Interview With Premier Mossadegh

September 9, 1952 — Kingsbury Smith (INS)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | July 29, 2022                    

Joseph Kingsbury-Smith (1908-1999) Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh gave this mundane interview on the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute by cable in Sept. 1952. Despite its brevity, it ran on the front page of various U.S. newspapers.

Joseph Kingsbury-Smith (1908-1999), head of the European bureau for International News Service, had also previously interviewed Mossadegh in person while reporting from Tehran in May-July 1951. A distinguished journalist, editor and publisher, he later earned a Pulitzer prize. His most famous interview was with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.

IRAN READY FOR NEW OIL SOLUTION PLAN — Wants Solution To Prevent Red Control — Premier Mossadegh Gives Views to INS In Questionnaire

Iranian Premier May Accept Plan
To Provide Oil For West

European General Manager, INS

(World Copyright, 1952, by INS. Reproduction in Whole or in Part Strictly Prohibited)

PARIS, Sept. 9 (INS) — Premier Mohammed Mossadegh indicated today a willingness to consider a new approach to the solution of the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute which might save Iran from Communism and permit a resumption of the flow of Iranian oil to the West.

In an exclusive statement to International News Service, the Iranian premier opened the door for possible consideration of the creation of an international company to handle world marketing of Iran’s oil.

Mossadegh further indicated a willingness to have part of the revenue of such an international company set aside to meet compensation payments for the British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company for the latter’s loss through nationalization of the concession to exploit Iran’s vast oil resources.

Wasting Time, He Says

Mossadegh also said he thought the American and British governments are wasting time when they proposed that the government of Iran should permit the Anglo-Iranian Oil company (AIOC) to act in the future as the world marketing agent for Iranian oil.

The implied offer to consider possible creation of an international company was made by the leader of the fanatical National Front Movement in a tersely-worded telegram from Tehran.

The message was in reply to a questionnaire this correspondent submitted to him telegraphically.

Here are the questions and the answers sent by Mossadegh in a radiogram dated Sept. 8th.

Q. Do you believe the Anglo-American proposal warrants reconsideration?

A. In answer to your first question, no.

Q. If not, why do you consider it not fair and reasonable?

A. In answer to your second question, the reason was given at my interview of Sept. 7.

(Mossadegh said at the time that Iran could not consent to arbitration of British claims for compensation, offered several “counter-claims” against Britain and branded as “interference” in Iran’s affairs proposals advanced on oil purchases in the Anglo-American compromise. He also flatly refused any consideration of the legal position of the AIOC before nationalization.)

Not Against Int’l Company

Q. In order to solve Iran’s oil problem promptly would you now be prepared to consider having an international company which is not British-controlled act as the world marketing agent for the Iranian National Oil Company? [National Iranian Oil Company — NIOC]

A. In answer to your third question, I am not against it.

Q. Would you be willing to have a moderate percentage of the revenue of this international company used to meet whatever compensation the government of Iran may eventually agree is due to the AIOC?

A. In answer to your fourth question, it is in accordance with the law enacted by the Majlis (Parliament) and therefore must be done.

Q. Do you think the British and American governments are wasting time when they propose that the government of Iran permit the AIOC to act in the future as the world marketing agent for Iranian oil?

A. In answer to your fifth question, yes, they are.

During the course of an interview with this correspondent in Tehran last summer, Mossadegh insisted that Iran was finished with the AIOC and never would agree to permit that company to resume operations.

At that time, Mossadegh hoped that the Iranian National Oil Company would be able to handle the marketing of Iran’s own oil and this appears to be the first time he publicly stated he would not be opposed to the idea of an international company.

Alternate titles:

Mossadegh ‘Receptive’ To Oil Deal
New Firm to Sell Oil And Pay Off Britons Acceptable to Mossy
IRAN READY FOR NEW OIL SOLUTION PLAN — Wants Solution To Prevent Red Control — Premier Mossadegh Gives Views to INS In Questionnaire


Related links:

Tension In Iran Eased By Dropping Of Sabotage Law | Kingsbury Smith, June 29, 1951

George Middleton's Letter to Foreign Office on Iran (Oct. 13, 1952)

Mossadegh Holds Match To World Power Fuse | Kingsbury Smith, June 10, 1951

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

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