210. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2

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  • Follow-up on Military Equipment Commitment to the Shah of Iran

During your talks with the Shah on May 30–31, you made the following specific commitments:

The US is willing in principle to sell F–14 and F–15 aircraft to Iran as soon as we are satisfied as to their operational effectiveness.
The US is prepared to provide laser-guided bombs.
The US will assign in Iran an increased number of uniformed military technicians from the US services to work with the Iranian services.

The Defense Department was asked to come up with a course of action for following up on these promises which would take account of the state of availability and testing on our side and the desirability of following up as promptly as possible with the Shah. Based on their recommendations, the following course of action on each item is recommended:

F–14 and F–15 aircraft. Briefings would be offered to Iran by service teams on the capabilities of these aircraft and on training and logistics requirements associated with them. In order to allow sufficient grounds for comparison of the two aircraft initial briefings will be supplemented by appropriately spaced progress reports by service teams as each aircraft moves toward the operationally effective stage. The Defense Department recommends that “any Iranian decision should be delayed until adequate operational experience has been acquired on both aircraft.” The F–14 will be in operational units in early 1973, but the F–15 not until mid-1975, so the Defense position would delay decision until 1975. I would modify that to leave the decision to the Iranians in the light of the briefings that are provided with the understanding that we will want to be confident of the operational soundness of any plane we sell.
Laser-guided bombs. Briefings would be offered soon by a US Air Force team. Weapons deliveries could commence seven months after those briefings if the Iranians wish to place a formal order.
Uniformed technicians. These are the so-called “blue-suiters” the Shah asked for—the technicians from our uniformed services to work with the Iranian military. The Defense Department says that it will work out detailed requirements with our military advisory group in Iran and then work out the composition of teams, terms of reference and costs with the Iranians.

RECOMMENDATION: That you approve the attached decision memorandum which reflects the course of action described above.

Approve K for RN Other__________

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 602, Country Files, Middle East, Iran, Vol. IV, 9/1/71–4/73. Secret. Sent for action. Kissinger approved for the President. The document date is either July 5 or after, since the Department of Defense memorandum to which Kissinger refers (not published) was sent on that date. The decision memorandum, which was approved by Kissinger for Nixon, is not published.
  2. Reminding the President of his promises to the Shah of military equipment, Kissinger forwarded the Defense Department’s suggestions for fulfilling them.