c) Iran has completed succesful land reform program begun in 1962: (d) Iran has enjoyed remarkable political stability in past decade: present Prime Minister now entering unprecedented eighth year in office and there have been no serious challenges to stability or threats to regime during same time: and serious disintegrating elements within country (e.g. dissatisfied minorities and rebellious tribes or religious elements) have been essentially things of history since early 1960’s.
Not only are prospects very good for continued growth and stability, but Iran is now virtually paying its own way in all fields (i.e. making no demands upon USG resources). There is no reason to believe this situation will change.

B. Iran is friend of US

Lack of historical US designs on Iran or US opposition to Iran’s vital interests has meant US is not burdened with residue of historical ill will or antipathy.
On contrary, US role in 1945–56 in helping Iran fend off Soviet efforts dismember Iran plus aid given up to 1968, which helped Iran reach stage of [Page 3]economic takeover and military modernization, has left us with reservoir of gratitude and goodwill among Iranian leadership and people.
This has been significantly supplemented two facts: (a) large segments of Iranian leadership (both in and out of establishment) have been trained or educated in US: and (b) US still remains choice of largest number of Iranian students who go abroad for study.
The current bases of Iran-US friendship are strong: there are no serious conflicts of interest between us, our interests and goals in region are congenial, and Iran looks upon us as its best and most trustworthy friend. Benefits of Iran-US friendship have been and remain tangible and substantial: (a) Iran provides us with irreplaceable intelligence facilities vital to US security interests; (b) Iran also provides us (and West) with only secure air corridor between European NATO and Southeast Asia: (c) in economic sphere, Iran is playing moderating role in vital oil matters, contributes directly to US balance of payments, and provides stable and friendly climate for US investment: (d) in diplomatic sphere Iran has been willing serve as channel of communication for US ideas and advice (e.g. on Arab-Israel dispute and developments in Pakistan) and has given full and complete cooperation in our international narcotics efforts.

C. Iran is responsible and moderate regional power in area of vital importance to US and West.

Iran is only country in region with both will and ability to play role of leadership in protecting security of Persian Gulf—area which is now of vital importance as source of oil to US allies in Pacific and Atlantic (Japan and European NATO respectively receive 90 percent and 56 percent of oil from Gulf) and which promises to become important [Page 4]source of oil for US itself within next 10 to 15 years.
Iran’s goals its toward its neighbors, including vital Gulf region, are generally congenial with US interests and Iran has no ties, commitments or disputes with other countries in region which which likely to lead to conflict of interest with US.
Finally, Iran is only friendly, stable and responsible country in area between Southeast Asia and European NATO which is likely to serve US interests in the future—including efforts to help offset further moves by Soviets to reinforce their position of influence in Middle East, Gulf and South Asia without making demands on USG resources. This is unique prospect when compared with other countries in area—India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and friendly Arab countries.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/NIXON. Secret; Exdis.
  2. In the last of a series of telegrams prior to the President’s visit, the Embassy offered an assessment of Iran’s importance to the United States.