Over A Barrel

October 13, 1951 — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Mossadegh Project | June 2, 2023                     

An editorial in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper (Pennsylvania) on Britain vs. Iran at the United Nations.

Last Call for Britain?

IRAN’S BROAD HINT that she’s ready to talk again with Britain if this country can arrange it is encouraging news. It indicates that the oil crisis can be settled without lengthy debate in the UN Security Council, where the case comes up Monday. Such a settlement is much to be desired.

Britain, which is taking the matter before the Council has nothing practical to gain from a noisy public row. Indeed, her appeal to the UN has served simply to rally political elements in Iran behind Premier Mossadegh. What’s more, the UN could be a forum for Dr. Mossadegh to make a devastating pitch against British colonialism and for his country’s sovereignty. And, let us not forget, there is an opportunity here for the Soviets to pose as the champion of Iran and, indeed, of all new and nascent nationalisms.

This country would breathe more easily if Britain and Iran could still come to terms. Rather than permit strategic Iran to drown in her own oil, we should, of course, send our technicians to help the Iranians run their oil industry. But such a step, however essential for the safety of the West, would damage the Anglo-American alliance and it would be far better if we could avoid taking it.

Iran, whose treasury desperately needs replenishing with oil revenues, also has everything to gain from an early negotiated settlement — provided such a settlement respects her nationalization law. Our officials should now do everything to convince the British that since nothing can be done to save the Anglo-Iranian Company as such, they would be wise to take at least part of a barrel in Iran rather than stand on lofty principle and lose everything.

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Related links:

Last Card in Iran | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 28, 1951

Amb. Walter Gifford on Iran vs Britain at Security Council (1951)

How Britain Outsmarted Itself | Hamilton Butler, April 15, 1951

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

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