By: Mir M.Hosseini
On June, 2, 1967 Mohammad Reza Shah visited West Berlin.
The first days of his visit to West Germany went as planned. Shah was received by the political and economic elite, Germany’s credits to Iran were enlarged and the reports about the Shah in the papers were friendly. Especially the yellow press was full of pictures.
Shah was seen as a royal representative of Iranian high society and a modernizer while many saw him as a dictator. Suppression of opponents drew the attention of human rights activists, students and the European press. Many of them compared the Pahlavi rule to the Nazi regime. In West Berlin, Shah was met with vigorous protests. It was a time when student revolutions were taking place in many parts of the world. During clashes between protesters and the police, a student named Benno Ohnesorg was killed by a German police officer. In the aftermath massive protests all over Germany started.
News of this incident was censored in the Iranian media which extensively covered Shah's visit to the US on August 21st 1967. A US army detachment fired a 21-gun salute for Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran on his arrival in Washington. During a meeting with US President Lyndon Johnson, Shah conveyed messages from Jordan king Hussein who asked for concrete US support for Arab moderates. Shah also complained that the U.S. has yet to deliver the two squadrons of F-4 Phantoms that were promised to Iran.
Another issue was development of water resources in Iran. President Johnson assured Shah that an American team of water experts will join an Iranian team to begin the study and share the technology so that adequate water may be available to meet Iran's needs.
Shah re-iterated Iran's ongoing fight against illiteracy and his plans for improving health conditions.
Representation of Shah in western media was not always the same.
Meanwhile, on the streets of US anti-war protestors were shouting "LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" without being heard.
During Shah's visit in August, American media did not even mention the June incident in West Germany.