Bugs Baer, Irrepressible Jester
He’s Got More Iran Gags Than You Can Stand

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | September 7, 2021                     

“...Mossadegh has the Iranian oil situation under his thumb. It’s down to a grease spot.”

Arthur “Bugs” Baer with Marilyn Monroe and Milton Berle

Arthur “Bugs” Baer (1886-1969) was a consummate American humorist. A screenwriter, playwright, columnist, author, sports journalist, cartoonist, master of ceremonies and man about town, Bugs was always the man with the perfect quip for every occasion. And when it came to the Iranian oil bugaboo, that occasion was constantly.

As soon as Iran hit the front pages in the early 50’s, Bugs saw comedy pay dirt, dishing out Mossadegh gags like silver dollar pancakes at a church social. In fact, probably no one could match the Iran-focused output of that rascally pundit, not even the State Department’s very own frustrated comedian Vernon A. Walters.

The Bugs formula was simple: less polemical, more comical. Wordplay, puns, free association, random wingdings, monkeys in a barrel...just a string of playful, relatively inoffensive one-liners in your morning paper.

Here’s a collection of Bugs Baer hiccupping the news in his widely syndicated column distributed by Irritating News Service (INS). Go ahead and read as much as you can stomach, and if at any point you feel woozy, just remember — he’s only kidding.

May 27, 1951

Trying to figure how the Atlantic Pact guarantees the defense of Iran which is on the Persian Gulf. We went overboard for Lafayette in Europe, for Livingstone in Africa, but what do we know in Asia?

The Commies are after that Iran oil field and are pulling more strings than a rug weaver. England has a regiment of paratroopers ready to talk things over.

That’s just about the words and music for another waltz with the tackling dummy.

We cannot turn this thing over to the state department. Its cocktail hour is slopping over now.

June 21, 1951

Premier Mohammed Mossadegh must have been perston-ished to get one of Mr. Truman’s diplomatic letters on the Iranian oil hassel. Mohammed probably didn’t even know that Margaret sang. [Harry Truman once wrote an angry letter to a music critic who reviewed his daughter Margaret’s performance]

Anyway, yours of the eleventh received and contents dully noted. Snafu reigns supreme and the future is going to the bat with a wet mop.

Harry’s letters can straighten out a circular stairway or balance the works by twisting a ladder. But that epistle to the Iranians didn’t do the English any more good than an egg in the hemlock.

The only thing that can help the English in Iran is delay and postponement. That’s admitted as freely as a man with a ticket for the balcony.

July 16, 1951

It’s a tough prediction to make but actual chances of world peace are smaller than the third bite at an olive.

The oil of Iran constitutes the words and music for plenty of corrugated diplomacy. England has sure lost some important pieces out of its jig-saw empire.

You cannot plaster the blame on the State Department anymore than you can blame our forest rangers for careless campers.

There’s always going to be trouble. There’s always going to be somebody to start it. And with Samson all we can say is, “Once over lightly, Delilah.”

August 18, 1951

Iran never had a Cold War but it sure ran up against refrigerated business competition. It grabbed the English oil concession last March and doesn’t know where to put it.

The Premier of Iran is now called honest John Mohammed. He stole the elephant and brought it back because he couldn’t feed it.

Truman’s homeless ambassador, Averell Harriman, is trying to straighten out that hairpin. He reminded Mohammed Mossadegh that all excursions are round trips.

We may be able to referee this Oriental incident at the vanishing point where the Occident meets the accident. It’s none of our business. But that’s our biggest department.

August 31, 1951

You can buzz right now that Iranian Premier Mossadegh is as sincere as a bartender with a wet mustache. Nobody can accuse Mossy of giving England the old oil.

That lovely babble of many tongues brought no more results than a wink in the dark. If Mossy does business with England, the local assassins have promised to cut off his head and throw it in his face.

There’s a couple more Arabian assassins playing touch tag with Farouk on the Riviera. The old man of the mountains must be in business again. The killers are promised wine, women, and song in a paradise that has an all-night license.

Just like happy days in New York and Chicago.

September 4, 1951

Our trouble shooter in Iran and Mr. Mossadegh were never in danger of a head-on collision while nodding. [Averell Harriman]

That’s because the Iranian assassins have briefed Mossy. If he signs up, his career will be very brief.

