193. Telegram 2890 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1 2

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  • President’s Visit—Acquisitions for IIAF on Shah’s Mind


  • ARMISH/MAAG dtg 171031Z May 72
As Washington aware, Shah has had long-time and oft-repeated determination to strengthen IIAF by acquisition of additional weapons systems and reinforcement of present aircraft strength. This determination has been intensified by Pakistan’s defeat and dismemberment resulting from Indo-Pak war, grave uncertainties re future stability of West Pakistan, and growth of Soviet influence in India and Indian Ocean—all of which have forced Shah to start planning, really for first time in Iran’s post WW II history, for armed forces which have capability to face dangers from eastern and southern borders, as well as from western frontier.
Shah’s interest in such acquisitions has now jelled into three formal requests which General Toufanian (Deputy Min of War for Armaments) has recently sent to ARMISH/MAAG. These requests (reported separately in reftel) boil down to (a) request to purchase three squadrons of F–15 aircraft; (b) request to purchase unspecified number of laser-guided bombs, and (c) request for cost information on possible acquisition of two additional squadrons of F–4E aircraft and two additional squadrons of F–5E aircraft.
It seems clear that Shah instructed Toufanian to get these formal requests on table before President’s visit mainly to ensure President fully aware of Shah’s acquisition plans and also in expectation or hope President will be able to inform Shah above requests will be met by USG subject in case of F–15s to caveats of (a) successful testing and (b) production line schedule (and presumably agreement on price).
We, of course, recognize difficulty there may be for President to give definitive reply to him on first two requests. We consider it very important, however, that President be as responsive as possible.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/NIXON. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to the Department of Defense and USCINCEUR
  2. The new Ambassador, Joseph S. Farland, provided the Department with a list of the Shah’s latest requests for his airforce.