238. Telegram 219119 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iran1 2


  • Enhance Plus


  • (A) Tehran 7008
  • (B) Tehran 7125
  • (C) Tehran 7176
Appreciate points you make in reftels. We have thoroughly re-examined problem and believe we have solution that will be acceptable to Shah. Solution consists of maximum possible accelerated deliveries of F–5E to Iran, commitment to sell Maverick and, if required, lease of 8 additional F–4 aircraft, and contingent lease of 8 F–4’s when circumstances might require it.
F–5E. The F–5E aircraft is in the research and development phase. First production F–5E’s will not come off line until February, 1973. All aircraft to be produced during first 9 months (Feb–Oct 73) were originally allocated to USAF operational test and evaluation (OT&E); for creation of training capability; plus limited number of aircraft for Vietnam. Since F–5E is a new aircraft, thorough OT&E is essential in order to avoid the need for substantial modification after aircraft are delivered to end-users.
In order to resolve the Shah’s problem, we have restructured allocation of initial F–5E production with a view to maintaining thorough OT&E program, limiting the creation of initial training capability to that necessary to get Iranian program launched, and to provide maximum number (all remaining) aircraft to Iranian Air Force. To supplement this, Northrop would send one (1) instructor pilot to Williams AFB (OT&E and training site) in March, 1973, so that he could be appropriately trained and ready to go to Iran in June, 1973. We would also invite Shah to send two (2) highly qualified F–5A/B instructor pilots to Williams in mid-May for same purpose. Their training would take approximately 2 1/2 months.

New delivery of F–5E aircraft will be according to following schedule: first two aircraft earmarked for Iran would be delivered to Williams for use in training one Northrop and two IIAF instructor pilots mentioned previous paragraph. These aircraft would be delivered to Williams, one each in June and July and then shipped on to Iran in October (i.e., about the time the two Iranian pilots complete training and return to Iran). We would make following aircraft deliveries to Iran:

June 1973 1 {To Williams AFB{#}
July 2 {1 to Williams AFB}
August 2
September 2
October 2 plus 2 from Williams {June/July above}
November 2
December 3
January 1974 6
February 7
March 5

Deliveries would put 32 F–5E aircraft in Iran by March, 1974. Under the original production schedule, Iran would had only 11 by March, 1974 and would not have had 32 until October, 1974. We have thus accelerated delivery schedule by 7 months. In so doing, the first aircraft to be delivered world-wide and the first squadron to be activated will be for Iran and we are giving Shah priority over all other country purchasers/recipients, including Vietnam. It is absolutely impossible to accelerate further production within time frame that is of concern to Shah. All we can do is to reallocate aircraft in production line, and that is what we have done. Shah will get all of initial production [Page 3] for USAF and Vietnam, except those essential for OT&E and training. Net effect will be to postpone training for and delivery of first F–5E squadron to Vietnam. FYI: Only other F–5E’s to be produced between February, 1973 and March, 1974 have been purchased by Saudi Arabia (i.e., 15 aircraft between November, 1973 and March, 1974). These aircraft are configured differently from those ordered for Iran. In any event, Saudi aircraft could not be reallocated to Iran for both contractual and political reasons. End FYI.

Concerning Maverick, we are prepared to sell the missile, modifications and training required to equip the planned 10 squadrons of Iranian F–4D/E aircraft. Aircraft modifications would commence in CY 1973 and first missile deliveries in spring of 1974. FYI: Our decision to sell Maverick to Iran impacts on original plans for USAF and NATO. End FYI.
We realize that full replacement for 32 F–5A’s Shah made available to USG for transfer to Vietnam will not be accomplished during CY 1973 as desired. It is both technically and physically impossible to provide 32 F–5E’s during CY 1973. To meet this problem and the others which you have singled out, we have looked for a way to provide, as indicated in para 7 of reftel (A) “offer to rent-free loan of eight to sixteen F–4’s until his F–4, F–5 inventories reach acceptable level, say, in about one year hence.” To do this the USG is prepared, if required, to lease now 8 additional F–4D aircraft until 32 F–5E’s have been delivered and to make contingent arrangements for lease of up to additional 8 on short notice if there is an actual outbreak of hositilities. Final details of immediate lease of 8 aircraft could be worked out in military channels after you have obtained agreement in principle. Costs could be worked out in military channels, with possibility of applying credits similar to that suggested for turnover of 8 F–4 now on lease to GOI (offer for which should be dropped). In any event we do not see cost exceeding about $4.0 million for the 16 month period. Contingent lease arrangement would allow for USG provision of up to 8 additional leased F–4’s under following conditions: subject to mutual consultation, and at a time external security conditions required, US would agree to lease 8 additional F–4’s to GOI which could arrive in Iran within 72 hours of US approval. Aircraft would be drawn from USAF assets which from time to time, as worked out by USAF and IIAF, would make rotational visits to Iran. Purpose of visits [Page 4] would be visible demonstration of capability and would help Shah meet perceived air defense gap and its effect on Iran’s close neighbors’ attitudes toward Iran’s air superiority position. FYI: Because of F–4 maintenance and pilot shortages in Iran, we understand that IIAF at present time may not be able to maintain and operate adequately additional F–4 aircraft. End FYI.
Hope foregoing package acceptable to Shah. We are prepared to send two (2) man State/Defense team to brief you on details of this msg if so desired.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–8 US-IRAN. Top Secret; Immediate; Eyes Only.
  2. The Department sent Farland an expanded copy of the proposed compensation package for the Shah.