Persian Oil Agreement
House of Commons | November 1, 1954

The Mossadegh Project | September 19, 2019                                                          


The British House of Commons reacts to the conclusion of the Iran Oil Consortium Agreement and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s 40% share in Iranian oil.

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




Persian Oil Agreement


70. Mr. Mott-Radclyffe: [Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe, Conservative Party] asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs [Sir Anthony Eden] whether he will make a statement on the Persian oil settlement.

Mr. Nutting: [Sir Anthony Nutting, Conservative Party, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs] I will, with permission, answer Question No. 70.

Yes, Sir. I am sure that the House will have heard with gratification the news that the agreement between the Persian Government and the consortium of oil companies has been approved by both Houses of the Persian Parliament and was signed by the Shah on 29th October.

The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company [AIOC] will retain a 40 per cent. interest in the consortium operations in Persia and will be paid, over a period of time, £214 million by the companies who take up the remaining 60 per cent. interest. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company will also receive £25 million in compensation from the Persian Government.

The companies have already begun operations and British tankers have loaded oil at Abadan for the first time for over three years.

Her Majesty’s Government warmly welcome this satisfactory conclusion of a dispute which did nothing but harm to Persian and British interests. They are convinced that the settlement which has been reached has reconciled to the greatest possible extent the interests of all parties, and will bring prosperity to all concerned, particularly to the Government and people of Persia.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe: Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the reaction of the stock market would indicate that this agreement, after many months of patient negotiation on the part of all concerned, is highly satisfactory from the point of view of British industrial and commercial interests?

Mr. Nutting: The reaction of the stock market is, indeed, remarkable, for immediately after Abadan in October, 1951, Anglo-Iranian £ shares stood at £5. Now, on 1st November, 1954, after ratification of the present agreement, they stand at £18, an all-time record.

Mr. H. Morrison: [Herbert Morrison, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party] While passing no comment on this test of wellbeing by the swelling of share values, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this settlement, quite apart from the detailed merits, does not illustrate the wisdom of patience, and is it not the case that if we had gone to war about this, as some people wanted to do in 1951, the situation would not be as good as it is at the present time?

Mr. Nutting: As to the right hon. Gentleman’s original remark about swelling the pockets of the shareholders, he will, of course, remember that the Government are a 50 per cent. shareholder in the company. As to the second supplementary, it does illustrate wisdom and patience on the part of Her Majesty’s Government, but it also illustrates the result of a little resolution and determination.

Mr. H. Hynd: [Henry Hynd, Labour Party] Does it not also show that the previous Government would have made a big mistake in going to war on this matter and losing the lives of British soldiers when negotiations could settle it, as has been proved?

Mr. Nutting: What it shows is that in October, 1951, when the late Government left office, we were out of Abadan; in November, 1954—[HON. MEMBERS: “Suez”]—we are now back in Abadan.

Mr. Speaker: [William Shepherd Morrison, Conservative Party] We really cannot debate this matter of Abadan.

• Source: Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): House of Commons Official Report
[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]





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Related links:

British Foreign Office Statement on Iran Oil Consortium Agreement | August 5, 1954

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Statement on Iran Oil Consortium Agreement | August 5, 1954

Iranian Oil Agreement | U.S. State Department press release | October 28, 1954



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