228. Telegram 6417 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]

Subj:

  • Enhance Plus

Ref:

  • State 195250
1.
This message offers suggestions for our approach to Shah should we decide ask for additional F–5A’s.
2.
Shah’s prompt response to our request for transfer of 32 F–5A’s may be attributed to his sense of close relationship with the President and value he attaches to this relationship and also to his desire to assist in bringing end to war in SEA. If we ask him to release additional F–5A’s, we will be asking him make very difficult decision, especially in context rational buildup of his own forces which we have been urging on him and with which release of additional F–5A’s will interfere. On balance, we believe there is reasonable liklihood he will respond positively, albeit reluctantly. from point of view of role we are playing in advising IIAF, it our judgement that 32 F–5A’s can be spared from Iranian Air Force, but loss of another 16 would hurt.
3.

If additional aircraft needed, our current views after more careful study of contingency proposals in our previous message are following:

We recommend that Ambassador be authorized to present request as personal message for the President and to describe it as of highest importance to our efforts reach settlement in SVN. As he told Ambassador during first discussion, Shah wants replacement aircraft rather than credit towards those aircraft. He has also recently laid stress on urgent need for best possible assistance in achieving qualitative improvements in Iranian armed forces. It would be useful, if Ambassador could outline fairly concretely what we are prepared to do in both [Page 2]regards. In order of priority we feel Shah’s interests would include all of following:

(A)
Acceleration in delivery of F–5E’s. Start of deliveries in April 1973 would be ideal from point of view of US interests here in helping GOI build effective force and from point of view Iranian ability to absorb new aircraft. Please indicate earliest advanced delivery date possible for these planes.
(B)
Rapid approval and assignment of temporary teams of US military technicians which Shah [garble] requested for three services. We understand DOD task force is now completing study of this request and that group is planning to visit Tehran for further discussions. As tangible evidence our reciprocal willingness to be helpful, we recommend Ambassador be authorized to inform Shah joint State/DOD team will arrive in Iran for technical discussions on his request within two weeks, and that we will make every effort to meet his goals for arrival of technicians.
(C)
Air Force training. Iranians are keenly interested in increasing number of spaces available to them in two schools. We recommend Iranian quota at Air Command and Staff School be increased from one to six officers per session. Secondly, Iranians would welcome enlarged quota for F–5E instructor training at Williams Field. Appreciate advice whether these two suggestions are feasible.

4.
Transfer operations are tenatively slated for air base remote from Tehran and we are reasonably certain there will be no press leakage from this country. We are less sure of other nations involved this project. Would appreciate contingency press guidance we may supply to GOI should story break unexpectedly.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–8 US-IRAN. Top Secret; Nodis; Flash; Cherokee. Passed to Saigon.
  2. The Ambassador sent suggestions for another approach to the Shah should more of his F–5As be needed in Vietnam.