That leaves the English oil concession deader than two barrels of salted herring.

From Iran, our man called on Marshal Tito and was welcomed like a long-lost fiend.

Peculiar thing about our foreign policy. A round-trip ticket is our calling card.

Caesar unloaded, gandered and hit three plums. Our Caesars accomplish about as much as a boy washing his face. Just a lick and a promise.

October 12, 1951

England must feel about our friendly help in Iran like the little man who lost the dollar.

A big fellow offered his assistance in searching for it. At the end of a hopeless quest the big man said, “You act like I took it.”

The little fellow said. “I ain’t saying that. All I says is I might have found it if you hadn’t helped me to look for it.”

Just change the names, dates and place and have it countersigned by Hossein Waggin the Iranian deputy. We’ve been a big help to London. [Hossein Fatemi]

There’s a first time for everything. And the Washington Democrats may find there’s also a last.

October 17, 1951

No essence of reasonable doubt that the original old Iranian Mossadegh has given England a Hobson’s choice in a jungle.

We acted as third man in that love match. England couldn’t have done worse than a tornado grabbing a rabbit by the big ears.

From now on we have the diplomatic status of a gingerbread man. It’s never invited to a party more than once.

To slap a bonnet on the climax, the Egyptian mamelukes are voting England loose from the Suez Canal. Who’s engineering this wash-out? Is it possible that the fine Italian hand has bear claws on it?

[He recycled the first line on December 31st: “Old Iranian Mossadegh has given England a Hobson’s Choice in a lion’s cage.”]

November 5, 1951

Winsome Churchill is a very fortunate statesman. He has enough enemies to make a cabinet.

We’re not saying those fellows hate the ground Winsome walks on. They love it so much they wish Winsome would walk much faster and farther.

We’re making our second guess first when we prophesy a third world war. When Winsome is at the helm, the tail follows the cow. And there hasn’t been a time in his storm-spangled career that there hasn't been more grief than gravy.

This time Winsome can be choosey. Iran, Egypt, Indochina, and Korea give him his choice of wars.

December 13, 1951

Iran started something when it poured trouble on the oiled waters. It still doesn’t mix.

The petroleum priorities mean no more than a polo handicap on the Bowery. Looks like Mossadegh will back down like a paper-hanger at lunchtime.

Iran is fresh out of money since Mossadegh turned its oil fields into a bird sanctuary.

You know how the whole thing will wind up? The investigators will discover somebody saved the oil and lost the crankcase.

January 8, 1952

Mossadegh, the Bey Wonder of Iran, forgot to pull in his neck the last time they yelled timber. Old woodenhead had his country’s oil ear-marked for evaporation.

Mossy can spare the rod and still fish with a line. But he has no more customers than a barber chasing the headless hossman.

When England pulled out its tankers, Mossy was left holding the bag. War doesn’t stop Churchill’s slogan for the East. It’s no business as usual.

Each day the Bey Wonder’s position gets tougher. When he finally talks turkey it will be for the wings and the neck.

February 24, 1952

Egypt Won’t Be Gyped

Those Chicago archaeologists can put that ancient Iraq civilization right back where they found it. We’re having enough trouble with this one.

Not an oiled wheel has moved in the Near East except in Mossadegh’s noggin. Trying to figure it out will make you as batty as a guano cave at twilight. When they’re hooting you everybody understands the language.

Mossadegh has busted Iran flatter than an inner sole. Over in Cairo the Egyptians are handling the Suez Canal pretty much like our politicians would.

They intend to get their price or fill it in and make it a boulevard.

August 4, 1952

The Old World staged a couple of mild applications of the direct primary. And after lamping what happened to King Farouk we ask for waivers on it.

First the nonsubsidized Iranians slapped the direct whammy on Mossadegh Pasha when he poured burning words on their oiled waters. [Mossadegh resigned and was replaced by Ahmad Ghavam]

Mossadegh was in and out like the cuckoo who got tangled up with the minute hand. [Ghavam lasted three days before Mossadegh returned after the 30 Tir uprising]

Iran was a going concern when Mossy got in the driver’s perch. Which way it went was no concern of his. The Iranians are a little bit of all riot. They ran Mossy until he realized a whirling dervish must lose a lot of back collar buttons.

He is Premier again because there is more oil in Mossadegh than there is in Iran.

His inaugural statement was: “I am in favor of the direct primary if they let me direct it.”

King Farouk got in the way of an Egyptian direct primary and doesn’t intend to go back for his toothbrush. [Overthrown in July]

Farouk lost fair and square. The other side broke more windows than his side.

You don’t have to be knocked cold for cooler heads to prevail. Or do you?

August 24, 1952

Oil for the Lumps of Iron

Guess we can waste a Sunday column on that fellow Mossadegh Mahalma Googara, the Iranian narghile addict. [A hookah pipe. Mossadegh didn’t partake]

Mossadegh’s queerosis in interviews is because he is an epileptic. He will throw a wing-ding at the drop of an old colonial turban. [He did not have epilepsy]

Some reporters seem to think Mossadegh winds his turban too tight. The truth is Mossy is a whirling dervish who got rusty. [No turban either, of course]

All that oriental gimmicking in Iran is probably sponsored by Gromyko, the walking delegate, or some other Russian tourist. [Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Permanent Representative to the UN]

Mossy engineered himself into the driver’s seat via the caboose route. Now, he is in control of everything that’s out of control.

He plastered a writ of reasonable kumshaw on English oil companies. And promptly wrecked Iran with improvements.

Russia doesn’t need the oil of Iran any more than you need a whip-socket on a sewing machine.

But it loves to louse up to the nines. You can figure Russia with a hand in everything but crocodile pool.

Mossy forgot that the big oil pipes end at tidewater. And that England still rules the waves with a two-foot yardstick.

England pulled the string on her tankers and left Mossy higher and drier than a tin-roofer in Hades.

Mossy is head man in Iran with the oil backing up to his ears. They say a Texan has bid for the oil of Iran. He will find it all in Mossy’s hope chest.

P.S. One of England’s tankers is named Bombardier Wells. The old horizontal heavyweight is figuring whether that’s a compliment or not.

September 9, 1952

Call Him Tex Mossadegh

For ways that are dark and tricks that are vain it looks like Mister Mossadegh has gone Asiatic.

The mountain wouldn’t come to Mossadegh so he went to the movies. The dishes are still in the sink.

After seeing the tall-hatted Texans prowling the joint Old Mossy tried to work three dents into his turban.

But he’s doing business with nobody and has the works tied up like a washed-out trestle bridge.

Seems that Mossy old bucket nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil works. When you nationalize an industry in Iran you put it where the potatoes won’t freeze.

Winsome Churchill and Harry Truman calibrated a mash note to Mossy. The old boy is an epileptic and changes the subject by throwing a wing-ding. He’s harder to handle than live bait.

Our state department wants the Iranian oil to dilute our rich Texas oil. But Mosseroo is as coy as a bride with 11 veils.

There have been some marauding Yanks stalling around the Tehran terrain offering bribes in habit-forming quantities.

The reason Mossy has chopped off so many Persian heads is because every official carries his money in his mouth.

That’s the picture over in the land of the turban and the nargileh. That’s a bubble bath taken through the nose.

September 22, 1952

Notice that the State Department is taking up American passports for Egypt. That doesn’t bother me any. I’m busy trying to get a permit to cross Fifth Ave. during the rush hour.

It’s easier to parade up Fifth Ave. than to cross it.

That’s got nothing to do with our foreign policy. It’s getting further and further away from us.

That Iranian on business is another tough one for our trouble shooters. Mohammed Mossadegh is a guy who won’t take yes for an answer.

Taking it all in all we should have left it alone. Beware of package deals wrapped as gifts.

You know about the police action in Korea. Is that a beat for a cop?

December 24, 1952


Do you remember Winsome Churchill paying us a visit late in January? He wanted to know if we cared to enter a regatta in the Suez Canal.

In April the crackpot brigades and lunatic fringes broke out the banner with the strange device. Mossadegh the Bey wonder of Iran bugged up the works by confiscating oil and nationalizing the deficit. Mossadegh talked turkey with Churchill and got the neck.

January 26, 1953


We are doing some middlemaning over in Iran where Mossadegh gathers no oil. We will split them up on a meteorological meridian and let the latitudinal Moslem dervishes have a whirl with the longitudinal Hindoos.

