On Sovereign Rights

May 30, 1951 — The Evening Sun (Letter)

The Mossadegh Project | December 20, 2022                   

Letter to the editor of The Evening Sun newspaper (Baltimore, Maryland) by Donald Edward Dettmore (1931-2006), who taught history, social studies and geography. It ran opposite their editorial Tehran Meeting.

May 30, 1951

The Forum

Iran’s Oil

TO THE EDITOR OF THE EVENING SUN—Sir: In these days when we are trying to oppose the forces of international communism in the world, it becomes increasingly necessary that we keep our own slate clean. It is up to us to prove to the other nations of the world that we stand behind our professed beliefs in freedom and democracy. It is especially necessary to prove this to the more backward countries of the world whose recent history has been full of exploitation by Western capital.

The concept concerned is not whether or not Britain has any legal claim on the Anglo-Iranian oil fields, but whether or not a foreign nation has any right to exploit the natural resources of another nation, no matter what the reason or excuse. The British might well point out that the fields would be mismanaged under Iranian operation, thereby causing waste and increased costs of production. This problem might be solved by having the English act as a junior partner in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and thereby still remain on hand to lend technical assistance in the operation of the fields.

Even if Iran would not agree to this or any other plan to ameliorate the problem, the violation of her sovereignty cannot be excused. Britain has threatened to send troops, if necessary, to force the Iranians to concede to her demands. How can we fight for the sovereignty of South Korea on one hand, and remain silent when a member of our own family is threatening the sovereignty of another nation?

Many people in Washington are worried that the conflict in Korea may lead us into a general war. Whether or not this will happen is a problem even the experts cannot solve. But if, on the other hand, Britain sends troops to Iran, we can be sure of the outbreak of World War III. Iran has a military treaty with Soviet Russia calling for the intervention of Russian troops in case of an attack on Iran by a third power. By opposing the British here, Russia would not only assure herself of the possession of the output of the Iranian fields, but she would enter upon World War III “in defense of an oppressed population.” Thus the war would start with Russia not only achieving a military victory, but also a very important diplomatic one.

It is high time that the American people awakened to the graveness of the situation and wrote to their representatives in Congress demanding to know why the Government has been so silent on so important an issue.

Baltimore, May 26.

EDITOR’S NOTE—Britain does not question Iran’s sovereign rights. The British have a contract with Iran and they object to its abrogation by unilateral action.

What Went Wrong in Iran? | by Amb. Henry Grady (1952)
What Went Wrong in Iran? | Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 5, 1952

Search MohammadMossadegh.com

Related links:

Mossadegh’s Immense Audacity | The Baltimore Sun, Nov. 15, 1951

At the Pit’s Edge | The Boston Globe, August 24, 1951

Terrorist Ties in Iran Denied | Letter to The New York Times, July 18, 1952

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram