Iran Guinea Pig For Point 4 Program
Constantine Brown — August 12, 1952

The Mossadegh Project | March 25, 2021                           

A review of U.S.-Iran relations by Constantine Brown, former Chicago Daily News foreign Bureau Chief and nationally syndicated columnist.


FDR Saw Iran As a ‘Clinic’

By Constantine Brown

Columnist Constantine Brown The Point Four mission and activities which are today under such heavy fire in Iran stem from an American concept of aiding underdeveloped nations which actually had a real beginning in Iran itself.

Although Point Four as such was a declaration by President Truman in his inaugural address of 1949, it was a re-expression of a philosophy that had cropped up in various forms in the words or writings of the late president Roosevelt. [Franklin Delano Roosevelt]

Mr. Roosevelt made his only visit to Iran for the Teheran Conference in the Fall of 1943. While there he became intrigued at the possibilities of revitalizing a land and an economy that possessed valuable natural resources and a population that might be taught to improve itself. He held several consultations on the subject while in Teheran.

One, with the late Harry Hopkins and Dr. Arthur Millspaugh, an American economist who was serving as financial adviser to the Iranian government, resulted in the drafting by Dr. Millspaugh of a 20-year program of American aid.

In an accompanying letter to Mr. Hopkins, Dr. Millspaugh wrote that he had drafted his program in accordance with “the proposition that you and the President apparently had in mind,” namely, “that Iran, because of its situation, its problems and its friendly feeling toward the United States, is (or can be made) something in the nature of a clinic — an experiment station — for the President’s postwar policies — his aim to develop and stabilize backward areas; that the present American effort in Iran is actually a means of implementing those policies, a means of helping nations to help themselves, with negligible cost and risk to the United States, and that a similar effort might well be made in other regions.”

Another of these Roosevelt conversations on Iran was held with Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, then in Iran as a personal representative and ambassador-at-large for the President. General Hurley had taken a leading part in the drafting of the three-power (British-American-Russian) declaration pledging the postwar territorial integrity of Iran and promising consideration of the country’s economic problems.

On the day the President left Teheran he discussed with the general the outlining of a formula for American policy in Iran which could be used as a pattern in American relations with all less favored nations. In response to this request, Hurley later submitted to the President a program for strengthening and stabilizing the Iranian economy, developing the country’s resources and utilizing American advisers on a basis that could be financed by Iran itself.

When Mr. Roosevelt passed the Hurley recommendations along to Secretary of State Hull [Cordell Hull] he wrote:

“I was rather thrilled with the idea of using Iran as an example of what we could do by an unselfish American policy.”

While Point IV of today is the implementation of the Truman declaration, it is interesting that the first allotment of funds under the appropriation voted by Congress in the Spring of 1950 was one of $300,000 to Iran.

Actually, there has been a long history of American activity in Iran in the capacity of extending advisory services to the Persian government and people. The first of these dates back to 1911 when W. Morgan Shuster went to Iran as a financial adviser. Dr. Millspaugh first went there in 1922 and remained until 1927, returning in 1942. Before World War 2, American military missions were there to reorganize the gendarmerie and to train the army, and numerous other groups have been invited to Iran during the years.

With America becoming a favorite target of anti-foreign sentiment today, it is hazardous to guess how long the present missions in Iran will remain.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s Failure Offers Lesson in Industrial Behavior | Oct. 10, 1951

Remembrance of Glory Past? | October 16, 1951 editorial

U.S. Urged to Back Up Britain in Refusing to Let Iran Humiliate the West | Oct. 15, 1952

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

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