Publication Delayed-FRUS Volume on 1953 CIA Action in Iran


Historians looking forward to publication of the long-awaited supplemental volume in the Foreign Relations of the United States series covering 1953 CIA actions in Iran will have to continue waiting.  As reported by Steven Aftergood of the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, the planned release of this volume was blocked due to current events.  Per the minutes of the 8 September Historical Advisory Committee, State Department Historian Stephen "Randolph stated that the Department had decided to delay publication because of ongoing negotiations with Iran."

Richard Immerman, Chair of the SHAFR Historical Documentation Committee, expressed frustration with the decision at the meeting and afterwards to Aftergood:

"I understand the State Department's caution, but I don't agree with the position," he said. "Not only is the 1953 covert action in Iran an open secret, but it was also a motive for taking hostages in 1979. The longer the U.S. withholds the volume, the longer the issue will fester."

"I would argue that our government's commitment to transparency as signaled by the release of this volume could have a transformative effect on the negotiations, and that effect would increase the likelihood of a settlement," Prof. Immerman suggested.

"At least some in the Iranian government would applaud this openness and seek to reciprocate. Further, the State Department of 2014 would distinguish this administration from the 'Great Satan' image of 1953 and after," he said.

Other issues covered at the September meeting include the upcoming FRUS publication schedule, including the anticipated release of the first Reagan subseries volumes in 2015, discussion of the forthcoming public diplomacy retrospective volume, and various issues releated to declassification of documents.

Geographical Area: 
Early Cold War: 1945-1961