Should We Interfere More?

Loy Henderson on Elections In Iran (Jan. 1954)

The Mossadegh Project | October 17, 2018                    

788.00/1–1854: Telegram

No. 409

The Ambassador in Iran (Henderson) to the Department of State [Loy W. Henderson to State Dept.]

TEHRAN, January 18, 1954—6 p.m.


Ambassador Loy W. Henderson 1581. Limited distribution. We also have become more and more concerned re election developments (Deptel 1514)1. We have been hoping that [the] situation would right itself as sometimes happens in Iran without [the] necessity [of] action by ourselves. It might be difficult [to] extricate ourselves from [an] insidious political morass if we once [again] begin [to] interfere in Iranian internal affairs, particularly in such [an] intricate and delicate matter as elections. Nevertheless since it has become clear complete aloofness on our part might result not only in another impotent Majlis [Parliament] but in disintegration of [the] present government, we have already made certain moves despite [the] risks involved and intend [to] go even further if we find [a] way open.

2. Through appropriate US channels I sent [a] friendly message [to the] Prime Minister [Fazlollah Zahedi] yesterday stressing our concern [about the] way things [are] going. These channels in discussing [the] details found him cooperative. I also presented [the] problem quite frankly yesterday morning to Ala [Court Minister Hossein Ala] who [is] undertaking work from [the] court end to eliminate some more unfortunate features. We feel somewhat encouraged at [the] Prime Minister’s cooperative attitude but [are] worried at [the] disorganized and even haphazard way in which elections are apparently being run....


[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X (1989).

1 “In telegram 1514, Jan. 14, the Department informed Henderson of its concern with the arrangements for the forthcoming elections in Iran, especially the particularly poor caliber of candidates supported by Zahedi and the Shah. (788.00/1–1454)” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian


Related links:

Loy Henderson on Iran Oil Consortium Details (May 17, 1954 Cable)

American Policy in the Middle East During 1953 | Iran (Jan. 1954 Speech)

Sec. Dulles Congratulates Abdollah Entezam, Premier Zahedi (Aug. 5, 1954)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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