224. Telegram 192358 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran1 2

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  • Enhance Plus
Ambassador should request immediate appointment with Shah and indicate you are seeking, on instructions from President, Iranian cooperation on matter of highest urgency and importance which may materially advance prospects for early peaceful settlement in Southeast Asia.
Specific US request is that Shah agree to turn over to US for shipment to Vietnam, entire Iranian force (90 aircraft) of F–5As for immediate disassembly and delivery to Vietnam by fastest possible US carriers (probably C–5As).
US will supplement to extent necessary personnel required to disassemble aircraft for onward shipment. US will be prepared to discuss with GOI on very urgent basis arrangements to credit GOI with appropriate amounts in repayment to be used against further aircraft purchases.
US also approaching certain other countries with F–5As in similar manner at highest level.
We recognize unprecedented nature this request, which is done only for reasons of unparalled importance.
We need answer by tomorrow.
You should stress to Shah extreme importance keeping this matter in closest possible hold basis, although we recognize publicity inevitable after execution begins.
FYI Now is time we need to cash in credit we have built up with Iranians. We cannot guarantee that Vietnam settlement will be assured by this move, but without it prospects are substantially dimmer. End FYI
Tehran also repeat response to Saigon.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–8 US-IRAN. Top Secret; Flash. Sent Immediate to Saigon.
  2. The Department instructed the Ambassador, on the President’s behalf, to request that Iran turn over its entire force of 90 F–5As for immediate delivery to Vietnam.