The Devil At The Doorstep
July 19, 1951 — As the Earth Turns

The Mossadegh Project | September 21, 2021                     

As the Earth Turns — Commentary on World Affairs was a weekly column by D. G. M. Jackson (aka “Sulla”) which ran in several Australian Catholic newspapers. Each edition contained some half dozen separate editorials on a variety of international news items, with an emphasis on foreign relations.

Australian media archive

As the Earth Turns — Commentary on World Affairs

The Desperate Situation in Persia

IT will be something like a diplomatic miracle if Mr. Truman’s special envoy, Averell Harriman, is able to settle the oil dispute. Already the British have gone the utmost possible length in the direction of concession. They have accepted the principle of nationalization, and suggested how it should be carried out. Britain was to surrender all its Persian assets — a billion dollars' worth — to a Persian National Oil Co. [National Iranian Oil Company] This company — entirely Persian-owned — was to contract with an operating concern under joint British and Persian control in the management of production. Britain was to pay Persia 28 million dollars at once, and 8,400,000 dollars monthly thereafter until the conclusion of the new pact. This offer was flatly refused by Premier Mossadeq, who exacted a unanimous vote of confidence from the Majliss (Parliament) for his “all-out nationalisation with no strings” policy. [Majles]

Throughout the crisis, of course, Moscow has been “pulling the strings” of the agitation through, her agents of the “Tudeh” Party, and nothing but the strongest policy had the least chance of succeeding. Mossadeq is not free to make terms even if he wished to do so; his position is undermined, and the whole country is thoroughly “infiltrated” by Red agents, who have plenty of money at their disposal for use in provoking nationalist violence. [How does he know?]

Early in the dispute, the British authorities showed some sign of “toughness,” but their resolve quickly evaporated into new and vain “appeasing” capitulations, in spite of the parade of military preparations. There followed the comedy of an appeal to the World Court which Persia treated with contempt, and now all is set for complete British evacuation.

The Western Powers are anxious, of course, to avoid, giving Russia any pretext for action under the terms of her 1921 treaty with Persia; but the U.S.S.R. looks like winning without taking any action of the kind, as the result of an internal crisis of bankruptcy. There are 60,000 oil workers who stand to lose their employment; and the result will certainly be serious riots, expanding into a revolutionary situation which Mossadeq is not the man to control. The Red “Tudeh,” the most strongly organized political group in the country, stands waiting at the door — and it looks as if, before many months are over, Moscow may have a new satellite at her command.

Richard Stokes’ Second Thoughts on Iranian Oil (1951 Letter)
Richard Stokes' Letter to Clement Attlee, Aga Khan Concurs (1951)


Related links:

Crucial Stage In Persia | The Advertiser, June 22, 1951

Iran and the World Court | The Shreveport Times, June 26, 1951

Nationalism And Oil | The Argus, June 22, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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