“Plenty of Opportunity For Settlement”

Pres. Truman on Iran and Britain — June 28, 1951

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | January 21, 2022                    

U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

Excerpts from a press conference held by President Harry S. Truman pertaining to diplomacy between Britain and Iran.

Harry Truman letters, speeches, etc.

¶ The President’s News Conference of June 28, 1951

[4.] Q. Mr. President, the letter released a little bit ago from the Premier of Iran, asking for your support of the Iranian Government—do you support the Iranian Government—

THE PRESIDENT. I have the matter under consideration. I appreciate very much the Iranian Premier writing me as he did. [Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, in reply to Truman] The matter is under consideration. I can make no comment on the—as to action, at this time. I hope the matter will be settled. It is a serious situation, and there is plenty of opportunity for its settlement.

On June 28 the White House made public a letter to the President from Prime Minister Mohammed Mosadeq of Iran. The letter stated in part, “The Imperial Iranian Government has been duty-bound to put into force the law enacted by the two Houses of Parliament concerning the nationalization of the oil industry all over Iran and the modus operandi of that law in the quickest possible time.” The Iranian Government nationalized the oil industry on June 21. [No, nationalization was passed into law by Parliament on March 20, 1951, and finalized May 1st]

[6.] Q. Mr. President, on this Iranian crisis, if you were asked to mediate—or if you have been asked to mediate—will the United States agree to mediate?

THE PRESIDENT. We have not been asked to mediate, and I can’t make an answer to something that has not been done. That is a hypothetical question.

[19.] Q. Mr. President, may I ask for enlargement of your comment on the Iranian move? You said, I believe, there will be plenty of opportunity for settlement—

THE PRESIDENT. I said there is plenty of opportunity for settlement. I didn’t say there will be.

Q. What structures did you have in mind, sir? The World Court—the United Nations—

THE PRESIDENT. The company and the Government of Iran should get together—and the Government of Great Britain—and make an equitable settlement. [Anglo-Iranian Oil Company]

Q. Bilateral action?

THE PRESIDENT. It would be—the company and the two governments. And I hope they will do that. But I can’t get into the thing. It is not in my territory. It is not in my sector. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, that doesn’t mean that you are not using the—that you would not use every effort possible to bring about—

THE PRESIDENT. Of course we have been doing that right along. We have been using every effort possible to bring about a settlement, and we will continue to do just that.

Q. You are speaking of Iran, not Korea? [Ernest B. Vaccaro, Associated Press, aka Tony]

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am speaking of Iran. It will apply to either one.

You aren’t hot, are you, Tony? [Laughter]

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. [Merriman Smith, United Press]

THE PRESIDENT. It’s all right, Smitty.

NOTE: President Truman’s two hundred and sixty-eighth news conference was held in the Indian Treaty Room (Room 474) in the Executive Office Building at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 28, 1951.

• Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1951

Truman and Mossadegh’s First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)
President Truman and Premier Mossadegh's First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)

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Related links:

Pres. Truman “Most Disappointed” By Suspension of Iran Talks (Aug. 23, 1951)

Pres. Truman: “I’m always hoping for peace everywhere in the world” (Sept. 27, 1951)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower Press Conference — August 11, 1954

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