Anxious In Abadan
Oct. 12, 1951 — Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate

The Mossadegh Project | January 5, 2021                          

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)

Initiative Now With Persia

Through finessing for political effect at home and miscalculating Dr. Mossadeq’s durability as an opponent under pressure, instead of taking a stand firmly based on principle, the British Government has allowed herself to be put on the defensive in the oil dispute. The position now is that Britain is to ask the Security Council to call on both parties to the dispute to resume talks. To this Persia is able to reply that she has constantly reiterated her desire to continue negotiations and that Britain has been the stiffbacked party.

In mid-August, following the Harriman mission, [U.S. envoy Averell Harriman] Britain submitted in Teheran an eight-point plan for settlement based on recognition of the nationalisation law, and including terms for Anglo-Persian cooperation in production and distribution. To this offer, Persia gave a “qualified rejection.” Mr. Stokes, the leader of the British mission, then crystallised his terms for cooperation in one demand—that the British staff at Abadan should be under a British manager. [Lord Privy Seal Richard Stokes] This was stated to be the best and final offer. On its rejection, Mr. Stokes went home, emphasising that it was tip to Persia to make a fresh approach. A month later, another set of proposals came from Persia, but the Foreign Office announced that they contained nothing new and were therefore rejected. It now transpires that the final offer did, in fact, introduce two new proposals, which at least gave ground for renewed discussions.

The British Government either misunderstood the significance of the new proposals or regarded consideration of them as unnecessary in view of the growing opposition to Dr. Mossadeq in the Persian Parliament and the likelihood of his fall from office. That appears now to have been a serious blunder. It was followed by the withdrawal of the British staff from Abadan, which brought the Attlee Government under severe criticism. [Premier Clement Attlee] It also meant that Britain had to take the initiative in bringing the dispute before the Security Council, whose jurisdiction was doubtful and where it was by no means certain the British case would sound better than Persia’s.

Persia is anxious to negotiate on outstanding points, which she regards as being the type and form of compensation and the structure and function of the future management of the Abadan refinery. She is anxious to have the British staff back, is willing to supply Britain and other former customers with oil, to have half the British payment held to provide compensation, and to examine bases of compensation that have applied in large scale nationalisation procedures in other countries. She is also willing to appoint a foreigner in charge at Abadan. Britain’s desire to reopen negotiations is indicated in the motion to be put to the Security Council. The points now at issue could scarcely be the subject of a direction from the Council, and Britain does not ask for such direction. In these circumstances, it would be in the interest of all if the proceedings before the Council were kept to formal limits. Otherwise the effect might be to create new complications which would be disadvantageous to Britain and Persia as well as to the nations, including Australia, which need supplies from Abadan.

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


Related links:

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

Australia and the Middle East | The Advertiser, Oct. 15, 1951

In the Grip of Fanatic’s Vice | The News, September 1, 1952

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

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