206. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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For HAK—Iranian Concern over US Bahrain Facility: The Iranian Foreign Minister has expressed concern over recent Congressional actions on US arrangements for our naval force at Bahrain.

As you know, Senator Case is pressing an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act demanding that the Azores and Bahrain facilities, now under executive agreements, be submitted to the Senate as treaties. Each time there is a Congressional step on this, it receives media coverage and arouses both Iranian and Bahraini concern. A few days ago, the Senate voted down efforts by Sparkman to delete the amendment from the bill, and it now goes to the House. There is still some chance it may never get through.

The Iranian Foreign Minister told Ambassador Farland that Iran is concerned that if the Bahrain executive agreement ever gets transformed into a bilateral treaty between the US and Bahrain this would provide justification for the Soviets to formalize a similar naval presence in Iraq. The Foreign Minister expressed the hope we are taking the right tack with Congress in making clear the Bahraini arrangement is not a new one. He added that Iran values the MIDEASTFOR presence and hopes it will continue as long as it can do so under present arrangements.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1282, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations, Iran 6/1/72–9/30/72. Confidential. Saunders submitted the memorandum to Kissinger for possible submission in the President’s Saturday Briefing of June 24. Attached, but not published, was telegram 3780 from Tehran, June 22.
  2. The Iranian Foreign Minister had been alarmed by reports that a Congressman was recommending that the executive agreements governing the Azores and Bahrain naval facilities be replaced by treaties.