231. Telegram 6520 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1 2

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  • State 196855
Owing to urgency of my request, Shah agreed receive me at Niavaran Palace at 1500 October 31. Our conversation lasted 30 minutes.
Shah was deeply appreciative of expression of gratitude and kind remarks which I conveyed from White House and Embassy for his prompt response to our first request, and for IIAF’s unstinting cooperation in working with disassembly crews. Observing that problem of Vietnam settlement involved not only US but entire free world, he said Iran wanted to contribute as much as possible to that goal despite apparent problems created by Hanoi over date of settlement signing.
Shah commented that he had two concerns in transferring additional F–5s to Vietnam. First he was worried about his own air space. He was sure that Iraqi intelligence through individual or electronic means would soon know that F–5s had left Iran. Secondly, he was quote seriously concerned unquote because transfer of the aircraft would disrupt his training program and entire concept of IIAF which was being constructed with US assistance and backing. With transfer of F–5As, his pilots would be left with little to do.
Shah said he was perfectly willing to supply up to 16 additional planes. However, before doing so, he wished to know when and with what aircraft they would be replaced. He speculated that if the Vietnam war were to be over soon, it might be that more F–4s would become available. Shah said Iran would accept F–4s as replacement for F–5s on ration to be worked out later. Quote Let us say two F–5s for one F–4 unquote.
At end of conversation, Shah asked that we let him know as soon as possible how we were prepared to supply his aircraft needs, adding that he was prepared to cooperate to fullest extent possible.
During course of conversation, I left piece of paper listing following points:
Delivery of F–5Es can be advanced to August 1973. Original delivery was set for November 1973.
Joint State/DOD team will visit Iran within next two to three weeks to discuss with Embassy and MAAG arrangements for Iran’s requested buildup in US military technicians for three services.
White House has assured us Iran’s military support needs will be given “most expeditious handling.”
Iranian Air Force quota at Air Command and Staff School will be increased from one to six officers per session.
All Iranian F–5E instructor training requirements will be satisfied at Williams Air Force Base.
If Iran wishes, we are prepared to credit presently leased eight F–4Es to Iran’s total buy of those aircraft. However, leased planes do not have wing slats ordered by IIAF on new F–4Es.
It is clear that during first round of discussion of this subject, Shah acted on faith in agreeing to our request. Now that we are pressing hard on his air force by requesting additional aircraft, he naturally wishes know how his own security requirements will be met. In order that he release additional aircraft, we will have to offer him something more attractive in the way of early F–5E or F–4E deliveries than we have been authorized to date. Transferring eight leased F–4s should not be construed as reduction in total number of F–4Es Iran has ordered.
Believe we should make every effort to reciprocate Shah’s generous offer with equally generous credit for transferred aircraft and special measures to deliver replacement aircraft as early as possible.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–8 US-IRAN. Top Secret; Flash; Nodis. Passed to Saigon.
  2. The Ambassador attempted to assuage the Shah’s security concerns over the U.S. request for additional F–5A aircraft.