February 19, 1953

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, Oily Khan Mossadegh is still too close.

The old Iranian Bey scoot hatched another crisis just when things were looking up like a plane spotter.

Mossy is the Iran man of Irania. He’s worked up a peevishness against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company that only money can heel.

The English are willing to meet Mossy half-way and pay his half. But Mossy is the original fellow who won’t take yes for an answer.

Since the argument boiled over there hasn’t been enough Iranian oil to flood a pocket lighter.

In the last interview with Anthony Eden the tough old Iranian insisted on an interpreter who didn’t speak English. [British Deputy Premier]

So they called in U.S. Ambassador Henderson to pour oil on the burning waters. [Loy Henderson] He promised Mossy ransom, kick-backs, discounts and bonuses. But Mossy hates the oil company since he caught Winsome Churchill running a vacuum cleaner over his prayer rug.

The American impartial moderators in the dispute have the confidence of the British. The British are confident we’re trying to grab the oil for ourselves.

And between you, me and the difference, that’s exactly what those big hatted Texas lads are doing. Iran is about twelve thousand miles from Texas. But those wildcatters have bored deeper than that at home.

That’s the picture up to now subject to notice without change. Mossy is the kind of a stubborn guy who won’t tell the soda clerk what kind of flavor he wants.

The probabilities are the Americans will arbitrate the deadlock so well it will become permanent.

Then an American firm of consuiting engineers will run the Abadan refinery for Mossy. A friend in need is a friend in need.

March 25, 1953

Foreign Affairs Pyramiding

Our ambassador to the Cairo night clubs is trying to referee the argument between Egypt and England. Which puts us in the middle like a flea in a dog fight.

Our stake in Africa is as important as England’s. We have an option on another picture in the Kasbah.

The Suez business is just another of our far-flung responsibilities. Next time let us fling ’em a little further.

We’ll probably do all right in Egypt. We refereed England’s troubles in Iran. Now Premier Mossadegh is talking with a Texas accent. And has wired Stetson to make his next self-winding turban.

Our foreign affairs are never as bad as they seem. They’re worse.

April 5, 1953

Eden Getting Worse in Iran

Mossadegh celebrated the new year by leafing over an old turn.

Mossy is having trouble with his boy pashas. He’s advertising for a new one to sleep out.

America is moderating that dispute but it’s no dice.

Mossy is tougher than midnight for Cinderella. The more oil we pour on the troubled backwash the less gets to England.

Mossy is in the driver’s seat again. Even though the hosses are facing the wagon.

He got a favorable decision from a Venetian court on England’s blockade of Iranian oil. He is the most ambitious Iranian in the muddled East.

We have it on unrepeatable authority that Mossy wants to go down in history as the oil Khan.

The Eden-Mossadegh dealings are at the chin level. Now it’s Eden worse than we thought it was.

The dispute has been percolating for two years with no more results than bouncing radar off the moon.

May 20, 1953


Nobody answered Mossadegh’s Iranian agate lines for a boy pasha to sleep out.

But two other Bagdadian Cub Scouts made the grade in the Near East. Faisal the Twice is Duke of Iraq. Hussein the Once is King of Jordan.

Both are eighteen, were educated in the London suburbs, like American movies and operate a bottling works for Jinns.

These are not the square-face Jinns of Holland. They were created 2,000 years before Adam. And gang up in Ebli.

Iraq is neighbors to Iran where Mossadegh holds forth. The first three are America, England and Russia.

Iraq and Iran are loaded to the refined Plimsoll soil mark with oil. It is the eighth great sea. Those two countries are greased to the hubs. They have the smoothest avalanches in the world.

Iranian petroleum is slightly stagnant now because Mossadegh played both ends against the middle like a man eating corn on the cob. He is playing footsies with Russia while hugging Italy and exchanging billet-doux with America. [love letter]

But the oil of Iraq is running as loose as Chinese writing. Iraqian oil is offshore, inshore, in the hills, the dales, leaking out of cylinders and stacked up in barrels. There is so much oil in Iraq it gets into their salad.

The other boy pasha in Jordan has not from nothing. [King Hussein] His subjects are non-taxable. When you can fold your tens like the Arabs you take the lease with you.

