Washington, July 15, 1969, 2048Z
- Following is uncleared memcon, FYI only, NOFORN, and subject to revision upon review:
- Iranian Ambassador Ansary called on Secretary July 14 after returning from Tehran consultations previous day. Secretary began by saying President sincerely regretted not being able stop in Tehran during forthcoming trip, noting Shah would be visiting Washington in October. Furthermore, President hoped visit Iran next year.
- Ansary said Shah dismayed and alarmed about developments in Middle East, specifically (a) recognition of East Germany by Syria, Iraq and UAR, and (b) Soviet shipment of four squadrons of aircraft and ships to Iraq. Despite these uncertainties and instability on Arab side of Persian Gulf, GOI still had no reply from USG to request for additional pilot training in US. Ansary said GOI had determined it needs train 25 pilots formerly trained in Pakistan every year in US, in addition to the 75 per year USG has promised to train. Also [Page 2] PEACE RUBY radar net still “in air.” If these two items unresolved, Shah had said IIAF would be “deaf and blind.”
- Secretary said problem is that with Vietnam and many requests by other countries for pilot training he was not sure extra capacity was available. Country Director Eliot pointed out that when USG agreed provide training for 75 pilots in 1972 and 1973 and for 53 pilots in 1974, it had taken into consideration that the 25 Iranian pilots being trained in Pakistan would cease such training in October 1968. Numbers required by Iran had been worked out between Chief ARMISH/MAAG and Gen. Khatami and Eliot recommended that Shah’s request for 100 pilots per year be urgently discussed in same forum. Secretary agreed. Comment: Instructions follow.
- Ansary said Shah also displeased that US Ambassador, a few months ago, said US technicians could not go to western Iranian airfields during Shatt crisis and function there. Eliot explained that IIAF General Khatami had raised hypothetical question with Chief Armish/MAAG who stated subject was one requiring Ambassador’s [Page 3] and Washington’s instructions. After Ambassador discussed subject with Khatami, latter withdrew his question. Matter was never referred to Washington for decision. Secretary asked Ansary to ensure Shah aware that asking such hypothetical questions could well sour Iran’s good relations with the Congress. If USG suggested it might get involved in local conflict in Iran—even if it does not intend to—serious Congressional problems could be raised for Iran. Everyone would immediately put situation into a Vietnam analogy. Ansary said that since USG does not have relations with Iraq and does have “close relations” with Iran, Shah naturally expected USG generally favor Iran. “What is use of friendship if it is not good when chips are down?” In response Secretary’s question whether Iran really worried about Iraq since Iran much stronger, Ansary could not say what countries together with Iraq would be stronger than Iran. However he implied Iran worried that if Iraq has more planes than its personnel can pilot and service, Soviet pilots and ground crews might become involved. Secretary said our analysis is that Soviets are so concerned with Chicoms they do not [Page 4] wish serious trouble in Middle East. We see Soviet remarks about possible Asian security pact also in context of Soviet concern re Chicoms.
- Ansary then said Shah had mentioned to Secretary during latter’s visit to Iran that GOI wanted to manufacture its own conventional arms, but USG had taken no action. Eliot pointed out that DOD team had gone to Iran to study co-production, had only recently returned, and was working to follow up results of its trip. Ansary appeared unaware this visit.
- Finally Ansary said he was bringing these items to the attention of the Department since Shah will want discuss them with President during his visit in October. He asked that President be informed about the subjects discussed and was assured that he would be.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 IRAN. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE. Drafted by McClelland and approved by Eliot.↩
- In discussions with Secretary Rogers, Ambassador Ansary requested an increase in pilot training slots, and also conveyed the Shah’s displeasure that U.S. technicians had not been allowed to go to western Iranian airfields during the recent Shatt al-Arab crisis with Iraq.↩