76. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

The Shah—We worked out the plans for the movement of the Shah to Wilford Hall Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.2 Lloyd Cutler has gone to New York with Peter Tarnoff to present these plans to the Shah and get his concurrence.

The Group who will implement the plans in New York consists of a representative of State, Defense and the FBI. Arrangements are being made to take him from the hospital to the Marine Terminal at LaGuardia Airfield. The FBI will be in charge of that operation. The anticipated time of departure from New York will be tomorrow morning. The precise timing has been left to the implementing team who will be working out the details in New York. They will keep us informed here. In order to preserve security at Lackland, we will not indicate how many people will be coming but rather merely reserve the VIP Suite at the hospital.

Jody and Hodding have worked out a press release which will be issued at the time the flight is airborne.3 It will stress the fact that he has completed his hospitalization but needs a period of rest and recuperation, and that this will be done at a safe and secure location at the specified air base so as to provide adequate security. We will preposition a brief message to be delivered to each of the Governments in the area at the same time the announcement will be made here. This is necessary in order to prevent any misunderstanding as to what is [Page 192] taking place. We will be notifying Bruce Laingen of this fact on the Telex at the same time the message is made. That message will obviously be read immediately by the Iranian authorities.

We are also making preparations for the necessary notification to the Leadership and the Congressmen from the area plus the two Texas Senators contemporaneously with the issuance of the announcement.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, Box 14. Secret. Carter initialed “C” in the upper right corner of the memorandum.
  2. Vance met with Brown, Christopher, Newsom, Webster, Caldwell, Powell, Cutler, Hodding Carter, West, Tarnoff, and Bremer on December 1 from 3:30 until 4:30 p.m. (Memorandum for the Record, December 1; Department of State, Records of David D. Newsom, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Subject Files, 1978–1981, Lot 81D154, Briefing Book: The Shah December 1979, Vol. IV)
  3. The full text of the press statement announcing the Shah’s December 2 travel to San Antonio is in Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 2191.