We figure Faisal has all the best of it. [King Faisal II] He is the last word in Iraq, is a tough guy to shave in a sandstorm, and rooted for the Bums one afternoon in Brooklyn.

In the non-negotiable interim Mossadegh has the Iranian oil situation under his thumb. It’s down to a grease spot.

May 21, 1953

Mild Men of Borneo

Once Mossadegh of Iran advertised for a Boy Pasha to sleep out, there have been complications in the Orient. They chased the Sultan of Zulu so far out on the limb he ran out of toe holds.

Somebody pulled the plug on the Gikwar of Baroda and the Khedive of Egypt didn’t make the squad in the last shape-up.

Did you ever think there would be breach of parliamentary procedure in Borneo? Hamid the Twice of West Borneo just got ten years in clink. Charge: Picking up a coconut with the wrong foot.

All this dissatisfaction throughout the old world is stacked on our democratic way of life. Once they get on the preferred list, the Borneos don’t want to pay for anything.

The milder Borneos accused Hamid the Several of plotting against constituted authority. The jungle is zoned against manufacturing. Hamid conspired to shrink heads in the residential quagmires. Hamid has already done three years of the ten.

May 28, 1953

Mossy Gets A Toe Hold On Trouble

Got some diplomatic flip-back on the Iranian situation. We had written that Mossadegh Mohammed had advertised for a Boy Pasha to sleep out. No rolling stones gather under Mossy. He’s as firmly set as a pivot tooth.

Right now he is the Oily Khan of Iran with a toe hold on the footprints of history. He has made more trouble than a shilling in an electric light socket. He blew the works.

There was a mysterious Texan around that neck-of-the-woods. He disguished himself by not wearing a hat. They buzz [illegible] who put Mossy on that remuda of high horses. A Texan doesn’t think he owns the earth. He thinks he just owns what’s in it. And he comes closer than egg on your bib.

Iran has the biggest oil cracking conservatory in the world. By his superior diplomacy and high level dumbitity Mossy has managed to bring on a sandstorm of roach powder. You’ve got to have tankers and pipe lines to operate as a going concern.

Mossy was up Salt Branch with seaweed in his hair when England pulled out its petroleum flotilla. But if Mossy wants an unused viaduct we can locate one for him. How about that Scotch pipe line that ran from Glasgow to New York during Prohibition? Mossy sure did himself proud when he got the Boy Pasha, England, and America sore at him with one impromptu ukase. It broke a record for three hot-foots with one match.

However, there is a possibility that Texas will take over for England, same as it did in World War II. That will save Mossy’s face. It’s wrinkled enough to use for a card index.

That’s all my man knows about Iran. Mossy ran him out of there. What they call jet expulsion.

In the non-refundable interim Iran is on its hubs. It has plenty of oil but no market. Like the old lady in the street bus it has a seat. But no place to put it.

June 12, 1953

The World’s Troubles In Painted Pins

Wandered into the little old red schoolhouse where they had put a gloss on my ignorance. Same old desks, same old blackboard, same old battered world globe.

Remember when teacher used to point out dots of interest on the egg-shaped ball? The earth is flattened on both ends. Same as the pupils. She would aim the bamboo baton at various local stops and explain what grew there, about the people and the climate.

It’s all different today. The globe is porcupined with colored war pins.

“The Chinese live here,” teacher was gossiping, “when they’re home. Right now they are every place but there.”

“This is Africa where the Mau Maus cut off your head and throw it in your face.”

“This bright little pin is Iran. It is ruled over by a man named Mossadegh who doesn’t like the English and always will.”

“There is oil in Iran but its principal export is Englishmen.”

“Over here is a neat little spot for trouble. It is Indo-China where the French are in more hot water than breakfast eggs.”

“The trouble with Unga-Wam-bosi is the natives have gone native. So we will pin them and proceed to Egypt where the Suez Canal pays an extra dividend at high tide.”

“The Khedive of Wadi-Wadi is shooting everybody on sight. And using a telescope.”

“Fact is, children, the only quiet place in the world is in back of a post in an old-fashioned theater. But you cannot stick pins in strangers.

That swarm of pins is Europe which is split up the back like a hog in the smoke-house. If we knew how much trouble there was going to be, we would never have stopped the war. That’s about all for today, children. Class paroled!”

