Hot ’N Cold

July 26, 1951 — The Knickerbocker News

The Mossadegh Project | May 8, 2015                   

The Knickerbocker News of Albany, New York ran this lead editorial on Iran in 1951.

Bigtime Horse Trading

The blow-hot-blow-cold story of Anglo-Iranian oil negotiations has entered a new phase. At least a basis for negotiating a settlement seemingly has been achieved. Credit for this development is given to W. Averell Harriman, President Truman’s special envoy to Iran.

The American trouble-shooter apparently has devised a formula for the resumption of talks between Britain and Iran. Details have not been disclosed but the news that representatives of both governments are to sit around a common conference table is in itself encouraging.

As has been pointed out before, here and elsewhere, the advantages to both sides in reaching agreement far outweigh other considerations which are largely emotional. Iran, like much of the Middle East, is in the grip of an anti-Occidental convulsion. But when the choice is between national bankruptcy and dealing with the British, the latter should win out.

We have believed all along that the government of Premier Mohammed Mossadegh would teeter on the brink of suicide as long as it seemed profitable, then draw back. This latest development bears out that opinion.

There will be other alarms, perhaps, and the tension will die out slowly. But the two factions eventually will come to terms. What we’ve been watching is horse-trading on an international and multi-billion dollar scale.

The British have conceded Iranian ownership of the oilfields—which could hardly be denied, once the issue arose, because of the geographical location of the wells. Still in dispute, however, are such questions as management of the refineries and division of the profits.

The British contend, and with full justification, that Iranians lack the technical skill to manage the plants; the Persian government takes a dim view [of] losing control of the oil as it flows into the refineries.

This, like the matter of profits, is not an unsolvable problem. Compromise is possible, indeed imperative.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article


Related links:

Mossadegh Makes One More Bad Guess | The Daily Republic, July 18, 1952

Mr. Harriman’s Mission | The Buffalo Courier-Express, July 16, 1951

Harriman Must Show Great Diplomatic Ability | Edgar Ansel Mowrer, July 16, 1951

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

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