Common Front

June 22, 1951 — The Cortland Standard

The Mossadegh Project | September 15, 2014                    

The Cortland Standard newspaper of Cortland, New York, established 1867, published this as their only editorial on Friday evening, June 22, 1951.

Their top front page headline was BRITISH TECHNICIANS MAY RESIGN IRAN JOBS, with two AP articles on the crisis by Robert P. Hewett and Sam Dawson, and a center-page photo insert.

End in Iran?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Editorial
America Has a Lot at Stake in Iran

The Iranian government has pushed through remorselessly to the implementation of the law nationalizing the oil operations passed twelve weeks ago. Arbitration, under the terms of the sixty-year treaty signed in 1933, was refused. Negotiations between the government and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which had seemed to begin with a ray of hope, broke down. The President of the United States and the American Ambassador, Henry F. Grady, intervened in vain. Wednesday the English mission prepared to go home as the Iranian flag was hoisted ceremoniously over the Abadan refinery. Premier Mohammed Mossadegh had proceeded step by step along the dangerous road which the acerbated nationalism of his countrymen had opened up and which his own fanaticism had paved. He had reached what he considered his goal. But whether yesterday’s events marked an end, or merely the beginning of fresh confusions and disasters, could not have been clear even to Dr. Mossadegh.

It is perhaps useless at this juncture to question whether a more conciliatory attitude on the part of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company could have forestalled the crises, or whether bold concessions in the face of a wide popular movement, instead of rigid insistence on the terms of the sixty-year treaty, could have wrung from the Iranians a more just solution. The matter of chief importance now is that the oil wells and refineries be kept operating. The Iranian Premier has at least declared his intention—contrary to the wishes of the more extreme of his followers—to keep the oil flowing. Whether he can in fact do this is problematical. There will undoubtedly be strong pressure upon American technicians to take over the job; and Americans can make the plausible argument that anything is better than to have the Russians invited in. But our government has made its stand beside Great Britain, and it is not to be thought of that it will back down now.

At stake are not only the American oil holdings in the Near East, which will be almost inevitably subjected to similar pressures from a violent nationalism. To no less a degree the Anglo-American partnership, with all that it implies for the safety of the Western World, is at stake. There can be no masking the fact that a setback for the Western cause has been sustained in Iran, but this can yet be mitigated by Britain’s firm resolve to avoid force and by Dr. Mossadegh’s common-sense determination not to let the vast natural wealth of his country be dissipated through ignorance and folly. Beyond that, the common front presented by the United States and Britain is the best assurance that further setbackswill not multiply and pile up. That is the major consideration, and nothing in these difficult days should be allowed to obscure it.


Related links:

Persian Oil Crisis A Serious Threat | The Age, June 22, 1951

A Libertarian Perspective on Oil Nationalization | The Freeman, July 30, 1951

Impasse in Iran | The Cornell Daily Sun, October 1, 1951

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

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