September 7, 1953

United Nations should fire its talent scout.

Meetings are getting as monotonous as home cooking.

We could have used old Doc Mossadegh throwing a wing-ding in his pink silk pajamas. Whatever became of Ellie Roosevelt? Has she settled down on a flying saucer? [Eleanor Roosevelt was a United Nations delegate from 1946-1952]

Truth is the UN is air-conditioned optimism. Diplomacy is a dime a dozen in Iran. Mossy ran the Shah off the reservation. The Shah saw Mossy and raised him ten.

Muscles are also trump in Egypt, there is co-operative rioting in Morocco and we still have 500,000 troops in Korea. They are not wearing high silk hats.

Don’t be mizzled by the earphones on the diplomats. We happen to know they’re hooked into Muzak.

We have to pep up UN. Book Japanese jugglers, Arabian acrobats, Hindu snake charmers and dancing girls from Cairo.

Give two shows a day and sell popcorn in the lobby.

The boy Shah went in for some absentee patriotism that is booked as a win for the western world. Victory is on the side of those with the most proclamations.

Why not invite the Shah of Iran over to give us a short travelogue with illustrated slides?

There is only one way to get peace in this best of impossible worlds. Makes the plebiscites more exclusive.

September 16, 1953

The old new Shah of Persia has flatly and soberly started his promised reforms. The country first, himself second.

Mohammed Pahlevi’s regime is already a rare democracy. He says , “I want money and I don’t care whose picture’s on it.” [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi]

This is a Kinsey report on finances. Which means the glorious U.S. of A. has another chance to cast its pumpernickel upon the blue lagoons. [The Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Female had recently been released]

The Shah’s inaugural complaint was the shortness of his abdicatory hegira. His swindle sheet shows the Excelsior, Rome, owes him a kick-back for three unoccupied days.

The Minister of Finance has been ordered to bring around some samples.

The treasury of the true behoovers is as empty as Napoleon’s hat. But the finest thing that has happened to Iran is the Stalin mustache has gone underground. The barbershop’s in the cellar.

“Mossadegh’s pink pajamas are no longer the uniform of the army,” said the shah, “but the palace safety deposit vault is an echo chamber.”

“The last treasury note was a demisemiquaver. We are scraping the bottom and you can’t spend barnacles.” That is the frankest statement since grandma was turned down for insurance.

There is oil in the lumps of Iran for sale to the nearest bidder. The shah is loyal to America. He will sell the oil to anybody who pays him in our money. There’s a financial problem that will make Barney Baruch put another slat in his park bench. [Bernard Baruch, famed financier, Presidential Adviser and former Truman appointee]

Let’s re-arrange our diplomatic appointments. The shah needs money and Perle Mesta has most of it. [Socialite and supporter of Pres. Truman, who made her Ambassador to Luxembourg]

September 29, 1953

Just about two years ago we compiled a Bugography of Premier Mossadegh. He was the Bey Scout who tied one thousand knots in the Lion’s tail.

“At no time in the diplomatic shambles,” we wrote in early October, 1951, “Did Mossy have the slightest intention of giving England the old oil.”

Mossy was influenced by the upsurge of the Assassians who threatened him with that old Oriental game of whatever-became-of-you? Mossy absorbed the hint in a soupcan of his own perspiration.

Being of an Eastern mentality, his mind followed the twists of his turban. He was epileptic and threw wingdings from a standing start. You can stave that off with the candy they call hasheesh.

Mossy was a volunteer fireman on the nose of the nargileh. A squad of modern bottle imp went gunning for Mossy where wall maps were victorious on the scale of a mile to a pin.

The Iran Underground had tunneled under Mossy who escaped by thumbing a ride on the phantom caravan of intrigue.

He was playing ball with Moscow while Acheson roamed and while Byrnes fiddled. [Dean Acheson and James F. Byrnes, Truman’s current and former Secretary of State]

Mr. Acheson was so busy not turning his back on Alger Hiss he couldn’t see the building for the foundation planting.

This is one of those cloak-and- dagger scenarios on the London-to-Bagdad tram-line. If England is itself again we suspect it was Winsome Churchill, Bart, who threw that moth on the magic carpet.

Mossy trickled the Iranian oil business down to a gargle. Mossy sold the Iranickers a moose on the hoof.

