Fundamental Weakness
August 23, 1952 — Newcastle Morning Herald

The Mossadegh Project | June 15, 2020                             

Lead editorial on Iran in The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate newspaper of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Newcastle is the site of the world’s largest port for the export of coal.

The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia)

Dilemma Over Persia

Since the days of Hitler, British people have taken a deep dislike to anything that savours of appeasement. If a compromise has to be accepted, they want to be sure that it is not merely in response to illegal actions or loud-voiced threats, also that it does not prove a vain gesture. Submission to Persia’s demands is therefore difficult because the British Government has not departed from its stand that the nationalisation of the assets of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company is confiscation, and there can be no guarantee that an understanding with Persia will achieve its purpose, and that now is to save Persia from a Communist coup that would place this vital strategic area under the direction of Soviet Russia.

The last Persian Note did not break new ground. Persia offered to negotiate with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company — not with the British Government — in terms of the oil nationalisation law of May 1, 1951. That was no advance on previous futile negotiations. Nor was there any noticeable change in the spirit of the Note. There is the suggestion, however, that the British Government is being subjected to urgings by the United States to come to the best understanding that is possible. The American Ambassador in Teheran [Loy Henderson] was reported to have discussed the possibility of resumption of negotiations with Persia and to express the view that he was more hopeful than ever. At the same time, there has been no indication by Persia of any willingness to depart from her previous demands.

The British Government is in a dilemma. Its only course is to accept the discussions offered in the Note and to hope that Dr. Mossadeq will make some concession that will help Britain to save face before the rest of the world, and especially before the countries of the Middle East. That might be possible through an agreement on compensation, while the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company maintains, although ineffectively, its legal rights.

The outlook of Persia is bleak. Dr. Mossadeq is aged and in poor health. There is nobody else who could even attempt to negotiate with Britain. Another veteran statesman, Ahmed Quvam, [Ahmad Ghavam] tried and had to submit in the riots of July 28. And all the time Persia is poised on the verge of bankruptcy. The Tudeh Party, which showed its hand in last month’s riots, waits either for Dr. Mossadeq also to fail or for the country’s economy to collapse, giving the Communists the opportunity to turn Persia into another Soviet satellite. The United States is apparently willing to holster the Persian Government, but there is a limit to the effect of external aid. It is the realisation of the fundamental weakness of the Persian Government that makes compromise to the extent of appeasement a doubtful gesture.


Related links:

Bleak Outlook In Persia | Newcastle Morning Herald, May 5, 1951

Mossadegh Snarled in Twin Dilemma | The WORLD This WEEK, Sept. 6, 1952

In the Grip of Fanatic’s Vice | The News, August 23, 1952

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

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