Meeting with the Qashqai Brothers
State Department Memorandums: NYC, June 1951

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | March 21, 2022                        

Mohammad Hossein Khan Qashqai (left) and Khosrow Khan Qashqai (right) with Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh

In 1951 the State Department agreed to meet twice with two of the Qashqai brothers, Mohammad Hossein Khan Qashqai and Khosrow Khan Qashqai. Their tribal clan, 10 of whom had just arrived in New York, was looking to establish residences in the USA.

Supporters of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, they had helped bring about the Oil Nationalization Law in March 1951. Khosrow Qashqai himself was a member of the Oil Commission. He was hanged by the Islamic government in 1982.

The memorandums were written by Charles Vaughan Ferguson Jr. (1915–1981) and Gerald F.P. Dooher, who was about 37 at the time (he died 10 years later).

U.S. State Department Documents | IRAN

34. Memorandum of Conversation
[C. Vaughan Ferguson, Jr.]

Washington, June 25, 1951.

           Arrival in New York of Mohamad Hosein and Khosro Qashqai [Mohammad Hossein Khan Qashqai and Khosrow Khan Qashqai]

           Mr. Gerald Dooher
           Mr. C. Vaughan Ferguson, Jr.

Mr. Dooher called me from New York to report the results of his luncheon with the Qashqai brothers who arrived in New York today. He said the ostensible reason for the visit was that Mrs. Mohamad Hosein Qashqai is expecting another child in the immediate future and the Qashqai family wished it to be born an American citizen. The real purpose of the visit, however, is to establish some sort of contact with the United States Government whereby the Qashqai tribe may be able to establish “stability” within Iran.

While in this first meeting the brothers were naturally rather secretive about their mission, Mr. Dooher believes that what they actually want is a large sum of money in the neighborhood of a million dollars which they would use to buy off the southern garrison in Iran. The brothers feel that Prime Minister Mosadeq will either die or resign within a very short time and that this will be followed by a period of complete chaos in which it will be necessary for there to be some stabilizing influence. Although not so stated, it seems apparent that the Qashqais envisage establishing an autonomous regime in southern Iran out of this chaos and that they need money to make sure that there is no resistance to their designs on the part of the Iranian Army.

Mr. Dooher stated that the Qashqai brothers are solidly in favor of nationalization, are strongly supporting Prime Minister Mosadeq at present, and have become very anti-British. He said that for reasons which could not be stated over the telephone the recent telegram from Tehran reporting an approach by the Qashqais to the British Embassy should be discounted.1

The brothers will proceed to Washington shortly and desire to meet with Ambassador Wiley, Justice Douglas, Mr. Allen Dulles as well as Mr. McGhee and other appropriate officers in NEA. Mr. Dooher stated that the Qashqai tribe plans to leave one of the four ruling brothers in the United States.

[John C. Wiley, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Allen Dulles, George McGhee. NEA = Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, Department of State; Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency]

[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 (2017)

• “Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/6–2551. Top Secret. Drafted by C. Vaughan Ferguson, Jr., of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs.” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian

1 “The reference is to telegram 3351 from Tehran, June 20. (Ibid. 888.2553–AIOC/6–2051)” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian

• C. Vaughan Ferguson, Jr. CV: “Officer in Charge of Iranian Affairs, Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, Department of State, until July 1952.” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian

36. Memorandum for the Record
[Gerald F. P. Dooher]

New York, June 29, 1951.

The following points were made by the Qashqai brothers at a luncheon party June 27 and a dinner party June 28. I have added my personal comments:

1. Ten members of the Qashqai ruling family and tribe arrived in New York June 25. The purpose of the trip was stated to be to establish a home for Mrs. Nasser Khan, the wife of the Il-Khan, [Mohammad Nasser Khan Qashqai] and her children as well as for the pregnant Mrs. Mohammad Hosein Khan. This home will be in Santa Barbara, California. The Khans have deliberately planned that Mrs. Mohammad Hosein Khan will give birth to an American citizen. In my opinion this indicates that the Qashqais have chosen sides already in any eventual conflict between the Soviets and the West in Iran. Their dependents already are being “evacuated” to friendly territory.

2. It appears that one of the four Khans (on a rotating system) will be in the United States at all times. This, in my belief, looks like the beginning of a liaison arrangement.

Khosrow Khan Qashqai 3. Khosrow Khan is here as an emissary of Prime Minister Mossadeq. [Khosrow Khan Qashqai] One of his missions is to influence American public opinion in favor of Iran. I have seen the letter from Mossadeq to Khosrow Khan instructing him to carry out this mission.

4. The Khans believe there are two stable forces in Iran; one the Tudeh Party and the other the Qashqais. What they appear to mean is, two well-organized forces who can count on disciplined followings. In their opinion the Western world would do well to cultivate the only one of these two forces available to them, namely, the Qashqais.

5. Khosrow Khan states that the Iranian Army’s effectiveness was shattered by the bullet that killed Razmara. [Premier Ali Razmara]

6. They believe that for $3,000,000 the four most important army garrisons in Iran could be purchased by any bidder. And for $10,000,000 the entire army could be bought. I detected in these statements the desire that some wealthy uncle place these sums at the Qashqai’s disposal when such purchases became desirable; namely, if there were a Tudeh coup in Tehran or other cities.

7. The Khans seem alarmed at the prospect of disorders in Abadan when the workers remain unpaid. They think that Tudeh might make quick capital of such a situation.

8. The ruling family (the Khans) seem much more confident this year about their control over the tribe. They talk of 200,000 effective fighting men among the Qashqais and other Southern tribes, but also mention the figure of 75,000 “picked men”.

9. The Qashqais express great love and admiration for Dr. Mossadeq. On occasion they wink when they say this. They have no use for the other National Fronters.

10. As successor to Mossadeq they talk of either Sardar Fakher Hekmat or Dr. Baghai. [Mozaffar Baghai] I believe their candidate is Hekmat.

11. The Qashqais never liked the Shah. [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] Four years ago they feared him. Last year they despised him. This year they find him ridiculous.

12. Their expenditures in New York make it apparent that this was a good year for the Qashqais.

Gerald F. P. Dooher

[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 (2017)

• “Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/6–7951. Top Secret. Drafted by Gerald F.P. Dooher.” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian

• “Printed from a copy that bears Dooher’s typed signature.” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian

• Gerald F.P. Dooher CV: “Chief, Near Eastern, Soviet-East, and Trans-Caucasian Sections, International Broadcast Service, Department of State, June 1951–August 1953; United States Information Agency, August 1953–August 1954; Chief, Near East, South Asia, and Africa Division, International Broadcast Service, Department of State, from August 1954.” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian


Related links:

Current Developments In Iran | CIA Special Estimate, May 22, 1951

Ambassador Henry Grady on Mossadegh’s Cabinet, Oil Committee Prospects (May 7, 1951)

William L. Langer: Role of the Haifa Refinery in the Iranian Crisis (July 9, 1951)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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