Acheson booked us on the wrong side in 1951. Now we have another opportunity to approach the problem downwind.

The way to beat the Iron Curtain is to have a better show on our side.

October 11, 1953

It’s a man’s world.

Looks like our best Far Eastern bet is to renew the option on the crises.

We have had to reverse the old formula of scratching a Russian and finding a Tartar.

Now you scrape the Tartar and discover the comrade.

No successful peace conference was ever held on a parallel. It would be as astonishing as seeing wire-walkers four abreast.

The fuel bill for the cold war is as out of proportion as rabbit ears on a mouse.

Mr. Dulles is the Phineas Fogg of diplomacy. [Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days (1872)] Nothing is too serious for Dulles to pack a picnic lunch for.

He’s back and forth like a waiter in a short-order restaurant. And our only alternative is another alternative. The trouble with the Far East is it’s too close.

We got a break in Iran when Mohammed Mossadegh started using safety pins on his war map. Pretty soon the geologists expect to discover oil in an English tanker.

We’re doing all right in Egypt since we permitted Strong Man Naguib to fish in the Suez Canal provided he doesn’t use bait. [Mohammed Naguib]

We’re boosting France in its Indo-china hassel. [Vietnam] But we consider it a breach of hospitality for the French to capture more prisoners than we can feed.

That’s the world picture today. Subject to notice without change.

November 1, 1953

Masterpiece in oil.

Last we heard of Mossadegh the Second is that is where he finished.

We saw a picture of Mossy bivouacked on a trapdoor with a rope around his neck and the hangman awake at the switch.

Somehow Mossy beat the rap because his oil policies still dominate Iran. Meaning that the English bottoms have no tops.

Secretary Dulles has Herbie Hoover Jr., at the Anglo-Iranian has set with orders to classify the chaos into negotiable disorder. [John Foster Dulles and Herbert Hoover, Jr.]

Premier Zahedi is the new oil Khan of Iran and is anxious to polish a few brass tacks. It was Whistler who said twilight turned oil tanks into mosques and derricks into minarets. [Fazlollah Zahedi]

Which is a beautiful rolling thought that gathers no mossy. The fact is the ex-premier’s gimmicks still influence the fezzed intellect.

Young Hoover is stacking up against a government handcuffed by ingrown superstition and national formulas. Those Tehran mobs can really get parading downhill.

The biggest oil export in two Iranian years had sardines in it. Maybe young Hoover can get the Persians singing, “Let’s roll out the barrel.”

Even our Texas wildcatters didn’t do so good over there. A Texan feels that three dents in his hat is par for the course.

If Hoover Jr. can get the spigots buzzing he will be Mr. Fixit for 1953. Iran and England both need a moderator. You never saw a cat fight refereed by another cat.

That’s the score after two years of confiscation. Mossadegh would have gotten better results stealing a bagpipe from a Scotchman. Provided he hired the Highlander to come along and play it.

November 25, 1953

First two rows at Mohammed Mossadegh’s trial were occupied by Iranian reporters and Turkish photographers. They ran justice American-style with popcorn in the lobby.

Nobody knew the value of publicity better than the epileptic Mossy. He never threw a wingding that was out of focus.

The old Premier came to trial in a nasturtium set of pajamas trimmed with sleigh bells.

All he was accused of was upsetting the status quo, fishing in the Shah’s goldfish bowl, streeting parliament and ringing up fares on a curve.

Mossy pranced, played leap-frog, hollered wolf for two hours and finally did a back-bend into a saucer of cold coffee. Exactly like the Commie mouthpieces in front of Judge Medina. [Harold Medina]

No doubt at all those Iranians are quick studies. They learned etiquette from movie shorts of the Three Stooges.

It’s those two rows of newspapermen that herds my goals. We hope Chief Justice Warren [Earl Warren] remembers that the next time the Supreme Court runs previews of the Gabor gals. [Actress/socialites Eva, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor]

Mossy’s trial was for his life. Which wouldn’t be a laffing matter if it wasn’t for Mossy. Just two years ago he took a $2,000,000,000 racket and rang up no sale on the exit turnstile.

