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The Life and Times of the Shah$

Gholam RezaAfkhami

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520253285

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520253285.001.0001

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(p.602) Appendix 3 U.S. Ambassadors To Iran 1941–1979

(p.602) Appendix 3 U.S. Ambassadors To Iran 1941–1979

The Life and Times of the Shah
University of California Press

LOUIS G. DREYFUS (18 December 1940–12 December 1943). Dreyfus served in Iran during the Allied occupation. He and his wife were much admired, especially for Mrs. Dreyfus’s charity work. He was removed under British and Soviet pressure.

LELAND B. MORRIS (21 August 1944–20 May 1945). Morris had been ambassador to Germany when Germany declared war on 11 December 1941. During his stay in Iran, Reza Shah died in exile, and the Soviets began pressuring Iran for oil.

WALLACE S. MURRAY (5 June 1945–18 April 1946). Murray was ill during most of his tenure and served with little effect.

GEORGE V. ALLEN (11 May 1946–17 February 1948). Allen served during the Azerbaijan crisis, a crucial period for Iran and the region as the Cold War was taking shape. He told the shah that the United States would not go to war with the Soviet Union over Iran but Iran could and should take advantage of the Truman Doctrine. Allen’s unpublished manuscript detailing his service in Iran is held by the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.

JOHN C. WILEY (6 Apri l 1948–18 June 1950). Wiley had been ambassador to Colombia (1944–47) and Portugal (1947–48) before he was posted to Iran. During his stay in Iran, the shah escaped an attempt on his life (4 February 1949); a Constitutional Assembly gave the shah new power to dissolve the National Consultative Assembly, or Majlis, and the Senate (8 May 1949); a series of preliminary oil negotiations known as Gass-Golshaiyan was launched; Court Minister Abdolhossein Hazhir was assassinated (4 November 1949); and the first Senate and the Sixteenth Majlis, one of the most tumultuous assemblies in Iranian history, were convened (9 February 1950).

HENRY F. GRADY (2 July 1950–19 September 1951). Grady had served in India when it gained independence and then in Greece before he was posted to Iran. Grady’s term coincided with the assassination of Prime Minister Haji Ali Razmara, nationalization of oil, and appointment of Mohammad Mosaddeq as prime minister. Grady, viscerally favoring the underdog, inadvertently conveyed his own disposition as that of the U.S. government to Premier Mosaddeq as the struggle for the nationalization of Iranian oil was gaining momentum.

(p.603) LOY W. HENDERSON (29 September 1951–30 December 1954). Henderson served in one of the most tumultuous periods in Iran’s recent history. He was the West’s main interlocutor with Premier Mosaddeq during the nationalization struggle, especially after Mosaddeq severed relations with England in 1952. He is implicated in the events that led to Mosaddeq’s fall in August 1953. The Consortium Agreement was made when he served in Iran.

SELDEN CHAPIN (19 July 1955–2 June 1958). Chapin had served as ambassador in Hungary, the Netherlands, and Panama before he was posted to Iran. Iran joined the U.S.-sponsored Baghdad Pact during the first year of his service in Iran.

EDWARD T. WAILES (19 July 1958–9 June 1961). Wailes arrived in Iran only a few days after the Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in a bloody coup on 14 July 1958. The Baghdad Pact, formally the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO), with headquarters in Baghdad, became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in August 1959, with headquarters in Ankara, Turkey. The fall of the monarchy in Iraq exacerbated Iran’s relations with the Arab Middle East.

JULIUS C. HOLMES (17 June 1961–13 March 1965). Holmes served in Iran soon after John F. Kennedy took office in the United States and the shah launched the White Revolution. He generally took the shah’s side as tensions ebbed and flowed between Iran and the United States, mostly on defense and human rights issues. He was in Iran as the economy began to take off and the shah’s power gelled. Also, it was during his service that the Status of Forces bill, passed in October 1964, was imposed on Iran, which became an issue endlessly haunting the shah and his government. Because of it, Prime Minister Hassanali Mansur was assassinated on 21 January 1965, and the shah narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on 10 April of the same year.

ARMIN H. MEYER (27 April 1965–30 May 1969). Meyer was appointed ambassador to Iran shortly after Lyndon Johnson, with whom the shah got along far better than with Kennedy, had won the presidency in a landslide. Meyer became an advocate for the shah, believing that the shah had become powerful and self-confident enough to maneuver between the East and the West and that a military relationship had become the linchpin of U.S.-Iranian alliance.

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR II (13 October 1969–17 February 1972). A nephew of General Douglas MacArthur and a senior diplomat, MacArthur was posted to Iran a few months after Richard Nixon had become president. By the end of his term of service in Iran, the shah and Nixon had become strategic allies. MacArthur became (p.604) a devotee of the shah, relaying to his government mainly the shah’s wishes. He narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt by the Mojahedin Khalq as he was being driven in his car in Tehran in 1971.

JOSEPH S. FARLAND (21 May 1972–10 March 1973). A few days after Farland’s appointment, President Nixon arrived in Tehran from Moscow, where he had signed SALT I and negotiated superpower interaction in the Middle East, to seek the shah’s help.

RICHARD HELMS (5 April 1973–27 December 1976). Helms’s appointment led to controversy in both Washington and Tehran. As a former director of the CIA, he was the highest-ranked American to be nominated as ambassador to Tehran. On the other hand, it was hard for Iranians to adjust to the idea of a career CIA person being posted to their country, especially when it was alleged that Helms had helped set in motion the coup d’état against Salvadore Allende of Chile in September 1973. (When he was asked later in congressional hearings about the CIA’s role, he lied, for which he was eventually prosecuted and convicted, though he did not serve his sentence.) Nixon sent Helms to Iran to get him out of the United States, and the shah accepted him partly to please Nixon and partly to benefit from the vast body of secrets he assumed Helms possessed. Helms, for his part, tried to please the shah. The shah launched the Rastakhiz Party in 1975 and declared the “open political space” in 1976 when Helms was ambassador in Iran.

WILLIAM H. SULLIVAN (18 June 1977–6 April 1979). Sullivan was the last U.S. ambassador in Iran during the shah’s reign. Previously he had served as ambassador in Laos (1966–69) and the Philippines (1973–77). His term of service in Iran corresponded with the presidency of Jimmy Carter in the United States and the Islamic revolution and the fall of the shah in Iran. He has documented his experience in Iran in a book titled Mission to Iran.