39. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Your Appointment with Iranian Ambassador Afshar

You will recall meeting Ambassador Afshar during the Shah’s visit. A biographic sketch is attached.

The Ambassador has asked to see you to deliver a message from the Shah. We have no idea what this may be about, but it is characteristic of the Shah to follow up his meetings with our President by reporting any backsliding that he may see on what he regards as the President’s commitments.

In this case, you can well imagine that Ambassador MacArthur and the State Department are taking a more cautious line on the oil import policy questions because they are not aware of exactly how forthcoming the President was.

Two things have been done since the Shah’s visit:

Peter Flanigan agreed to talk with the Chairman of the Board at Esso to see whether any of the consortium members would be able to increase their offtake from Iran.
He and I met with Secretary Shultz to tell him what the President had said to the Shah so that he could take account of it in his oil import policy review. Through Fred Bergsten I have submitted a general paper for the Cabinet Task Force Staff providing a possible policy rationale for an import quota for Iran and a couple of other free countries. This, of course, was done without any reference to the President’s talk with the Shah and is designed simply to create an option for Secretary Shultz to deal with against the background of his special knowledge of the President’s promise.
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Talking Points:

You are delighted that the Shah’s visit was such a success.
You understand the Ambassador has a message which he would like to deliver.
If the message deals with oil import questions, you hope that the Ambassador and His Majesty will understand that we have to work our way through some very elaborate governmental machinery before we can make any commitments. This process is underway and you have made every effort to assure that the President’s warm feeling for Iran is being taken account of.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 601, Country Files, Middle East, Iran, Vol. 1, 1/20/69–5/31/70. Confidential. Sent for information. The attachment is not published. No record of the meeting with Kissinger was found.
  2. Prior to Kissinger’s meeting with Iranian Ambassador Afshar, Saunders provided him with an update on the status of Tehran’s oil quota plan.