On the Edge

October 3, 1952 — Oakland Tribune

The Mossadegh Project | February 28, 2015                      

An Oakland, California newspaper probes Persian negotiating techniques in this Friday editorial, referring to a September 24th counter-offer made by Mossadegh to the joint Truman-Churchill proposals of August 30th.

In his letter, the Iranian Premier said that his government would agree to the judgment of the International Court for “Determination of compensation to be paid for property belonging to the former AIOC at the time of nationalization of the oil industry in Iran...”.

While they are entitled to their opinion of the note as “blustering”, it contained no “or else” phrasing, contrary to their claims.

An Ultimatum

October 3, a year ago today, the British oil technicians were evacuated from Abadan, in Iran. Last week, that exasperating statesman, Mohammed Mossadegh made his formal and not unexpected reply to the Truman-Churchill proposal for settlement of the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute.

The reply, as was anticipated, was a rejection of the Anglo-American proposal. What was surprising was that the reply came in the form of an old-fashioned diplomatic ultimatum—complete with a deadline. The blustering note contained the demand that the British accept the Iranian counter-proposals within 10 days—“or else.”

We are left to wonder what the “or else” can possibly signify. Does the Premier mean that unless his demands are accepted Iran will deliver itself over to the communists? If so, we cannot imagine that the communists would long tolerate the antic diplomacy of Mossadegh.

Or does he mean that unless his demands are accepted he only intends to break off diplomatic relations with Great Britain? If so, we cannot see how he has done any more than to place a powerful weapon in the hands of the violent elements within Iran which already hold him at the point of a gun.

We know already that once the oil issue is settled the Premier will need a large sum of money to implement the sweeping reforms he has announced. Presumably the United States offer of a $10 million loan was intended as a lure.

It is apparent that Dr. Mossadegh still clings to his theory that he can advance to the brink of the communist chasm in order to effect a complete triumph over Great Britain, and that before the final suicide leap, the United States will rescue him. Perhaps it is time to tell him that he is mistaken.

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Related links:

Ultimatum From Iran | Amsterdam Evening Recorder, September 27, 1952

Iran May Be Lost | U.S. editorial, August 13, 1952

Forcing the Issue | Buffalo Courier-Express, December 9, 1951

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

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