42. Telegram 4833 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1 2

Subj:

  • Shah’s Views on Iran’s Military Requirements
1.
During my meeting with Shah last evening he observed with some feeling, after our discussion of Iran’s military requests, that in past we had sometimes shown a disposition to tell him that Iran did not need this or that for its own defense. Iran was located in a most unstable part of the world, and had neighbors who were trying to topple moderate regimes in the Middle East and some radical regimes even had territorial ambitions. If the US were willing to give an iron-clad guarantee to come to Iran’s assistance, we might have right to express view that Iran did not need this or that. However, we were not in such a position and indeed doubted it would be wise to have such a guarantee even if we could give it since he thought time had passed when great powers could intervene in ME and Asia. In light of this he thought we should recognize Iran must decide what its own defense requirements are since its security and independence are at stake.
2.
He said Iran had no territorial or other ambitions against its neighbors and while he did not think Soviets would use overt military force against Iran, Soviets have never renounced their goal to see Communism triumph in the world. Furtherfore, their naval visits and activities in Persian Gulf area and their military strengthening of the radical Arab regimes in Iraq, Syria and Egypt was clear evidence of Soviet support of efforts of these radical regimes to topple more moderate regimes of their neighbors. He hoped and prayed that Saudi and Kuwati regimes would be able to withstand [Page 2]pressure from radicals but in any event Iran must be prepared to stand alone if necessary in defending itself. Furthermore, if Iran were strong the radical Arab states would be less tempted to undertake actions which could lead to hostilities.
MacArthur
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–8 US-IRAN. Secret; Exdis. A handwritten note on the White House copy of this telegram reads: “Att: Saunders-Kissinger Memo, 11/28/69, Subj: President’s Saturday Briefing.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1236, Harold Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations, Folder Iran, 1/20/69–12/31/69)
  2. The Ambassador informed the Department that the Shah was aggrieved at the U.S. tendency to suggest that some of his military requests were superfluous, since Iran’s security and independence were at stake.