Half A Loaf For Iran and Britain

August 27, 1951 — John Franklin Carter

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | October 13, 2023                      

We, The People was a syndicated newspaper column by one Jay Franklin, the pen name of John Franklin Carter (1897-1967).

A journalist and author of over 35 fiction and non-fiction books, Carter had also worked as an NBC radio broadcaster, State Department economist, confidante and informant for FDR, speechwriter for President Truman, and even a spy for the U.S. government.

For an in-depth account of Carter’s secret life of espionage, see this article by Steve Usdin from the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence, June 2021:

John Franklin Carter’s Career as FDR’s Private Intelligence Operative

Jay Franklin Says:

Breakdown at Teheran
Major Diplomatic Failure

We, the People

John Franklin Carter (Jay Franklin) The British proposals to Iran for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s future under nationalization may, as reported, have been generous and practical. Their rejection by Premier Mussadegh recalls one of the famous stories about the late Clarence Dillon’s reputation as a reorganizer of corporations in the 1920’s.

According to the tale, Mr. Dillon died and went straight to Heaven. He was welcomed with open arms and rushed right up to the Great White Throne, where the Almighty assured him that his services were urgently needed. Heaven, it seemed, had become a little old-fashioned and inefficient so would Mr. Dillon please study the lay-out and submit a report for putting Heaven abreast of the times. In due course, Dillon reported back to the Great White Throne and submitted his recommendations. God read them attentively and then congratulated the former Wall Street investment banker on the thoroughness and imagination with which he had outlined the necessary measures for a thoroughgoing reorganization of Heaven. “There is only one thing in your report that I don’t quite like, Mr. Dillon,” said Jehovah. “That is the section which refers to Me as Vice-President of the new set-up.”

No matter how Richard Stokes sliced the British proposition on oil, Premier Mussadegh always found that it ended up with Iran being the vice-president and Britain the boss of the nationalized Persian oil industry. [sic—Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh]

One of the minor casualties of this fizzle at Teheran is no other than Mr. Averell Harriman, Mr. Truman’s personal emissary to straighten out the oil dispute. It was necessary to send Harriman since the President had irresponsibly discredited American Ambassador Henry Grady by announcing his dismissal in order to accommodate Mr. Chester Bowles as our envoy to India.

To make room for this deserving Democrat, Roy Henderson was to be transferred to Teheran from New Delhi and Grady, who knew the Iranian situation, was to be fired. [sic—Loy W. Henderson]

It was believed in Washington that Mr. Harriman was being warmed over to replace Dean Acheson as Secretary of State and that Harriman’s expected success in Iran was part of the build-up to put in the State Department a man who had shown he knew how to deal with the Asiatics. However, when the chips were down, Mr. Harriman backed up the British demand for British control of the nationalized Iranian oil industry and the whole bright dream went up in smoke when Mussadegh and the Iranian Parliament turned it down.

So now it looks as though the British government and the Iranians alike are going to forfeit even the half-loaf that seemed the best that either of them could salvage out of the seizure of the great British oil concessions in South Iran. The Iranians will lose the royalties with which to pay the army and police that threatens civil war and chaos, to the eventual advantage of the Communists. The British also will lose the sterling exchange from the sale of Iranian oil in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and this means, in turn, a serious gap in the sterling blockade by which London has channeled and excluded American trade since the war.

If, as expected, American oil is required to make good the loss of Iranian oil in Europe, even Dean Acheson will scarcely insist that American oil shall also be used to supply London with the exchange by which it has controlled the commerce of Eastern Africa and the Middle East, including India, to our disadvantage.

With Egypt still in a position to block use of the refining facilities at Haifa, it looks as though the whole of the Near East were now about to be plunged into a major crisis again. The breakdown at Teheran is thus a major diplomatic failure on the part of the West, due to the West’s refusal to recognize the force of Asia’s demand for an end of European imperialism, wheather of a political or an economic character.

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Related links:

State Department Must Walk Softly in Persia | Jay Franklin, March 8, 1953

New Drama of Tehran Only Part Of Broad and Terrifying Pattern | Alsop Brothers (1953)

Attitude of Shah Concerning His Present Position | CIA, March 16, 1953

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

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