“What the U.S. Has Always Wished For Iran”
CIA Drafts Official U.S. Statement For After Coup

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | September 26, 2017                               

CIA Documents on Iran, Mossadegh, 1953 Coup

In late July 1953, the CIA’s Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. requested that colleagues John Waller and Donald Wilber begin preparing an official U.S. statement to be issued after what they hoped would be the eventual overthrow of Iran’s elected Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh.

An uncredited draft statement was made on August 5th, two weeks before Operation Ajax was accomplished. The then hypothetical coup was described as the result of the will of “the Iranian people”, led by the Shah, and as a victory for Iran’s “independence”.

The reference to “the Iranian people” is noteworthy in hindsight, since the initial CIA plan was to press the Shah into dismissing Mossadegh by royal decree, an action that involved no public participation.

Alhough this proposed statement was never actually used per se, its talking points were in keeping with those made by various U.S. officials in the days and months following the coup.

The day after the coup, United Press reported: “The State Department declined official comment on the coup, but administration officials let it be known privately that they were greatly relieved to see Mossadegh ousted.”

On August 25th, the State Dept. drafted a revised statement, similar overall but referencing the new Premier, that was also never released. It pledged to respect Iranian nationalism and not offend their “extreme sensitivity” to outside intervention in their internal affairs.

Top Secret

To: Mr. Waller [John Waller]

[several words excised]

22nd July 1953

I have been asked to tell you that Mr. Roosevelt wishes you and Mr. Wilber to pursue the question of the preparation of an official American statement to follow a “successful” coup.

Top Secret

Declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on June 21, 2011.

Click here for a .pdf file of the original CIA document, dated July 22, 1953.

5 August 1953

[excised box]

Following is proposed text of State Department release:

“This situation in Iran has long been the subject of great concern to us. Mounting political and economic tensions there have apparently led the Iranian people, under the leadership of their Shah, to seek a new government. Developments in Iran are moving very rapidly and, while we are watching the situation closely, we do not yet have sufficient basis for much comment at this time. We assume from fact Shah has given his approval to the new government (or: “We are glad to note from statements by new government”) that the new government will follow a policy of maintaining Iran’s independence and promoting its economic and social well-being, which is what the U.S. has always wished for Iran. This government has long sought to assist Iran to maintain its territorial integrity, economic health and position in the community of free nations. Iran, under previous governments since the war, has received American aid. Provided the new government desires American assistance, and, as we hope, intends to work in the best interest of Iran, the U.S. expects to be able to continue to extend a helping hand and to cooperate in building Iran’s strength to resist communist subversion.”

Declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on June 27, 2011.

Click here for a .pdf file of the original CIA document, dated August 5, 1953.

• Both documents were obtained through a FOIA request by the National Security Archive at George Washington University in 2011 and released publicly on August 19, 2013.



State Department-USIA Policy
Information Statement (NEA-9)
August 25, 1953


1. The situation in Iran has long been the subject of great concern to this Government. Mounting political and economic tensions there have apparently led the Iranian people in a spontaneous movement to seek a new government under the leadership of their Shah. We, of course, are glad to learn, from statements made by General Zahedi, that the new government which he heads as Prime Minister plans to follow a policy, for Iran, of maintaining its independence and promoting its economic and social well-being. [Fazlollah Zahedi]

2. While it is still too early to predict the exact role of the U.S. Government vis-a-vis the new government of Iran, one phase of U.S. policy remains unchanged: Whether it be General Zahedi or anyone else in the role of leader of the Government of Iran, we still seek an independent Iran, not dominated by the USSR. We fully recognize the force of nationalism in Iranian affairs, and we continue to hope to influence it into constructive channels. At the same time, however, we are keeping in mind the extreme sensitivity of the Iranians toward any indication whatsoever, that we are trying to interfere in their internal affairs.

3. There has been much speculation press-wise, et cetera, regarding aid to the now government. On this matter, and in correspondence with ex-Prime Minister Mossadegh, President Eisenhower made our position quite clear: “The failure of Iran and of the United Kingdom to reach an agreement with regard to compensation has handicapped the government of the United States in its efforts to help Iran. “There is a strong feeling... Refer to paragraph 3, July 9, White House Press Release on exchange of letters).” [Refers to Eisenhower’s June 29th message rejecting Mossadegh’s request for economic aid for the second and last time]

4. The attitude of the new government toward self-help is not yet evident, nor to date has there been any form of request made to the U.S. Government for aid other than that already being received by the Iranians. [Zahedi requested aid from Eisenhower on Aug. 26th. Ten days later, the U.S. announced it was giving Iran $45 million]

• Note: Transcript is slightly incomplete. [Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

Campaign To Install Pro-Western Government In Iran | CIA document, March 1954
Campaign To Install Pro-Western Government In Iran

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Related links:

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles Hails U.S.-Iranian Friendship After 1953 Coup

“U.S. Does Not Interfere In Iranian Internal Affairs” (1952 State Department Memo)

White House Press Secretary Responds To Question of Apology For 1953 Iran Coup

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