Chapter 19: The Persistent Questioner

Scroll down for Extended Endnotes


Iraq and Syria

Roby Barrett, “Intervention in Iraq, 1958-1959,” Middle East Institute Policy Brief, No. 11, April 2008.

Majid Khadduri, Republican Iraq: A Study of Iraqi Politics Since the Revolution of 1958 (London: Oxford University Press, 1969)

Douglas Little, “Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945-1958,” Middle East Journal 44:1 (1990): 51-75

Kenneth Osgood, “Eisenhower and Regime Change in Iraq: The United States and the Iraqi Revolution of 1958, in David Ryan and Patrick Kiely, eds., The United States and Iraq: Policy-Making, Intervention, and Regional Politics. (New York: Routledge, 2009).

Andrew Rathmell, Secret War in the Middle East: The Covert Struggle for Syria, 1949-1961 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1995)

Egya N. Sangmuah, “Eisenhower and Containment in North Africa, 1956-1960,” Middle East Journal 44:1 (1990):76-91.

Peter and Marion Farouk-Sluglett, Iraq Since 1958: From Revolution to Dictatorship (London: I.B. Tauris, 2001)


Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982)

Gholam Reza Afkhami, The Life and Times of the Shah (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008)

Kristen Blake, The U.S.-Soviet Confrontation in Iran, 1945-1962: A Case in the Annals of the Cold War (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2009)

J. Gasiorowski, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991).

Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An American coup and the Roots of Middle Eastern Terror (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2003)

Afshin Matin-asgari, Afshin Iranian Student Opposition to the Shah (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2002)

Kermit Roosevelt, CounterCoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York: McGraw Hill, 1979)

Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980)

Matthew K. Shannon, An Augury of Revolution: The Iranian Student Movement and American Foreign Policy, 1960-1972 (UNC dissertation) 2009. Available on-line

Matthew K. Shannon, “American-Iranian Alliances: International Education, Modernization, and Human Rights During the Pahlavi Era,” Diplomatic History, July 30, 2014. This contains an excellent section on the relationship between Ali Fatemi and RFK.

On-line at:

Gary Sick, All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Random House, 1985)

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East

Said K. Aburish, A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998)

Lloyd C. Gardner, Three Kings: The Rise of an American Empire in the Middle East After World War II (New York: New Press, 2009)

Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013)

Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004)



ALL notes correspond to the endnotes in Patriotic Betrayal, supply additional information or evidence, and should be read together.

Notes 87: SAVAK. NSA was notified that ISAUS [Iranian Students in the United States]member, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh (later the Iranian Foreign Minister after the 1979 revolution) had been beaten by SAVAK in front of the Statler Hilton after a speech on March 20, 1961.

June 15, 1961 Al Fatemi appealed to NSA for “immediate help” re U.S. Government action and its refusal to extend passports.   Fatemi was being tried in absentia for treason in Iran, and, if deported, faced execution. Fatemi and ISAUS leaders stepped up their opposition to the Shah, and staged a sit-in at the Iranian Consulate in New York (New York Times, July 6, 1961)

ISAUS Need for Funds. Author’s note: Some sources have claimed that ISAUS received no external funds during this time, but that information is not accurate. Here is a sampling of financial discussions and information contained in H/NSA Box 220 (Iran).

The ISAUS financial situation was outlined in a August 2, 1961 memo by an unidentified author: “The Embassy (Iran) approached the American Friends of the Middle East, who have been giving the Iranian students a considerable amount each year…and threatened to close down their Tehran office if any more money was given. The threat worked. The only way they have now to get money is through the contributions of their own students.” An earlier report from February 10, 1961 to NSA officials Richard Rettig and James Scott, outlined the “dire circumstances” of the ISAUS financial situation.

According to a declassified FOIA/CIA memo of October 11, 1961, George Hazelrigg and Frank Crump from NSA met with AFME staff member David McDowell and confirmed the rupture between ISAUS and AFME. McDowell, who was raised in Iran, asserted that the feud was “personal” between Fatemi and the Iranian Embassy in the United States, since Fatemi believed the Ambassador [Ardeshir Zahedi] had been responsible for killing Fatemi’s uncle [Hassan Fatemi], the Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Mossadegh’s government after the CIA-backed overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953. Hassan Fatemi was executed on November 10, 1954. The McDowell statement should be seen as too parochial since Iranian students who dissented from the Shah’s policies feared the SAVAK, whether here or in Iran. Hazelrigg and Crump also greeted the statement skeptically.

NSA began financing travel for ISAUS leaders to attend meetings of the newly founded Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) based in Europe. Robert Backoff (NSA) wrote a memo of January 9, 1963 telephone conversation with Fatemi. He wrote that Fatemi contacted NSA because ISAUS members did not have funds to pay their way from New York back to campuses in California and Arizona. “Fatemi said that he was out of funds and needed some time before he could pay back our loan [$500] to him or even start on the extensive program requirements for the CIS in the coming year.” Fatemi also reported that [Don] Emmerson had promised funds from COSEC to fund the European branch of CIS. The memo includes the following request: Fatemi “wishes to speak with Don Smith and Backoff on possible assistance between NSA and CIS during the coming year in meeting the programming needs of the CIS.”

By late 1963, some ISAUS leaders complained that NSA relied too heavily on Fatemi for his advice re travel grants for the CIS meetings. See, for example, Ron Story to Robert Backoff, December 10, 1963 H/NSA Box 25 (Backoff 62-65). Story reported that he had assured ISAUS leader [Hassan] Lebastchi that the reliance on Fatemi was “inadvertent, a feature of Fatemi’s residency in New York which provided ease of contact.“ In fact, at this point, NSA often strategized with Fatemi against other ISAUS leaders. For example, Story told Backoff, “We will probably finance five delegates from the US [to CIS], as of now the entire board of secretaries. This is to shut out [Majid] Tehranian…” While Story would later sour on Fatemi, he had concluded after the August 1963 ISAUS convention that NSA would be able to cope with ISAUS, if former leaders Fatemi and Faraj Ardalan were still around, even if they were no longer officials of ISAUS. Story stated that he had not been aware of the antagonism toward Fatemi by other ISAUS members: “It also indicated that in the future we must be very careful about how we arrange this type of assistance to the ISA[US]-CIS so as not to offend anyone and start anew the rumors that NSA is trying to control the whole show.”

Note 88: Deportation of Iranian Students. This lengthy memo is an excellent overview of the rationale behind the deportation of anti-Shah Iranian Students. A note attached to the memo quotes the views of a State Department Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs official. The official, Charles Mace, contacted immigration officers about potential demonstrations against the Shah during his visit to UCLA, describing the possibility as “highly damaging to U.S. foreign policy and national security.”

Note 91: Matthew K. Shannon (“American-Iranian Alliance”) draws on the H/NSA material at the Hoover Institution, especially reports submitted by Robert Witherspoon and Ronald (Ron) Story. Shannon also describes the White House reaction to the Fatemi/RFK alliance as one of alarm, a view especially held by the National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy. This is understandable, since, as the U.S. Attorney General, RFK often blocked the State Department deportation orders re Iranian students.

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