137. Paper Prepared by the National Security Council Staff1


1.) The safe and immediate departure from Iran of all US employees of the Embassy in Tehran and other Americans held hostage is essential to a resolution of other issues.

2.) The US understands and sympathizes with the grievances felt by many Iranian citizens concerning the practices of the former regime. The US is prepared to work out in advance firm understandings on a forum in which those grievances may subsequently be aired, so that the hostages could be released with confidence that those grievances will be heard in an appropriate forum after the release has taken place. The US will not concur in any hearing that involves the hostages. The US is prepared to cooperate in seeking through the auspices of the UN to establish such a forum or commission to hear Iran’s grievances and to produce a report on them. The USG will cooperate with such a group in accordance with its laws, international law and the Charter of the UN.

3.) The US Government will facilitate any legal action brought by the Government of Iran in courts of the United States to account for assets within the custody or control of the former Shah that may be judged to belong to the national treasury of Iran by advising the courts, and other interested parties, that the US Government recognizes the right of the Government of Iran to bring such claims before the courts and to request the courts’ assistance in obtaining information about such assets from financial institutions and other parties.

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4.) Once the hostages are safely released, the US is prepared to lift the freeze of Iranian assets and to facilitate normal commercial relations between the two countries, on the understanding that Iran will meet its financial obligations to US nationals and that the arrangements to be worked out will protect the legitimate interests of US banks and other claimants. The US is prepared to appoint members of a working group to reach agreement on those arrangements.

5.) The United States is prepared to appoint a representative to discuss with Iranian representatives the current threat posed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and to recommend to their government steps that the US and Iran might take in order to enhance the security of Iran, including the resumption of the supply of military spare parts by the United States to Iran.

6.) The US Administration is prepared to make a statement at an appropriate moment that it understands the grievances felt by the people of Iran, and that it respects the integrity of Iran, and the right of the people of Iran to choose their own form of government. The United States Government recognizes the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the legal government of Iran. The US reaffirms that the people of Iran have the right to determine their own form of government.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Box 31, Subject File, Iran [Retained] 1/80. Secret. In the upper right corner of the paper, an unknown hand wrote: “Approved by President and Secretary after their review of column 4 of the spread sheet. Given to Waldheim 1/7 and sent to London to be faxed to Sadiq al-Mahdi.” For the spreadsheet, see footnotes 2, 3, and 5, Document 136.