221. Memorandum From the Vice Admiral of the Navy (Peet) to Secretary of Defense Laird1 2

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  • Follow-up on the President’s Talks with the Shah of Iran

1. F–14 and F–15 Aircraft

On 9 September 1972, the Shah of Iran and members of the Supreme Commander’s Staff were briefed by US Navy and US Air Force teams on the F–14 and F–15 aircraft. The Chief, ARMISH–MAAG Tehran, reports that the three hour and forty-five minute uninterrupted briefings were well received; the Shah was appreciative, and he asked many technical questions which were readily answered by the team members. The Shah also asked questions about the possible use of the AWG–9 Radar and Phoenix missile in helicopters and the P–3 reconnaissance aircraft. He is apparently interested in exploring ways to use this equipment in various roles against water-borne surface targets. In this connection, the MAAG noted the Shah is thinking of giving attack missions to the P–3 aircraft and that he stated Iran had to become an Indian Ocean power. The Shah stated that he recognizes time is required to perfect the F–14 and F–15 aircraft, and that he visualizes that his operational squadrons will be echeloned at least two years after those of the US. He said that he would make the decision as to the best type of aircraft for Iran when the time comes. In a development possibly related to the Shah’s F–14/15 plans, the Iranians have canceled the FMS case for the purchase of 36 F–5E’s, i.e. the last two squadrons. Iran now has outstanding orders for eight squadrons of F–5E’s (141 aircraft).

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2. Laser-Guided Bombs

The laser-guided bomb presentation was given at this same briefing. The Shah was particularly impressed with the laser bombs and directed immediate action to modify some of his F–4D’s as designators and to procure some bomb kits. The Iranians are considering modifying 6–12 aircraft for laser designators and may purchase around 1,500 laser bomb guidance kits. The Shah indicated he preferred to await the USAF decision on the light-weight self-contained laser designator before requesting additional systems. Specific requirements are now being refined with the MAAG and a member of the Air Force briefing team.

3. Uniformed Technicians

The joint State/Defense message, reported on 12 August 1972 as awaiting release, was dispatched on 31 August 1972, after receiving White House approval. This message supported Embassy/MAAG attempts to limit the numbers of technicians requested and to ensure that the technicians will not be used in operational roles. It further stated that the TAFT approach or a similar arrangement appears to be the most suitable method of meeting Iran’s needs. (Message is attached.)

Initial ARMISH–MAAG report on numbers of technicians required was 1,297 for CY73 with additional to be required in subsequent years. Upon further analysis by the ARMISH-MAAG and the GOI, it appears that substantially fewer military technicians may be required. Detailed requirements are currently being prepared in Iran and will be forwarded for OSD/State evaluation upon completion.

At ASD/ISA request, interested OSD offices, Military Departments, and the JCS are providing their preliminary views as to personnel, policy, legal status of forces, support requirements, and other problems that may be associated with the provision of technical assistance of this magnitude.

Ray Peet
Vice Admiral, USN
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD Files, (C) (A), FRC 330–77–0094, Iran 1972. Secret. The enclosures are not published.
  2. Peet updated Laird on the status of the items promised to the Shah, including F–14/15s, laser-guided bombs, and uniformed technicians.