Iranian Leader Seen As Big Problem For U.N.
Peter Edson — October 15, 1951
Peter Edson, author of the Washington Column syndicated in over 750 newspapers, was the DC correspondent for NEA (Newspaper Enterprise Association). This 1951 column (or the second paragraph, at least) was unusually complimentary of Dr. Mossadegh for its time. Yet it’s also littered with numerous uniquely wrong facts that Edson appears to have simply made up.
Edson’s most noteworthy moment in history came about the following year. Edson and two other journalists interviewed Senator Richard Nixon on the September 14, 1952 broadcast of Meet the Press. Afterwards, Edson inquired about a ‘secret’ campaign fund of Nixon’s, and wrote an unassuming column about it. The story got picked up and turned into a virtual scandal, prompting Nixon to deliver his legendary "Checkers" speech which saved his Vice Presidential election bid on the Eisenhower ticket, as well as the RNC from near-catastrophe.
Edson retired in 1964, and on July 14, 1977 following a massive stroke, died at age 81.
“Being able to ask the right questions, phrasing them simply and making them short, is the easiest way to get direct answers.” — Peter Edson
Mossadegh Is First Problem
UN Must Solve in Oil Crisis
BY PETER EDSON
NEA Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON (NEA) — American television audiences may be in for a new kind of international thrill when Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh argues his country’s oil case before the United Nations Security Council.
He is apt to create considerable American sympathy for his cause, too. For every American who has had any dealings with the old man has come away impressed. He is characterized as being a good bit like India’s Ghandi. He is a born leader, the hero of his country. And right or wrong on the oil dispute with the British, he is said to have a good 95 per cent of the Iranians behind him.
Not the least of his talents is his ability as a perfect actor. He can “turn on the tears” almost at will. How he does it is his secret. He can also faint under emotional crisis. But doctor members of the Iranian Parliament who examined him after one of these fainting spells found his pulse normal, and nothing physically the matter with him at all.
He is considered a partial paralytic and has carried a cane for a number of years. But on occasion he has been observed by Americans to run up and down stairs without his cane, and with no apparent disability on the left side of his body which has been supposed to be paralyzed.
And he is no backward country primitive. No Middle East mystic. He was educated in France, Belgium and Switzerland, [not Belgium] holding a doctor’s degree in law. He has served as Minister of Justice, Finance, and Foreign Affairs, as well as Premier of the Iranian Cabinet.
One of Iran’s Richest Men
He is reported to be one of the wealthiest men in Iran. The rich there are mostly land owners and according to the pattern, Mossadegh owns whole villages. Americans who have visited his villages say that they are well run—better than, most, and his tenants get better than the usual one-fifth share-of their crops.
Mossadegh is, in fact, the author of Iran's great reform movement of the 1920’s. [not the case] And he is also the author of the Iranian oil nationalization law of 1951, which is now causing all the trouble with the British over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. concession. The Prime Minister is the very personification of that issue. Before the Anglo-Iranian dispute can be solved, Mossadegh must be solved.
A year ago, when U.S. Ambassador Henry F. Grady first went to Iran from India, there was no oil nationalization issue. There was a severe economic crisis, with heavy unemployment. Yet when the Mossadegh nationalization law was passed last Spring, so complete was the faith of the Iranian people in that law that next day they lined up with their cans at the filling stations to get “their” oil. [bizarre, unsubstantiated claim] And many of them may not understand yet why they haven’t got it.
American mediators like Averell Harriman who have tried to settle the dispute between the British and the Iranians may have thought at various times that a solution was at hand. But Mossadegh always balked them, standing stubbornly for his viewpoint.
Gross take of the Anglo-Iranian company from its Iranian fields has been estimated at $300 million a year. The Iranian royalty under the old 1933 contract was from 40 to 45 million a year. The new contract being negotiated when Premier Ali Razmara was assassinated in March, before Mossadegh came, to power, would have given Iran 75 to 90 millions. It wasn’t enough.
Then new offers by Anglo-Iranian would have given Iran a 50-50 split on profits, with 10 percent off the Iranian share each year to pay for the nationalization. That would have given Iran a return of up to $150 million a year; Mossadegh was urged to take it. If he held out he thought Iran would get it all—the full $300 million. So he held out.
American mediators also tried to find some formula which would keep the Iranian fields producing, keep money pouring into Iran to support its tottering economy, unfreeze Iranian royalties now being held back by the British. It was thought this could be worked out by having the British tanker captains sign receipts for the oil “without prejudice”, to the Anglo-Iranian case. But the British balked at that.
There is considerable American criticism of the British for their stubbornness. At times it has seemed almost the equal of Mossadegh’s. It is said that no American oil company would have allowed its relations with the leasing country to become so bad. It went so far that Anglo-Iranian would not even sell Iranian oil to the Iranians at a price as low as that paid by the British Navy.
What the United Nations Security Council can do about this is the immediate question. Maybe appoint another mediator and try again. At any rate, if a solution isn’t found in the next few months, Iran faces a financial crisis that includes chaos and communism.
Mossadegh Acts Like A Madman — The Times Record, October 2, 1951
A Good Show Expected — The Knickerbocker News, October 10, 1951
“Iran Problem” Now Is To Keep Her On Our Side — Bruce Biossat, October 9, 1951
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”