Cables: US falsely said British queen backed 1953 Iran coup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —
The U.S. ambassador to Iran mistakenly suggested the shah in 1953 that Britain’s newly enthroned Queen Elizabeth II backed a thought to overthrow the country’s elected top minister and America maintained the fiction even after realizing the error, historians now thunder.

The revelation, in accordance to U.S. diplomatic cables cited by the historians, presentations how America has struggled even to in the intervening time to produce a full, unvarnished fable of its actions in the coup that cemented Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s energy and lit the fuse for Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“There’s an acceptance that you’re by no procedure going to have the total epic,” mentioned Richard Aldrich, a professor at the College of Warwick whose study on the cables would possibly be featured in a Channel 4 documentary in Britain on Sunday. “You’re on a streak to strive to raise out the next historic previous but you’re by no procedure going to have the total epic.”

The 1953 coup ended up successfully empowering the shah, even after he fled to Baghdad and onto Italy when it appeared as if it will possibly probably presumably per chance fail. He would rule until 1979, when he fled the country earlier than the Islamic Revolution, secretly and fatally sick with cancer.

The coup had roots in the nationalization of Iran’s oil alternate, which for the time being was once majority owned by Britain. Mohammad Mosaddegh, who supported nationalization, then grew to turn out to be Iran’s top minister. Britain launched a blockade on the country and one procedure or the opposite noticed its Tehran embassy ordered closed.

The British, who had begun drawing up plans for a imaginable coup, then turned to the U.S. below President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, panicked of the spread of communism amid the rising Frosty War with the Soviet Union, gave the budge-forward for TPAJAX — the CIA codename for the coup space.

Papers camouflage the CIA at one level “stockpiled enough palms and demolition topic topic to increase a 10,000-man guerrilla group for six months,” and paid out $5.3 million for bribes and various charges, which can presumably per chance be equivalent to $48 million right this moment. One CIA file casually refers again to the indisputable fact that “loads of main members of these (Iranian) security products and services are paid brokers of this group.”

Nonetheless the coup confronted considerations, chief amongst them the shah himself. Diplomats and spies referred to him as a “light reed” and “petulant.” The CIA dismissively referred to him as “Boy Scout,” Aldrich mentioned.

The shah grew panicked of Mosaddegh’s rising energy and prepared to cruise Iran in February 1953, months earlier than the coup. U.S. Ambassador Loy W. Henderson rushed to the palace to strive to seek for him. In its build, he bought to Hosein Ala, the shah’s minister of court, who known as the shah on a palace phone line.

No topic fears the phone would possibly presumably per chance be tapped, Henderson spoke thru Ala to the shah, as the Channel 4 documentary “The Queen and the Coup” and a later diplomatic cable by Henderson recounted.

“I had exact acquired message indicating that needed personage for whom shah had most friendly emotions had additionally expressed genuine hope that shah would possibly presumably per chance be dissuaded from leaving country,” Henderson wrote.

That cable, half of others launched by the U.S. Notify Department’s historian in 2017, integrated a footnote declaring but any other cable from the U.S. Embassy in London.

“Foreign Save of job this afternoon knowledgeable us of receipt message from (Foreign Minister Anthony) Eden from Queen Elizabeth expressing peril at most new developments re shah and solid hope we can procure some procedure of dissuading him from leaving country,” the footnote reads.

That means Queen Elizabeth herself had sent a message. In its build, Eden at the time was once aboard the vessel RMS Queen Elizabeth on his strategy to Canada, which is what American diplomats in London had supposed to say.

The U.S. Embassy in London realized its mistake and fired off but any other cable that warned “Queen Elizabeth refers, perceive that to vessel and now not … to monarch.” Nonetheless Henderson at that level already had spoken to the shah.

Realizing the error, the U.S. Embassy in London wrote abet that it “does now not (repeat now not) propose to affirm British of incident.” Nonetheless that intervention likely ended up helping goad the shah into staying in Iran for loads of extra months — until the CIA launched the coup.

“In relation to the fashion of chain of events, it’s significant because, , frankly, the shah is a coward,” Aldrich suggested The Associated Press. “I don’t judge the 1953 coup would have took space if the shah had fled then. At this level, there’s no query that he’s packed his baggage and was once gentle powerful going to the airport when this intervention took space.”

Nonetheless these two cables acknowledging the error, which the historians chanced on at the Nationwide Archives in Washington, don’t seem in the 2017 initiate by the Notify Department, which itself was once supposed to produce a fuller, warts-and-all accounting of American actions.

An initial 1989 initiate outlining the years surrounding the 1953 coup in Iran whitewashed the U.S. purpose in the coup. That resulted in the resignation of the historian guilty of a Notify Department evaluate board and to Congress passing a law requiring that a extra legitimate historic fable be made.

The Notify Department did now not respond to an AP query for comment. On the different hand, over 65 years later, historians restful fight to extract paperwork from the CIA and various authorities agencies surrounding the coup.

These new cables indicate extra stays to be chanced on, mentioned Malcolm Byrne, who study Iran at the non-governmental Nationwide Security Archive at George Washington College.

“We’ve known that every alongside,” Byrne mentioned.

Current Iranian anger over the Western coup fed into the revolution and its aftermath, which noticed Iranian students expend alter of the U.S. Embassy and maintain these inner captive for 444 days.

To in the intervening time Iran’s Shiite theocracy portrays the U.S. as a hostile foreign energy curved on subverting and overthrowing its authorities. Tense-liners restful focus on with Britain as “the frail fox,” a sly adversary.

The 1953 coup is their first share of proof.


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