Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt, eldest son of Kermit Roosevelt, the son of Theodore Roosevelt, was born in Buenos Aires on 16th February, 1916. After completing his university education he joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). During the Second World War Roosevelt worked in the Middle East.
After the war Roosevelt taught at Harvard University. In 1950 Frank Wisner recruited Roosevelt into the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. At this time Wisner began plotting the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. He had upset the US government by nationalizing Iran's oil industry. Mossadegh also abolished Iran's feudal agriculture sector and replaced with a system of collective farming and government land ownership.
On April 4, 1953, Wisner persuaded Allen W. Dulles to approve $1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mossadegh." Roosevelt was put in charge of what became known as Operation Ajax. According to Donald N. Wilber, who was involved in this CIA plot to remove Mossadegh from power, in early August, 1953, Iranian CIA operatives, pretending to be socialists, threatened Muslim leaders with "savage punishment if they opposed Mossadegh," thereby giving the impression that Mossadegh was cracking down on dissent. This resulted in the religious community turning against Mossadegh.
Iranians took to the streets against Mossadegh. Funded with money from the CIA and MI6, the pro-monarchy forces quickly gained the upper hand. The military now joined the opposition and Mossadegh was arrested on August 19, 1953. President Dwight Eisenhower was delighted with this result and asked Frank Wisner to arrange for Roosevelt to give him a personal briefing on Operation Ajax.
Allen W. Dulles asked Roosevelt to organize the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Roosevelt refused, explaining that for a coup to be successful, the people had to "want what we want". He did not believe that the "Guatemalan peasants wanted what the United Fruit wanted."
Roosevelt continued to work in the Middle East. Part of his job was to distribute money to anti-communist leaders. This included a payment of $12 million to General Bey Naguib in Egypt. However, Gamal Nasser overthrew Naguib and stole the $12 million. Some of this money was used to build the Cairo Tower. Some CIA officials called it "Roosevelt's Erection".
The Iranian oil industry was denationalization in 1955. The British oil monopoly was superseded by a consortium in which Anglo-Iranian received 40 percent of revenues, five U.S. corporations (Gulf Oil, Standard of New Jersey, Standard of California, Texas, and Socony-Mobil) received 40 percent, and 20 percent went to Royal Dutch Shell and a French company).
In 1958 Roosevelt left the CIA and found employment with Gulf Oil. Two years later he was appointed vice president. According to Geoff Simons: "Later he (Roosevelt) formed the consulting firm, Downs and Roosevelt, which in the late 1960s was receiving $116,000 a year from the Iranian government. At the same time, the aerospace Northrop Corporation was paying Roosevelt $75,000 a year to aid its sales to Iran and other states in the region." He left Gulf Oil in 1970 and worked as a consultant to American companies doing business in the Middle East.
Roosevelt's book, Counter Coup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran, was published in 1979. In the book Roosevelt argued that Mohammed Mossadegh had to be removed to prevent a communist takeover of Iran.
Kermit Roosevelt, died on 8th June, 2000.