Dear Prudence

September 2, 1952 — Newcastle Morning Herald

The Mossadegh Project | January 6, 2021                      

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

Australian media archive

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

The Shadow For The Substance

Dr. Mossadeq’s rejection of the Churchill-Truman formula for settling the oil dispute appears at first glance to be the reaction of a strong man who knows exactly what he wants and where he is going. [Winston Churchill and Harry Truman] On closer examination, his attitude suggests something else. It is that he is so obsessed with gaining a victory over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in a precise, calculated form, that he is unable to recognise the accomplishment of his objective in any other form. Mr. Churchill and President Truman regarded their offer as a gesture that Dr. Mossadeq could not do other than grasp. It reflected American and British appreciation of the danger of prolonging the dispute and allowing Persia’s political and financial crisis to persist. It was, on Britain’s part, a retreat from earlier stands. On America’s, it represented a fair compromise that condoned Persia’s desire to own and control her oil resources. At the same time, it gave Dr. Mossadeq a means of placating troublesome elements among his supporters, offered a prospect of resuming world trade, and a way of getting the Abadan plant back into full production. Not only that—there was provision for immediate financial aid to Persia and for the lifting of all restrictions on her trade and financial dealings.

Persia is still under a curfew and martial law imposed by Dr. Mossadeq. Official salaries are long in arrears, the Administration is piling up a deficit, and the promised new order for the under-privileged majority has been long in abeyance. The prospect of finding, without British aid, foreign markets for Persian oil under the nationalised regime, especially since the development of new sources is rated much higher in Teheran than elsewhere. [sentence seems incomplete] Moreover, violence is a constant political factor, and can be checked only with difficulty. In view of these conditions, it might have been expected that Dr. Mossadeq would seize an opportunity to overcome the immediate crisis and lay the foundations for a flourishing, nationalised oil industry on which could be based the programme of reform that was supposed to have been the main reason for ousting the company. Instead of viewing the offer in this light, Dr. Mossadeq is prepared to throw away the substance it affords. He wants no outside body to arbitrate on compensation. He wants to drive a hard bargain with the company himself and take the chance of losing forever the services of British technicians.

To the point or excluding prudence, reason and equity, Dr. Mossadeq has made popular resentment against foreign exploiters of oil the dominating motive in Persia’s politics. It is doubtful if he has even the beginnings of a domestic policy or if he could hold his place as Prime Minister once the focal point of administration changed from the fulfilment of his oil policy to the enforcement of contentious social reforms. In one sense he is in a strong position to ride high in dealings with Britain and America. He is violently opposed to British interference in Persia’s affairs. But he is also unwilling to let Russia take over or gain from the dispute with Britain. It may be that he is reluctant to have the oil controversy resolved until he sees his way clear to deal with domestic issues that are growing in urgency and from which the struggle against foreign exploitation is a valuable distraction.

The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable
The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable


Related links:

Grim Turn In Oil Dispute | The Daily Examiner, September 2, 1952

Dilemma Over Persia | Newcastle Morning Herald, August 23, 1952

Mossadegh Snarled In Twin Dilemma | The WORLD This WEEK, September 6, 1952

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

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