27. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2
- Further Background for Shah Visit
Although we have suggested that the President try to steer clear of details of the Shah’s military and oil proposals, the Shah has a way of pressing hard for answers. If the going gets heavy, the President may ask you on the spot what can be done or ask you to talk with Secretary Laird. For that reason, you may want to see or refresh your memory on the attached (though both are covered generally in the briefing book):
- Secretary Rogers has
written Secretary Laird
(Tab A) urging him to be as positive as possible on three
Iranian military requests. Secretary Laird has practical problems with each:
- USAF technicians to train Iranians in the maintenance of F–4’s. Secretary Laird is concerned about deepening the involvement of US military personnel in Iran. He would prefer that the Shah hire civilian American technicians. For instance, when Iran and Iraq were at odds last summer, some of our technicians were asked to move to a forward base. Fortunately, the crisis ended before they had to move but Laird is concerned about the implications of that sort of involvement.
- Iranian pilot training. The Shah will probably press to increase the level of pilot training in the US. While this makes sense in the abstract, Secretary Laird would either have to take away training slots from some other friendly country—Iran already has more than half of those allotted for world-wide pilot training and we have applications we cannot fill from Italy, Norway, Denmark, Morocco—or he would have to go to the Congress for more money to increase this program.
- In-country production. The Shah is anxious to have us help increase Iranian industrial capability to overhaul armored vehicles. Defense is happy to help but generally wants Iran to work out details with private US companies the Iranians would like Defense to negotiate for them. This puts Defense in the position of choosing between US firms for foreign business.
- The Shah’s oil requests. You have seen the material in the briefing books on this problem. You asked also, however, to see again the memo I did for you after Reza Fallah called on you in August. At Tab B is a copy of letter your letter to Dr. Fallah saying that his proposals would be handled by the Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Policy. Also there is a slightly fuller explanation of the Iranian proposals but you have already seen much of this in the briefing material.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 920, VIP Visits, Shah, Washington, 10/21–10/23/69. Tab A is Document 28. Tab B is not published. A handwritten notation on the source text reads: “Back from HAK, October 22, 1969.”↩
- Prior to the Shah’s visit, Saunders reviewed the debate between the Departments of State and Defense over whether to accommodate Iranian military demands.↩