The four F’s in England do not include forgive and forget. For two years the Anglo-lranian Oil Company has been staging weasel races in its pipe-lines. Mossy never reached the heights of Louis the Dozenth, who said, “I am the state.” [Louis XIV of France] With Mossy it wasn’t a state. It was a condition.

Anyway, it's all over now. In the words of Confucius, never try to make a nine with three threes.

December 21, 1953

Iranian motto for this wonderful holiday is peace on earth and oil to Britain.

Nevertheleast, the British are as cautious as a wolf smelling smoke. They will resume diplomatic relations with their smog masks on.

This week they are ready to muscle in on the Iranian oil reserves. Last week they figured the way to solve the oil hassel was to boil Mohammed Mossadegh in it.

Both sides are willingto let bygones be bygroans.

Mossy had a scheme to sell Iranian pump plasma to the Kremlin. His favorite tune was “Red Sales in the Sunset.”

When Mossy became the victim of Oriental courtesy the British asked Texas to moderate the argument. But Texas is loaded. And willing to let wells enough alone.

January 14, 1954

Two gentlemen who did not overlap into 1954 were Premier Mossadegh, of Iran, and Comrade Beria, of Moscow. [Soviet politician Lavrentiy Beria]

Both schemers made the mistake of staying in the drivers seat after the horse had been stolen.

Beria played the parlous game of Russian roulette with a seven-man Moscow line. And will be included in the next census as an asterisk.

There are various versions of Russian roulette but Beria chose the toughest.

Mossadegh didn’t go the full Derby route. His Iranian confreres voted him three Persian years in the clink. It’s the old burlesque bit of nailing the magic carpet down.

May 7, 1954


All that Premier Mohammed Mossadegh asks about the new Iranian oil line is they put the main valve in his cell.

Five big American tame-catters have mushroomed over Mossy’s head like a Yucca Flat cloud. [Nuclear testing site in Nevada]

Way back in 1951 Mossy nationalized the oil industry in Iran. He wanted to be known as the Oil Khan.

That marked the finish of the Anglo-Iranian concessions in the close East. Mossy had rubbed the gold plate off Aladdin’s wonderful flashlight.

One more turkey shoot like that and Iran was down the drain. Not a wheel turned in the whirling dervish district. Mossy was looking for a toe-hold on a prayer rug.

The Shah and Churchill suggested importing a panel of Texans referee. But cooler heads prevail. The Texans are in there now with Shell, Standard Oil, Gulf, Anglo-Iran, [Anglo-Iranian Oil Company] Compagnie des Petroles. Socony Vacuum and proxies. [Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954]

You had better study up your piastres, ducats and rimbos. They might start a price war. That’s the end of Mossadegh’s Iran - for - the Iranians movement. Too many Iranians joined it.

[Alternate version, after the 5th paragraph]

He has thrown wing-dings, established a hunger strike, wound his turban anti-clockwise and knocked himself out bowing to the East.

But he came out the little end of the horn. And he wasn’t playing the tune.

Is there a moral in Mossy’s trick debacle ride? Yes, never carry a bundle by the string.

May 22, 1957

Come to think of it isn’t Nasser cooking with Premier Mossadegh’s butter? Mossy was the Man in Iran who threw epileptic wing-dings from a standing start. [Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser]

When Mossy got through with Iranian oil the only pipe-line running was on the Sultan’s nargileh.

That left England higher and drier than herbs in the attic. Mossy was playing footsies with the Kremlin on the Moscow-Baghdad axis.

He had been traded so often a-used car lot was sacred ground to him. About that time Acheson couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Churchill had his hands full and no palms hot.

Mossy did exactly what Nasser is doing now. He played both ends against the middle like a carpenter carrying a sixteen-foot plank.

Nasser is re-running the 1951 picture in wide screen. Mossy got his come-uppance and so will Nasser sure as twice two is twice too.

England will muddle through this one too. You cannot down the nation that invented the folding opera hat.

Iran According To Ed Sullivan (1951-1954)
Iran According To Ed Sullivan (1951-1954)

Search MohammadMossadegh.com

Related links:

IRAN SNIPPETS | More Rim Shots From the Mossadegh Era (1951-53)

Potomac Fever | Novelist Fletcher Knebel on Iran (1951-1953)

Filling in the Gaps: How Newspaper Layouts Squeezed Every Last Inch

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

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