Heavy Traffic
September 12, 1956 — The Citizen-Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | May 8, 2022                      

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970)

Lead editorial in The Citizen-Advertiser newspaper of Auburn, New York.

Seizing a Tiger’s Tail

The British plan to set up an international association to protect the rights of users of the Suez Canal may avert the immediate danger of war only if it proves acceptable to Egypt.

British Prime Minister Eden, [Anthony Eden] in announcing that the United States has agreed to join Britain and France in setting up such an association, declared:

“This users’ association will be provisional in character and we hope that it will help to prepare the way for a permanent system which can be established with full agreement of all interested parties.”

The association would employ pilots and undertake the responsibility for the coordination of traffic through the canal. In return, Egypt would receive an appropriate payment from the association “in respect of the facilities provided by her.” And, “transit dues will be paid to the users association and not to the Egyptian authorities.”

On the face of it it appears to be a rather devious method of accomplishing just what Egypt has refused to accept — control by an international body. It would be surprising, indeed, if Egyptian President Nasser should agree to such a proposal. [Gamal Abdel Nasser] But unless he can offer other terms that will satisfy the users of the canal, he will be jeopardizing the welfare of his country.

In his own high-handed violation of the Suez treaty, Nasser was guilty of breaking a contractual agreement much as did Iran’s Premier Mossadegh when he seized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's wells in 1951. That, too, was a “triumph” of nationalism and anti-colonialism, but its immediate result was costly to Iran. Nasser must of necessity consider the same danger now faced by Egypt in seizing the canal he may very well have seized a tiger by the tail.

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:

Nasser and Mossadegh | The Kansas City Times, August 4, 1956

Mossy Come Home | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 6, 1956

Let’s Hope the Age of Reason Is Here | Meade County Messenger, Aug. 9, 1956

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

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