Prospects For War Or Peace
Eisenhower: Iran Situation “Looks Much Better”

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| October 12, 2019                                                          


At a White House news conference, President Dwight D. Eisenhower referenced the Iran Oil Consortium Agreement in response to a question about recent developments in Iran and Egypt. The pact between Britain, Iran and American and French oil companies had been consummated on August 5, 1954.

British Foreign Office | Iran Documents (1951-1954)
Iran Oil Consortium | Archive of Documents (1953-1954)




192 ¶ The President’s News Conference of August 11, 1954.


Q. Robert W. Richards, The Copley Press: Mr. President, a couple of world hot spots or potential world hot spots, Suez and Iran, have been cooled by agreements within the last week or two. Could you tell us whether, in your opinion, the international situation elsewhere moves toward war or toward peace?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower THE PRESIDENT. Ladies and gentlemen, when you embark upon discussion of such a broad subject, one is very apt to go far afield. I have no objection, if you see me digressing too far from the main theme here, I have no objection if someone suggests that our time is limited [laughter]—because it is a very comprehensive and it is a very serious question.

I think the best thing we could do would be to go back and review for a second. A year ago last January we were fighting in Korea and in Indochina. [Vietnam] We were faced in Iran with a situation that was highly dangerous to the world. Mossadegh was using his power, and the party—I don’t know exactly how you pronounce it, but the Communist Party, Tudeh I guess—that party was using their power to lead Iran further and further away from the Western World. It looked almost as if a break was imminent from day to day.

The situation in Egypt was no better, at least in its potential capacity for damage to the United States.

The growing threat in Central America was another place where things looked very bad indeed.

Now, in not all of these instances has the problem been solved with complete satisfaction to us. But remember, the two wars of which we speak were being waged under a political situation and in a political setting that really made a decisive winning of those conflicts impossible; and so any settlement was necessarily going to be less than satisfactory to us.

However, in both places we have a chance now to do something constructive, to build up economic alliances in those areas that will make it possible for those people to make a living, to raise their standards, and to be true partners in a free world economy.

In Iran the situation has been greatly ameliorated; it looks much better, and we are very hopeful that the new agreement will soon bring back income to Iran on the basis that they can continue to advance, raising the standards in that country.

The situation in Egypt is also immeasurably better, since through patience and refusal to get stampeded, refusal to be calling names all over the world, there is finally an agreement that looks like the requirements of the free world are substantially met and the sovereignty of Egypt clearly recognized.

In South America, the situation is of such recent resolution that I think no comment is necessary.

All of this adds up—as I see it, the free world has a better chance than before to use its brains, its intelligence, its understanding and, indeed, its wealth, to build up a structure that will really be impervious to the Communist assault, whether that assault takes its usual form of subversion and bribery and infiltration or whether, in the long run, it might include force.

I believe if we do this intelligently, work effectively toward the end, there will be no war.


• Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


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Related links:

President Eisenhower Praises Herbert Hoover, Jr. For Oil Settlement (Aug. 1954)

Anglo-Persian Diplomatic Relations (Resumption) | December 7, 1953

Eisenhower and the Shah Trade Compliments After Iran Oil Deal (August 1954)



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