Too Little, Not Too Late

November 25, 1951 — The Muncie Star

The Mossadegh Project | March 2, 2022                      

An editorial on Iran in The Muncie Star newspaper of Muncie, Indiana, one of two published that day. The first was titled A Proposition for Iran.

The Muncie Star (Muncie, Indiana)

At Last, Common Sense

Assistant Secretary of State George McGhee has proposed that Iran’s government make a deal with some large, outside oil company to operate its nationalized oil industry. This belated move to solve the British-Iranian oil dispute is a common sense idea. It should have been done long ago.

The United States should have suggested it before the British were forced out, before bitterness made calm negotiations possible, before we ourselves became embroiled in this explosive dispute. If the United States had proposed months ago that another oil company, possibly even an American oil company, operate the Iranian oil industry, we could have prevented precipitate action by Iran and at the same time put pressure on the stubborn British who thought they could intimidate Iran into accepting their proposals. We could have acted as an impartial mediator between the two nations instead of tying ourselves to British policy and thus sharing in the nationalistic antagonism that Iranians directed against the British. But Secretary Acheson decided to wear the old school tie and sent his millionaire diplomatic hand-me-down Averell Harriman to back the British to the hilt and to withhold an American loan to Iran to add to the pressure of the British. [Dean Acheson]

Both Britain and Iran can accept this third party proposal to their profit. The British will get oil and fair compensation for the properties that have been nationalized. Iran will gain control of its oil and a larger share of the profits. Iran needs technical help to run its oil industry. If the government won’t accept British terms, it must get such help from another big oil company.

Mr. McGhee and other American diplomats should do their best to persuade Britain and Iran to accept this proposal. It is a common sense plan, unusual in the American State Department, which can go a long way toward returning stability to the Middle East.

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


Related links:

Grave Danger in Iran | The Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 30, 1951

“Do you think Iran should be bailed out and if so, why?” (Aug. 1952)

Britain and Iran | Sunday Royal Gazette (Bermuda), July 8, 1951

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

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