Washington’s assessments of the threat posed by the Soviet Union to the Persian Gulf, however, did not very much differ from those of London. In fact, the United States was increasingly showing more signs of understanding over the Soviet threat, and the spread of communism to the Persian Gulf. In the United States view, ‘the proximity of important Soviet industries makes the importance of holding the Eastern Mediterranean-Middle Eastern area obvious.¹

Increasingly, the Persian Gulf began to play an important part in the United States’ strategic thinking for the protection of oil supplies, and also lines of communication for defence. Containment of the Soviet Union and preventing her from reaching to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, accessibility to the oil without disruption for producing it became the same goal for both the United States, and Great Britain.

The Americans were of the opinion that cultivating closer economic and political ties with Iran, the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf, with its population and industrialisation programme would serve Western interests better. The United States believed that direct rule would be potentially detrimental to the interests of America in the Persian Gulf. Direct rule, in the American view, in an area as strategically crucial as the Persian Gulf with its hugs oil reserves could potentially lead to confrontation with the Soviet Union. The United States’ attitude towards Iran was:


It is of crucial importance to the United States that Iran remain an independent nation. Because of its key strategic position, and oil resources, loss of Iran would be: (a). A major threat to the security of the entire Middle East, as well as Pakistan and India. (b). Damage the United States’ prestige in nearby countries and with the exception of Turkey and possibly Pakistan, seriously weaken if not destroy, their will to resist communist pressures. (c). Have serious psychological impact elsewhere in the free world.²


According to the British Ambassador in Teheran, Sir Roger Stevens:


The Government of the United States is of the opinion that it would be in the interest of Iran and of the whole free world for Iran to have armed forces which not only would be able effectively to assist in maintaining internal order but also would be capable of engaging in defensive action in case Iran should be attacked.³


The British Government’s view on the defence of the Persian Gulf was also similar to that of the United States. In the words of the British Ambassador in Teheran:


Both the United States and British Governments are of the opinion that armed forces of Iran should have capabilities beyond those of maintaining internal security.4


      1.  D. YERGIN, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State, (London: Penguin Books, 1990), p. 269.
      2.  Y. ALEXANDER and A. NANES (Eds.), The United States and Iran: A Documentary History, (Maryland: University Publications of America, 1980), pp. 265-266.
      3. PRO, London, PREM 11/725, The Correspondence and Papers of the Prime Ministers Office, Sir Roger Stevens, the British Ambassador in Teheran, to the Foreign Office, Top Secret, 19th March 1954.
      4.  Ibid.

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