Shah of Iran’s Official State Visit in October 1969

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Foreign Policy, Middle East, Nixon Today, Presidency

Just two days after President Nixon’s inauguration, January 22, 1969, His Imperial Majesty Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran, wrote a letter of congratulations to the new President. Included in this letter was a request to arrange a visit.

The official State visit was held nine months later, October 21-23, 1969. According to a confidential document from the Office of Policy and Plans, the purpose of the visit was “to discuss matters of mutual interest to Iran and the U.S.”

On Tuesday, October 21, 1969, a State dinner was held at the White House. 

This press release reveals intricate details of the formal occasion including the decorations, menu and music.

President Nixon opened his toast to the Shah of Iran by remarking,

…you will be interested to note that he is one of the few leaders, heads of state in the world, who has been a guest in this house and in this room as the guest of President Truman and then of President Eisenhower and then President Kennedy and then President Johnson and now, tonight, as our guest.

In the Shah’s response toast he stated,

Today more than ever we need the friendship of America as a friend and the leadership of America in the world and the leadership of the President of this great country to uphold all of what we are standing for: to implement the laws of equity, of justice; to encourage decency in relationships between states, countries, and people.

The official visit also included an arrival ceremony at the White House on the morning of October 21 that was followed by a meeting in the Oval Office.

Richard Nixon first met the Shah in 1953 when he visited Tehran as Vice President. A friendship developed between the two leaders that lasted until the Shah’s death in 1980.

In May of this year, the Nixon Foundation held an event to commemorate President Nixon’s visit to Iran in May 1972. Watch here to learn more about President Nixon and the Shah: