Supply Chain
May 17, 1951 — The Queensland Times

The Mossadegh Project | June 9, 2020                           

Lead editorial about Iran in The Queensland Times of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.

Australian media archive

The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Queensland, Australia)


ECONOMIC interests in far-flung countries have always been a source of danger as well as of strength for Britain; but such interests are essential to her development as a world power. To relinquish any of these interests would mean the curtailment of Britain’s capacity as an industrial nation. That is the main reason why the British Government considers it is essential to retain its hold of oil supplies through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

Britain has warned Persia of the grave consequences if that country takes over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and the Secretary of the Parliamentary Oil Committee in Persia has issued a counter-warning that if the company does not hand over its installations to Persia it might be responsible for the outbreak of another world war. [Hossein Makki] Persian oil is Britain’s greatest single overseas investment and her biggest asset in the Middle East. Naturally Britain will fight to retain its interests to the last extreme.

There are many dangerous aspects in the situation. One writer describes the circumstances leading to the present demands as a tangled chapter of Persian politics in which intimidation, Moslem fanaticism, Communism, and national emotion have all played a part. Nationalisation has, in fact, brought the oil company to the end of its existence, yet it is carrying on because the Persian Government still has to work out the details of nationalisation. It is questionable whether this move will be for Persia’s good, because the Premier (Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh) and his Government have not so far revealed any business ability to manage such a huge undertaking. Also there is the fact that the company has been a substantial source of revenue for Persia.

Mossadegh has made the nationalisation of Persian oil his lifetime ambition. His “National Front” Party is weak, but it has become the spearhead of emotional nationalist feeling. It never had more than eight seats out of 130 in the Majlis. Mossadegh adopted tactics of frustration and stone-walling aided by a series of weak Governments until, in the confusion following the assassination of Razmara, [Premier Ali Razmara] the “National Front” came forward with a proposal to nationalise oil which, as a result of threats and outside pressure, was unanimously carried, and Mossadegh was elected Premier. This background does not provide conditions favourable to capable handling of Persian affairs and it has brought about the present international complications.

Added to the danger is the fact that Soviet Russia has always been a threat to Persian independence and will be ready to secure some advantage from the present situation. In fact, Russia has already moved quickly in this direction. The Russian Ambassador [Ivan Vasilievich Sadchikov] was the first foreign diplomat to see the new Premier and talk things over with him. That in itself is not a satisfactory sign for Britain. The situation would not be so full of dangers if Britain were dealing with capable statesmen under conditions of mutual trust, but unfortunately that is not the case and Britain will have to proceed with the greatest caution and at the same time with firmness.


Related links:

Britain Humiliated | The Advocate, October 5, 1951

Persia Is The Real Loser | The News (Adelaide), March 18, 1952

Mussadiq Digs In His Toes | The Sydney Morning Herald, December 29, 1951

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

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