“Credit” Where Credit Is Due

August 9, 1954 — The Milwaukee Journal

The Mossadegh Project | November 26, 2013                    

Following the oil consortium agreement in Iran, this was the lead editorial in The Milwaukee Journal on Monday, August 9, 1954. Founded in 1882, the newspaper merged with The Milwaukee Sentinel in 1995, becoming The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Iran Oil Consortium | Archive (1953-1954)

A Step Ahead in Iran

Settlement of the Iranian oil dispute is the second bit of good news the free world has had in a month. The first was the agreement of Britain and Egypt over the Suez military base.

Expected results of the Teheran pact are these:

Early resumption of oil production at the giant Abadan refinery which has been idle three years. Establishment of Iranian solvency and a greater measure of internal stability. Bridging of one of the most critical gaps in the anti-Communist defense line—that between Turkey and Pakistan which tempts Soviet Russia into oil-rich Arabia and the historic Russian goal of warm water ports on the Persian gulf and the Indian ocean. Further stabilization of the restless middle east.

Another result, exclusively beneficial to American taxpayers, should be lightening of a heavy financial burden. In the last year, the United States has spent almost $100,000,000 in a “crash operation” to uphold the Iranian economy and maintain a friendly government in power until an oil settlement could be reached. Income from Abadan oil should soon have Iran on its own.

There will be no rejoicing in Moscow about this latest news. Russia has had covetous eyes on Iran for centuries. The Soviets kept troops in the northern provinces after World War II until President Truman insisted vigorously that they leave, as promised. The Communist Tudeh party almost rose to power a year ago what it supported the then prime minister, Mossadegh, against the shah and Gen. Zahedi, [Fazlollah Zahedi] now prime minister. The Reds were so confident that they had proclamations printed declaring the formation of the Iranian People’s Republic. [allegedly]

Credit for settlement of the thorny oil problem goes to many people. To the shah and Gen. Zahedi, certainly, for slowly and carefully bringing their people to realization of the need for a realistic settlement. To the British who, although stubborn too long, finally took the lead in negotiating an honorable compromise. To the eight oil companies (five American) and their representatives who assumed unusual responsibilities with pledges to operate Abadan and market its oil as a mutual endeavor.

Several Americans deserve the highest praise for this successful effort to keep Iran’s 20,000,000 people on the free side of the Iron curtain. Ambassador Loy Henderson was “the honest broker” who never lost faith that settlement could be reached. William E. Warne, dynamic director of the United States operations mission in Iran, [Point Four] planned and supervised the “crash operation” that has kept the bankrupt economy alive. Herbert Hoover, jr. worked out the intricate details of the eight company oil consortium and the final agreement.

Certainly credit goes to President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles. [John Foster Dulles] They did not despair of Iran. They did not hesitate to pour more funds into the country. This was one time the free world was not “too little with too little”.

All is far from perfect in Iran, of course. A tremendous job lies ahead. Mossadegh, who wanted no compromise of any kind on the oil problem, still lives and has many backers. The Muslim fanatic, the Mullah Kashani, [Ayatollah Seyed Abolghasem Kashani] opposes the Zahedi government. The Reds are underground, waiting their chance.

Iran needs drastic land, tax, financial, social and educational reform if it is to be jerked into this century.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954

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Related links:

Fingers Crossed | The Schenectady Gazette, August 11, 1954

Agreement in Iran | Amsterdam Evening Recorder & Daily Democrat, August 11, 1954

Racine, Wisconsin Columnist Tex Reynolds on Overthrow of Mossadegh | Aug. 20, 1953

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

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