48. Letter From President Nixon to the Shah of Iran1 2

Your Imperial Majesty:

Your letter was most welcome, not only because it is helpful to have your views but also because I appreciate the opportunity to exchange thoughts with you from time to time. This is indeed a time of uncertainty in your part of the world—a condition that makes even more difficult your task of achieving for Iran both the security and the well-being and prosperity you are striving to establish. As you know, your thoughts and mine coincide at many points on this subject, and a number of the positions I expressed during my Asian trip last summer—as you have noted-would apply to the problems in your region as well.

In this connection, you may be assured of my firm intention to maintain our cooperation with you to insure Iran’s continuing capacity for defense. I am pleased that our respective defense experts are in constant touch. Careful attention is being given to the two specific subjects you mention. I am happy to say that Secretary Laird, after review of our worldwide requirements, is able to increase the number of Air Force technicians in Iran. The problem of pilot training-involving as it does our own requirements and commitments to NATO countries as well as to good friends like Iran—has taken a little longer than was expected.

We place great importance, as you do, on the integrity and stability of Saudi Arabia. The news of increasing cooperation between you and His Majesty King Faisal is welcome, for there is no question that cooperation among the states around the Persian Gulf is in our mutual interest and in the interests of the free world. We are reassured by the efforts you are making to bring this about.

On the broader Middle Eastern front, you will be aware of the steady increase in military activity and the concerns that the Soviet Union has expressed. Our policy remains as I [Page 2] described it to you. We are prepared to do what we can to help restore observance of the cease-fire and to help create a framework for negotiation. But we cannot do this in the absence of a will to peace on the part of both sides in the area. We have been disappointed by the unconstructive Soviet attitude.

I am especially grateful for your words in support of my efforts at resolving the Viet-Nam conflict, and for your shared hope that our policy will result in a just and speedy conclusion of the war. Iran’s own humanitarian efforts in Viet-Nam have been helpful to that country and encouraging to those other nations that share the burden of the war. There will be a continuing need for civilian assistance in Viet-Nam, and we hope that Iran will be among those providing it.

Iran’s desire to increase its oil revenues is clearly understood. As promised when you were here, we have carefully examined the various ways in which liftings from Iran might be increased. There are, as you know, limits on what we as a government can do, and I cannot report any breakthroughs at this point. However, we will continue to work with your officials to see whether there are ways in which we could help.

Mrs. Nixon shares with me still the pleasant recollection of your October visit to Washington and she joins me in sending to you and Her Imperial Majesty our best wishes for your personal happiness and the well-being of your nation.

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence, 1969–1974, Iran. No classification marking. In his December 17 letter, the Shah had queried Nixon on the above items, pledging cooperation with Saudi Arabia in Gulf defense but warning that Iraq was becoming “an armed camp.” (Ibid.)
  2. Nixon replied favorably to the Shah’s request for more Air Force technicians, but said he could not yet commit himself to more pilot training or the Shah’s oil proposal.