When Two Tribes Go To War

October 12, 1951 — The Lethbridge Herald

The Mossadegh Project | June 22, 2015                    

“...Britain naturally and with all justice feels that she is deserving of something better than the callous treatment she is receiving.”

When Britain brought the United Nations into the Anglo-Iranian oil fracas, Iran claimed the UN lacked jurisdiction. In a lead editorial, this Alberta, Canada newspaper strongly disagreed, fully siding with Britain while making absolutely no mention of the Iranian position — legitimate or not — in the matter.

Not An Iranian Problem

Ailing Premier Mossadegh of Iran is soon to appear before the Security Council to plead the case or his country in the oil dispute with Britain. It is a foregone conclusion that he will tell his audience that the United Nations has no right to interfere in the dispute, that the trouble is purely an internal one which can best be solved by the two disputants.

The premier is wrong, and he undoubtedly knows it. Iran’s oil fields were developed by Britain and have been manned by Britishers for many years. The fields provided Britain with most of the oil she needs, and, as an industrial nations, [sic] she needs many millions of barrels a year. In recognition of Britain’s pioneer work in the fields, Iran granted her long-term leases. A few months ago, without notice, she announced that she was no longer recognizing the validity of the leases and was going to nationalize the fields.

With the above background, it is obvious that the dispute is not one which can be solved by the two disputants, when one of them holds all the trump cards. After all, it is not as if Britain was demanding that she retain complete control of the fields. All Britain wants is first claim to the oil sold by the company, some say in the management and policy of the company she developed, and a share in the profits. Having poured millions of dollars into the development of the fields, Britain naturally and with all justice feels that she is deserving of something better than the callous treatment she is receiving.

When all the implications are considered, the dispute obviously comes under the heading of United Nations’ business. Any disagreement which can result in war between two countries is important enough to receive UN attention. No alternative course is open or should be considered. Peace in the Middle East is threatened and will continue to be in jeopardy until the oil dispute is taken out of the hands of Britain and Iran.

Richard Stokes’ Second Thoughts on Iranian Oil (1951 Letter)
Richard Stokes' Letter to Clement Attlee, Aga Khan Concurs (1951)

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Related links:

UN Last, Best Hope Left For Settlement In Iran | Battle Creek Enquirer, Oct. 1, 1951

Bigtime Horse TradingThe Knickerbocker News, July 26, 1951

British Chickens Come Home At an Embarrassing Moment | Marshall News Messenger, 1951

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

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