State Department Release Official History Of CIA Orchestrated Iranian Coup

The long-awaited volume supplements an earlier publication that whitewashed American and British roles in the coup.
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    The Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi, left, and President Harry Truman pose on the speakers rostrum during welcoming ceremonies at National Airport on Nov. 16, 1949 in Washington. (AP Photo)

    The Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi, left, and President Harry Truman pose on the speakers rostrum during welcoming ceremonies at National Airport on Nov. 16, 1949 in Washington. (AP Photo)

    The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran, including records describing planning and implementation of the covert operation.  The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq.  The volume is part of the Department’s venerable Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.

    For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even though a detailed account appeared as early as 1954 in The Saturday Evening Post, and since then CIA and MI6 veterans of the coup have published memoirs detailing their activities.  Kermit Roosevelt’s Countercoup is the best known and most detailed such account, although highly controversial because of its selective rendering of events.  In 2000, The New York Times posted a 200-page classified internal CIA history of the operation.

    In 1989, the State Department released what purported to be the official record of the coup period but it made not a single reference to American and British actions in connection with the event.  The omission led to the resignation of the chief outside advisor on the series and prompted Congress to pass legislation requiring “a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record” of U.S. foreign policy.  After the end of the Cold War, the CIA committed to open agency files on the Iran and other covert operations, and the State Department vowed to produce a “retrospective” volume righting the earlier decision.

    But it took until 2011 for the CIA to – partially – fulfill its commitment, and even then it was only in the form of a previously classified segment of an internal account of the coup that for the first time included an officially released explicit reference to the agency’s role in “TPAJAX,” the U.S. acronym for the operation.  Roughly two years later, after years of research by historian James C. Van Hook, as well as internal negotiations between State and CIA over access to the latter’s records, the Office of the Historian at the Department produced a draft of the retrospective volume, which then had to await top-level clearance.

    What explains the refusal by two governments to acknowledge their actions, and the inordinate delays in publishing this volume?  Justifications given in the past include protecting intelligence sources and methods, bowing to British government requests and, more recently, avoiding stirring up Iranian hardline elements who might seek to undercut the nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and other P5+1 members in 2015.

    While the volume’s contents still are being sifted through, here’s a description from the Preface:

    This Foreign Relations retrospective volume focuses on the use of covert operations by the Truman and Eisenhower administrations as an adjunct to their respective policies toward Iran, culminating in the overthrow of the Mosadeq government in August 1953. Moreover, the volume documents the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community in the policy formulation process and places it within the broader Cold War context. For a full appreciation of U.S. relations with Iran between 1951 and 1954, this volume should be read in conjunction with the volume published in 1989.

    “This is going to be an important source for anyone interested in the tortured relationship between Washington and Tehran,” said Malcolm Byrne, who runs the National Security Archive’s Iran-U.S. Relations Project. “But the fact that it has taken over six decades to declassify and release these records about such a pivotal historical event is mind-boggling.”

    As Archive staff make their way through the hundreds of records in the volume, we will update this posting with highlights.

    Read the entire volume:

    Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951-1954 – Office of the Historian 3.0 shell

    © The National Security Archive


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    • ties

      The CIA has done one country after another every since…..If you don’t play the World Bank game you will be destroyed…… The CIA no longer works for the American people and neither does most of our government officials…… I think Trump is trying to work for the people…..

    • tapatio


      -THESE ASSAULTS were all against governments that did not “cooperate” with the corporations that control the Corporate States of America. Most were against properly elected governments – NOT “evil” dictators.
      -Each of the “regime change” operations was 100% motivated by the interests of the PREDATORY CAPITALIST 0.1%.
      -Each involved violence, murdering from a few to OVER TWO MILLION INNOCENTS per operation..
      -Not one of these countries posed ANY security threat to the Corporate States of Amerika..
      -Each regime change/destabilization operation was ENTIRELY FUNDED BY AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS and BENEFITED ONLY PREDATORY CAPITALISTS..
      – Each regime change/destabilization operation was IN VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW to which the Corporate States of Amerika is signatory..
      -Almost all involved PROVEN WAR CRIMES BY THE UNITED STATES, under existing definitions in international law to which the Corporate States of Amerika is signatory.

      IRAN 1946
      YUGOSLAVIA 1946
      URUGUAY 1947
      GREECE 1947-49
      GERMANY 1948
      CHINA 1948-49
      PHILIPPINES 1948-54
      PUERTO RICO 1950
      KOREA 1951-53
      IRAN 1953
      VIETNAM 1954
      GUATEMALA 1954
      EGYPT 1956
      LEBANON l958
      IRAQ 1958
      CHINA l958
      PANAMA 1958
      CUBA l961
      GERMANY l961
      LAOS 1962
      CUBA l962
      IRAQ 1963
      PANAMA l964
      INDONESIA l965
      GUATEMALA l966-67
      OMAN l970
      LAOS l971-73
      MIDEAST 1973
      CHILE 1973 (thousands dead)
      CAMBODIA l975
      ANGOLA l976-92
      IRAN l980
      LIBYA l981
      EL SALVADOR l981-92
      NICARAGUA l981-90 (tens of thousands dead)
      LEBANON l982-84
      GRENADA l983-84
      HONDURAS l983-89 (tens of thousands dead)
      IRAN l984 (hundreds of thousands dead)
      LIBYA l986
      BOLIVIA 1986
      IRAN l987-88
      LIBYA 1989
      PHILIPPINES 1989
      PANAMA 1989
      LIBERIA 1990
      SAUDI ARABIA 1990-91
      IRAQ 1990-91
      KUWAIT 1991
      IRAQ 1991-2003 (almost two million dead)
      SOMALIA 1992-94
      YUGOSLAVIA 1992-94
      BOSNIA 1993
      HAITI 1994
      ZAIRE (CONGO) 1996-97
      LIBERIA 1997
      ALBANIA 1997
      SUDAN 1998
      AFGHANISTAN 1998
      IRAQ 1998
      YUGOSLAVIA 1999
      YEMEN 2000
      MACEDONIA 2001
      AFGHANISTAN 2001
      YEMEN 2002
      PHILIPPINES 2002
      COLOMBIA 2003
      IRAQ 2003-11 (1.5+ million dead)
      LIBERIA 2003
      HAITI 2004-05
      PAKISTAN 2005
      SOMALIA 2006
      SYRIA 2008
      YEMEN 2009
      LIBYA 2011
      IRAQ 2014
      VENEZUELA 2015 – present
      SYRIA 2014-2017 (hundreds of thousands dead)

    • Mr Misanthropic

      no wonder the US is hated