Bubble, Bubble...

May 29, 1951 — The New York Post

The Mossadegh Project | June 6, 2021                      

A humble lead editorial on U.S. foreign policy and Iran in the widely read tabloid-format newspaper The New York Post.

Toil and Trouble

We have never held that Mr. Truman and Secretary of State Acheson are above criticism and on some days of the week we lecture them churlishly. [President Harry Truman and Dean Acheson] But there are also moments when we try to remind ourselves and other essayists that our trade is a lot simpler than the continuing ordeal of the policymakers. Although we have a natural infatuation for the sound of our own words, we recognize they must often seem empty things to men who confront one after another in the real world. On this day of our humility many specific case histories come to mind.

A few weeks ago, for example, the danger of military disaster in Korea overshadowed everything else. Then the tide dramatically turned in our favor. But even as the Korean horizon brightened a new crisis exploded in Iran. It seems to us perfectly simple to state the proper posture for an American diplomat in the Iranian affair. We are responsive to Iran’s quest for nationalizing the oil industry; but we are also aware that Iranian oil is vital to the defense of the free world. Any solution of the impasse must therefore be achieved 1) without thwarting the genuine Iranian passion for reform at home and 2) without cutting off western oil shipments.

Neither authentic Iranian interests nor those of the West can be maintained unless western technicians remain in key posts. All of which seems very simple. It is almost exactly the position outlined by Secretary Acheson week.

The difficulty is that rational solutions do not always resolve irrational upheavals. Having taken a distinguished stance, Acheson has no assurance that his words will be heeded any more seriously by the panicky political leaders of Iran than they are viewed at times in Washington.

We agree with Marquis Childs’ recent proposal for a U.S. Commission to Iran headed by Supreme Court Justice Douglas. [William O. Douglas] Such a commission, if put to work last winter, might have found real answers by now. Yet there is scarcely a chance that its proposals would have commanded sufficient support in Congress to surmount the obstructionists who always denounce predictions of trouble as a hoax on the taxpayers. In any case, such a commission can hardly produce overnight the answer so desperately needed now. Neither will the answer be found at the end of this column.

Meanwhile Tibet has fallen to the Chinese Communists without a serious argument. In western Germany the Nazism that officials minimized a few months ago is now conceded to be a lot more ominous than they originally guessed. Russian propaganda in India has been fed by know-nothings in Congress who have delayed U.S. grain shipments to the famine-stricken land. On Capitol Hill a substantial detachment of Republican troops still acts as if only real threat to civilization is the spectre of Dean Acheson. There is never a dull moment and nothing is ever quite as simple as it seemed when you sat down at the typewriter.

What Went Wrong in Iran? | Amb. Henry Grady Tells All (1952)
What Went Wrong in Iran? | Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 5, 1952

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Related links:

Regardless Of What It Does In Iran, The U.S. Will Be Criticized | Ludwell Denny, July 31, 1952

Iran and the World Court | The Shreveport Times, June 26, 1951

Iranian Oil Muddle | The Washington Evening Star, March 17, 1951

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

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