The Mad Nationalizer
December 13, 1951 — The Cornell Daily Sun

The Mossadegh Project | October 11, 2014                    

This editorial, owing a bit to Lewis Carroll, was printed in The Cornell Daily Sun in Dec. 1951. The student newspaper of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, it was printed every weekday during the school year.

Too Bad for You

The time has come, the walrus said
To talk of many things—
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings . . .
(Alice in Wonderland)

The press account of Tuesday’s meeting of the Iranian parliament reads like the script of a Cecil B. De Mille Hollywood extravaganza—complete with raging mobs, fist-fighting deputies, and general melee and confusion. Iran tests her independence, and for Premier Mohammed Mossadegh, to whom no one would be keen on selling a life insurance policy right now, his homeland is anything but a Wonderland.

So the time has come, the Premier thinks, to talk of many things—of oil purchases and economic revitalization, of U.N. World Court cases and American loans. Something has got to be done and done in the near future or (1) Mr. Mossadegh will be dead and (2) Communists will be in control of the Iranian oil fields.

As Stewart Alsop in the Herald Tribune points out, Mossadegh is using a form of blackmail on the United States and the free world— if this country does not dig up a loan for his government somewhere, he will be forced to give in to the Communists. The latter, sneers Premier Mossadegh, would be “too bad for us, but also too bad for you.”

Yet it would seem that the case is not quite so cut and dried. Monday’s announcement that Iran was willing to go before the World Court in the near future to defend her point of view against Great Britain—although she still refuses to recognize the Court’s jurisdiction to deal with the case—is quite significant coming from a government which, at the same time, is about to deliver an ultimatum to the Western powers that they must renew oil deliveries or else . . . the Russians will be invited to tap the resources. [no, Iran clearly emphasized that the West was the priority]

On the one hand, the Iranians seem more than conciliatory; on the other, they carry a stick that is a bit too large for them. There is a fantastic amount of confusion within Mossadegh’s government, as pressure is put on both internally and externally, and no one knows which way to turn, without getting hurt.

It has not taken the fanatic nationalists of Iran to discover utter futility of trying to squeeze funds out of an empty coffer.

The present Iranian government does not want to sell her oil to Russia, by any stretch of the imagination, for she realizes the eventual result of such a move—Iran as a puppet state. The only course for a crumbling nation lies in the World Court and mediation with the British, as gracefully as possible, if any fragment of Iranian nationalism is to remain ten years hence.

Uncredited cartoon from editorial page—December 13, 1951
Uncredited cartoon from editorial page—December 13, 1951

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article
Challenge of the East: TIME's 1951 Man of the Year Mohammad Mossadegh


Related links:

Mossadegh Acts Like A Madman | The Times Record, Oct. 2, 1951

Reserve and Recourse? | The Cornell Daily Sun, October 18, 1951

Knives For the Night | The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 15, 1951

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

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