U.S. Prepared To Bargain In Mid-East
Constantine Brown — September 8, 1952

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | May 6, 2014                        

Here’s a (sometimes preposterous) take on developments in Iran and Egypt by writer Constantine Brown, the conservative former Chicago Daily News foreign Bureau Chief and nationally syndicated columnist. In 1935, he co-authored The American Diplomatic Game with colleague Drew Pearson, and in 1964, penned his memoir The Coming of the Whirlwind. Brown’s wife, Elizabeth Churchill Brown, was also a journalist.

Iran Offers Almost Hopeless Problem

By Constantine Brown

Columnist Constantine Brown WASHINGTON—The State Department is trying its best to keep Iran and Egypt out of the Communist column and fight back Moscow’s efforts to bring both those countries under its domination.

Iran presents an almost hopeless problem. Its aging Prime Minister Mossadegh would like to mend Iran’s badly damaged economic fences and work out a compromise whereby some millions of dollars could be poured into the almost empty treasury. He appreciates the fact that the first American-British offer of a “loan” of $10,000,000 is not final, but represents a willingness to bargain. Bargaining is a fine art in the Orient and no deal, be it the purchase of a side of mutton or the sale of a large property, is worth while without prolonged and loud haggling over the price.

While Mossadegh is reported to be willing to apply this fine art in his deals with the United States and Britain, he is handicapped by the thinly veiled threats from Moscow and its agents within Iran. Mossadegh knows only too well that any indication that he favors settlement, in Iran’s favor, of the dispute with the British might result in his being ousted from office or assassinated by fanatics controlled by the Kremlin’s agents.

Nominally Mossadegh controls the Majalis [sic—Majles] (lower house of the Iranian parliament). But in fact the majority of the members take their orders directly or indirectly from the Soviet Embassy in Tehran. Mossadegh knows that the Americans and British would be willing to up considerably the ante of $10 million. We know that an offer of $40 million to $50 million would be welcomed by the Premier, who hasn’t enough money in the government’s treasury to meet the payroll for the army and police force. But we also realize that he cannot move freely lest the fanatical nationalists who work in close co-operation with the Communists do away with him as they did Gen. Rasmara, [sic—Ali Razmara] the strong man of Iran, whom they assassinated in 1950 [1951].

The State Department offers to continue to bargain and discuss in the faint hope that someday conditions may favor us and the Iranians will end the present crisis which threatens the Middle East.

The situation in Egypt is entirely different. Gen. Mohamed Neguib, [sic—Mohammed Naguib] who ousted the ludicrous King Farouk, is still the main power.

The Egyptian government needs America’s support, however. In spite of the Communist propaganda the United States still has some prestige in that country.

Neguib has made approaches to Washington for economic help to tide the country over the period of important agricultural and social reforms. Because of political differences with London over the presence of British forces on the Suez Canal and the Egyptian rights in the Sudan the Cairo government is loath to appeal to London for economic support.

It is true that Moscow has made some offer of help but the Egyptian leaders fear Trojan horses more than most countries in the Middle East. The Cairo government is far from being well entrenched. Besides the powerful Wafdist nationalist party a number of other minor parties which have operated subrosa [meaning in secret] in the past have made their appearance. The Muslim brotherhood which demands the rewriting of the constitution on the lines of the Koranic law has made some progress in the country since the overthrow of the king.

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Related links:

Old Man And Young Man | Stewart Alsop, December 10, 1951

Rich of Egypt, Iran Are Near Tax Troubles | James Marlow (AP), August 14, 1952

Iran Seen U.S. Asset | Associated Press, January 12, 1953

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

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