Mossadegh’s Final Message to Eisenhower

On British intrigue & “the illogical claims of an imperialistic company”

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | June 26, 2011                     

Premier Mohammad Mossadegh's message to President Dwight D. Eisenhower Nearly five months after Eisenhower’s first reply, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh would make one more attempt to appeal to the U.S. President’s better judgment in a message dated May 28, 1953.

Mossadegh reminded Eisenhower that Iran had been prepared to compensate Britain for the nationalized properties, but all proposals had been ignored, while they persisted with their “unjust and unprincipled activities”. He reiterated the urgency of immediate economic assistance to help remedy Iran’s dire situation, for any delay, he emphasized, “might well be too late.”

Eisenhower’s response on June 29, 1953
• See also: The Eisenhower - Mossadegh Cables

Mossadegh’s Second Message To President Eisenhower
May 28, 1953

Dear Mr. President:

In the kind reply which you sent to my message of last January you suggested that I might inform you direct or through diplomatic channels of any views that may be of mutual interest.

In that message I had briefly referred to the hardships and privations which the Iranian people had undergone during the last two years in their efforts to attain their aspirations and also to the difficulties which the British Government has created for Iran in its support of the illogical claims of an imperialistic company.

During the few months that have elapsed since the date of that message the Iranian people have been suffering financial hardships and struggling with political intrigues carried on by the former Oil Company and the British Government. For instance, the purchasers of Iranian oil have been dragged from one court to another, and all means of propaganda and diplomacy have been employed in order to place illegal obstacles in the way of the sale of Iranian oil. Although the Italian and Japanese courts have declared Iranian oil to be free and unencumbered, the British have not as yet abandoned their unjust and unprincipled activities.

Although it was hoped that during Your Excellency’s administration attention of a more sympathetic character would be devoted to the Iranian situation, unfortunately no change seems thus far to have taken place in the position of the American Government.

In the message which the Secretary of State [John Foster Dulles] sent me from Karachi, he expressed regret that the efforts of the United States to contribute to the solution of the problem of compensation had thus far been unsuccessful. It should be recalled that the Iranian Government was prepared to pay the value of the former Company’s properties in Iran in such amount as might be determined by the International Court of Justice. It was also prepared to accept the jurisdiction of the said court with regard to the amount of compensation provided the British Government would state the amount of its claim in advance and that claim would be within the bounds of reason. Obviously the Iranian Government also had certain claims against the former Oil Company and the British Government which would have been presented at the time of the hearing of the case.

The British Government, hoping to regain its old position, has in effect ignored all of these proposals.

As a result of actions taken by the former Company and the British Government, the Iranian nation is now facing great economic and political difficulties. There can be serious consequences, from an international viewpoint as well, if this situation is permitted to continue. If prompt and effective aid is not given this country now, any steps that might be taken tomorrow to compensate for the negligence of today might well be too late.

We are of course grateful for the aid heretofore granted Iran by the Government of the United States. This aid has not, however, been sufficient to solve the problems of Iran and to ensure world peace which is the aim and ideal of the noble people and of the Government of the United States.

The standard of living of the Iranian people has been very low as a result of century-old imperialistic policies, and it will be impossible to raise it without extensive programs of development and rehabilitation. Unfortunately the aid heretofore granted has been in principle primarily of a technical nature, and even in this respect the assistance needed has not at times been accorded. For example, the Export-Import Bank which was to have advanced Iran twenty-five million dollars for use in the sphere of agriculture did not do so because of unwarranted outside interference.

The Iranian nation hopes that with the help and assistance of the American Government the obstacles placed in the way of sale of Iranian oil can be removed, and that if the American Government is not able to effect a removal of such obstacles, it can render effective economic assistance to enable Iran to utilize her other resources. This country has natural resources other than oil. The exploitation of these resources would solve the present difficulties of the country. This, however, is impossible without economic aid.

In conclusion, I invite Your Excellency’s sympathetic and responsive attention to the present dangerous situation of Iran, and I trust that you will ascribe to all the points contained in this message the importance due them.

Please accept, Mr. President, the assurance of my highest consideration.



No. 330. Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Byroade) to the Secretary of State [Henry Byroade to John Foster Dulles]


Washington, June 5, 1953.


     Letter from Dr. Mosadeq to President Eisenhower

Henry A. Byroade (1913-1993) There is attached a copy of a letter from Prime Minister Mosadeq to President Eisenhower which was delivered to the President on June 5, 1953 by Ambassador Henderson. [Loy Henderson]

In handing this letter to the Ambassador for delivery to the President, Dr. Mosadeq said that it would be most unfortunate were the existence of the letter to become known.

The following are the principal points in the letter:

1. A recitation of the difficulties experienced by Iran, allegedly as a result of British attitudes and activities.

2. An expression of grave concern over the probable consequences of a further deterioration of the financial and economic situation in Iran, which deterioration can be reversed only by (a) the removal of obstacles to the sale of oil or (b) increased economic aid from the United States.

3. An urgent appeal to the U.S. for increased aid “if the American Government is not able to effect a removal” of the obstacles to the sale of Iranian oil.

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X (1989)

• Drafted by Arthur L. Richards, Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs, Department of State

• Notes by the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian:

“For text of Mosadeq’s letter, May 28, see Department of State Bulletin, July 20, 1953, p. 74. Eisenhower’s reply, delivered to Mosadeq on July 3, followed the line of policy agreed on at the June 19 meeting; for text, see ibid. See also Document 332.”

“A handwritten note by Byroade on the source text reads: “Sec: We will give you a draft reply as soon as possible.” According to a memorandum of a conversation held in the Department of State on June 19, among Matthews, Bowie, Waugh, Schaetzel, Raynor, Jernegan, Richards, Stutesman, and Ambassador Henderson, it was decided that a reply should be drafted for the President to send to Mosadeq that would politely refuse his request for immediate increased economic aid but would not burn any bridges in case, at a later date, the United States might wish to make budgetary and economic aid available to an Iranian Government. (888.2553/6–1953)”

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