204. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2[Page 1]
- Guidance for Follow-up on Shah-President Talks
When we were in Tehran, you agreed that it would be desirable to record as instructions for the bureaucracy those specific commitments which the President made to the Shah on provision of military equipment so we can establish the basis for follow-up. A memorandum is attached [Tab A] for this purpose.
In reading my formulation, you will want to bear in mind (a) the practical limitations which we face in providing some of this equipment and (b) the rather free interpretation the Shah is making of the President’s promises [Tab B]. In my memo, I have tried to convey the President’s commitment while giving Defense latitude to deal with some of its problems. Specifically:
- On the F–14 and F–15 aircraft, Defense feels our own units should have preference on delivery and also wants to avoid what happened when we committed the F–111 to Australia before full operational testing. I should think we could handle this, having committed ourselves in principle, by keeping the Shah posted at each major milestone in the testing and production so we can agree on the time when it would be appropriate for Iran to place its order.
- On the laser-guided bombs, the Shah feels the President promised to provide “all available sophisticated weapons short of the atomic bomb.” The laser-guided bombs, of course, represent very advanced technology which we would not want compromised. In any case, our forces in Southeast Asia are using our full production at the moment. Defense may come back with one of two responses: either a timetable for delivery after our Vietnam needs have peaked or the suggestion to provide “smart bombs” short of the laser-guided bombs until they are available.
- On the “blue-suiters,” the Shah is saying that the President promised “any number that is needed in Iran"—this, in the context of the Shah’s remark that the Soviets have 10–20,000 technicians in Egypt. The Pentagon will have to find a way to cope with a legislative limit on the numbers of such people that we have stationed overseas. It may be possible to deal with them outside the normal MAAG framework, but as you know the provision of “advisers” has a sticky history with the Congress.
The memo at Tab A asks the Pentagon, coordinating with State, to come back by June 30 with a timetable and method for carrying out these commitments.
Two other questions relating to follow-up:
- —Was there any discussion of our Persian Gulf naval force and
did the President promise to
- —Did the Shah urge the US to take more Iranian oil?
Recommendation: That you sign the memorandum at Tab A if you feel it captures the main elements in the President’s commitment.[Page 3]
- Source: Library of Congress, Kissinger Papers, Box CL–152, Iran Chronological File. Secret. Sent for action. Tab A is published as Document 205.↩
- Saunders offered Kissinger a record of the specific commitments for military hardware that Nixon had made to the Shah while in Tehran, and the Shah’s interpretation of those pledges.↩