This “editorial” on the oil consortium deal in Iran ran in various American newspapers including:
The Niagara Falls Gazette (Niagara Falls, New York), Saturday, April 24, 1954
The Times Bulletin (Van Wert, Ohio), May 1, 1954
The Independent Record (Helena, Montana), May 4, 1954 (lead editorial)
It is now almost three years since Iran, under the headlong leadership of Mohammed Mossadegh, cut off her nose to spite the British face of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Now, with Mossadegh in prison and his policy a failure, Iran is trying to grow a new nose. Despite all that she has lost meanwhile, it is by no means certain that the new nose (if she even gets one) will be as satisfactory as the old.
One thing, however, is certain: Three years of oil revenues have been lost, and there is little prospect that these losses can ever be made up.
Prospects for a new nose have improved vastly since outside consultants were called in. The consultants are seven outside oil companies—Royal Dutch, a French company, and five American companies. After long and difficult negotiations among themselves and with Anglo-Iranian, they have formed an eight-company consortium to negotiate with the Iranian government.
Why was this peculiar method necessary? Because experience had shown that unreasoning anti-foreign feeling was too strong to permit the survival of any government which arranged a reasonable settlement directly with Anglo-Iranian or the British government. So the consortium, with shares so allocated that Anglo-Iranian will not have control, hopes to arrange such a settlement.
The United States has been a major influence in producing this result. At first its advice went unheeded. Mossadegh ignored American warnings which have been substantiated by developments. Britain refused to believe that she could not make Mossadegh knuckle under. But eventually Herbert Hoover Jr., a State Department oil consultant, paved the way for a settlement. He remains as an “observer.”
Even now, things will go slowly. Negotiations must be cautious to avoid provoking outcries of “appeasement.” Iran’s markets have been absorbed by other companies and won’t be easy to restore. The oil properties, three years idle, cannot be returned to full production for a long time. So Iran, at best, hasn’t finished paying through the nose for Mossadegh’s folly.