Sunday, November 29, 2015

More 1953 Coup Cables (part 2)

This is part 2 of 2 (though I expect to return to National Archives in the near future and find some more documents). Part 1

All of these documents are NOT included in the FRUS, yet are declassified. This is very interesting considering the second coup happened on the 19th and there are zero cables from this day in the collection. There may be more classified documents from this day, but the contents of the boxes at National Archives are horribly mixed up so it is very difficult to get an accurate account of what is there.

This may all change when the long-delayed revision is finally released. This was initially scheduled for Summer 2014, but was delayed due to the Iranian nuclear talks. This has been delayed once again and is now not expected until sometime in 2016.

Again format is Cable #, Month, Day, Time sent (Tehran time unless it is noted as rcvd which means DC time)

388 Aug 19 644 am
Street unrest Tehran continued through 18 August.

In morning Pan-Iranist HQ near Majlis wrecked by Tudehists. Small groups Pan-Islamists roamed city throughout day, taking revenge on all Tudehists encountered. Approximately 7:30 p.m. larger groups Pan-Iranists and Tudehists, some armed with clubs, clashed bringing total injured during day to estimated 15. Clash halted by police and army using night sticks and rifle butts. Numerous arrests made.

Pro-Shah army officers and men also active on small scale, attacking individuals who posted anti-Shah slogans.

Unrest CONTINUED as in there had been unrest on previous days. I believe the 'Pan-Islamists' is a typo of mine or possibly an autocorrect. This unrest seems to be not have been limited to one ideological conflict. Additionally the last sentence provides support to the theory that there were multiple distinct groups of coup plotters (as I have postulated in the past). After the first coup failed, scores of officers were arrested as is acknowledged by the various accounts, how could they possibly have captured so many and interrogated them yet still enough remained to conduct a second coup? This is a huge hole in the narrative from the groups who blame the US exclusively. 

390 Aug 19 609 am
Pro-Shah demonstrators in vicinity Majlis being reinforced by bazaar elements of type identified with Kashani and lesser religious leaders. Major pro-Shah crowd just reported heading toward bazaar.

More evidence of Kashani and Islamist involvement in the coup. It is unclear how 'major' the pro-Shah crowd is, and what this means exactly. Are they army officers? The 'party' type? The paid thugs?

392 Aug 19 1 pm
Embassy believes key to eventual Mosadeq control of pro-Shah elements armed only with sticks and stones at time public made restless by uncertainty situation remains in hands general staff which headed by loyal Mosadeq lieutenant.

General staff headed by a man loyal to Mossadeq. If this man is loyal, why did he not uncover the other disloyal officers? It was known that there was an attempted coup, and various press had insisted there would be a coup in the days weeks and months leading up to the events. Incompetence or what?

400 Aug 19 4 pm
PTT and press and propaganda offices occupied. Telegrams reportedly being sent provinces urging pro-Shah action similar that of Tehran.

Unclear who was sending the telegrams, and to whom. Did they mean for everyone to come to Tehran? Or to protest in the streets? And to what extent? Roosevelt had claimed to convinced a colonel in Kermanshah to come to Tehran with his troops, though given the distance (400 miles) and the relatively slow speed of transit, the logistics seem near impossible. Additionally it was claimed by Roosevelt that Hamedan was a Tudeh stronghold and was located halfway between Kermanshah and Tehran so how would the colonel and his troops traverse this?

404 Aug 19 5 pm
According various reports including Embassy and American officials, holiday atmosphere prevails in city. All vehicles have lights on as symbol Shah victory. Pedestrians applaud truckloads pro-Shah soldiers and civilians passing by.

'Holiday atmosphere' isn't exactly what one would expect for an unpopular coup. It is unclear where the 'truckloads'  of soldiers came from, were they from a local garrison or from other cities?

408 Aug 19 (rcvd 1132 am)
No attacks on foreigners any nationality reported Embassy so far, with exception burning shop identified as Russian seen by Embassy Officer. Pro-Shah demonstrators ignore or friendly toward obviously foreign passersby

One of the major complaints of Ambassador Henderson when he met with Mossadeq on the 18th, was that Americans had been attacked by Iranians. The apathy towards foreigners is interesting.

409 Aug 19 7 pm
Pro-Shah demonstrations spread throughout Tehran during day with truckloads Shah partisans touring streets to applause bystanders. Apparent overwhelming Royalist majority seems have silenced Leftists groups in evidence early in day. Non-Tudeh pro-Government papers wrecked or burned by mob. 

Attitude security forces initially ambiguous with increasing numbers individual soldiers, officers, policemen taking part pro-Shah demonstrations. Numerous truckloads soldiers at least 6 tanks touring streets sheering Shah in afternoon.

The Leftists groups were out earlier in the day but the Royalists silenced them. Earlier cables refer to Royalists without much mention of Leftists. The 'ambiguous' attitude of security forces is also of note as is the presence of tanks. Tanks move quite slowly, where did they come from? 

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