Regardless Of What It Does In Iran, The U.S. Will Be Criticized
July 31, 1952 — Ludwell Denny

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | June 1, 2021                    

A commentary on U.S. foreign policy toward Iran by veteran newsman Ludwell Howard Denny (1894-1970), who began as a Unitarian minister. Also an author, he wrote the 1928 book We Fight For Oil, much of which covered the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (then AIOC).

Denny’s column came days after Premier Mohammad Mossadegh returned to office after a brief interlude under Ahmad Ghavam, who was not mentioned but perhaps alluded to. The Oil City Derrick in Pennsylvania directly plagiarized much of it in their August 1st lead editorial “Threat of Trouble”, which did expand on the Ghavam episode.

U.S. Certain To Get Blame In Iran Crisis
America Can’t Satisfy Everyone

Scripps-Howard Foreign Editor

WASHINGTON — Whatever the United States does in Iran, we shall be blamed.

If we close our aid missions and get out, as the nationalists demand, we shall be accused by some allies and some Americans of inviting Stalin to take over a country which is helpless without us. [Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin]

If we try to keep our missions there—to train Iranian troops and police and to provide Point IV technical assistance—we shall be charged with provoking more anti-Western reaction and thus playing Stalin’s game.

Regardless of which we do, the British will go on saying we are largely to blame because we gambled on Mossadegh instead of supporting them whole-heartedly when he nationalized their oil last year.

And American critics will go on making the exact opposite charge—that we would have no trouble in Iran today if we had not tried to defend the unpopular British position there.

Obviously all of these criticisms cannot be right. Our government cannot be guilty of giving Iran too much aid, as the Reds charge, and of giving too little, as the nationalists claim. It cannot be guilty of running interference for the British and at the same time of running out on the British.

As a matter of fact, considering all the difficult circumstances, the American record in Iran has been pretty good. From the beginning it had to be a tight-rope act.

Allowing for a certain amount of inevitable wobbling in policy and for unseemly display of wealth by some American personnel in Teheran, even hindsight does not show how the job could have been done much better.

Certainly the inadequate Iranian army and police required foreign instructors and arms. They distrusted the British and the Russians even more. They wanted American instructors and arms, and if we refused we would have made enemies of them.

We have refused grants to fatten grafters. Our resulting unpopularity is to our honor.

As to our support of Britain, we upheld the sanctity of contract because vast American contracts are involved throughout the Middle East — including American holdings on Bahrein Island, illegally claimed by Iran. [Bahrain]

And for the protection of the strategic interests we share with Britain, we gave Mossadegh every chance to escape the Stalin trap.

America did not create the feudalism, corruption, nationalistic mania and religious fanaticism which have long cursed Iran and which are now weakening her for the Communist kill. It is no discredit to America that our help has failed to save her from a dictator, who is now afraid of his own terrorists. [He means Mossadegh]

We cannot force our help on an irresponsible Iran. But neither can we ignore her completely so long as there is danger of Stalin seizing the key to the Middle East and starting World War III.

This is one of our problems for which there is no quick answer. Stalin has been waiting this one out with the patience of a cat. We can lose by impatience.

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


Related links:

Iranian Oil Muddle | The Washington Evening Star, March 17, 1951

Iran’s Folly in Oil Row Leaves It Fertile Field for Red Exploitation | Brooklyn Eagle (1951)

Iranian Paper Hits U.S. Offer — Cannot Buy Nation’s Freedom, Editorial On Oil Dispute Says

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

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