Playing For Keeps

October 18, 1951 — Santa Cruz Sentinel-News

The Mossadegh Project | April 20, 2016                        

This Northern California newspaper worried that all the tumult in the ‘Moslem world’ posed a grave threat to the Cold War effort, and threw in a Hitler reference for good measure.

Santa Cruz Sentinel-News (Santa Cruz, California) newspaper

Sore Need For The First Team

We might as well face it: our cause is slipping these days.

The Iranian oil debacle is a defeat for us. The Egyptian demands for Suez are an imposition upon us. The assassination of the premier of Pakistan is a loss to us. What next?

The Moslem world is in an uproar, and the Moslem world skirts the southern frontier of Soviet Russia. Every bit of trouble that we have in these regions are a gift to Stalin. Stalin just sits and waits and pulls his strings. Diplomacy is a complicated game these days, more complicated than usual.

We want to be friends with the people of Pakistan. We want the oil of Iran. We want the Suez canal in friendly hands. Yet, in Pakistan a staunch friend of the U.S is shot to death. [Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Pakistani Prime Minister] In Iran the British get shamefully kicked out of their own oil fields and refinery. In Egypt, a megalomaniac (among other things) demands the British clear out and stay out of the canal zone and the Sudan. [Referring to King Farouk]

It’s dangerous, not because we might make some enemies in Egypt or Iran, but because we might stir up the Moslem world against us, and Russia is always there with a phony smile, ready to “help them out”. Just like Russia helped out Hitler with a non-aggression pact in 1939. The buddies of Hitler now become the buddies of Mossadegh and Farouk, only Russia could and would swallow Mossadegh and Farouk with one gulp, given the chance.

Suez, apparently, is not going to be so easy for the boys. Britain is making a belated show of strength. A parachute brigade is an effective answer to Farouk’s folly. But at the same time, fast diplomatic work is needed to keep the various disputes from consolidating into one big Arab League gripe. That takes on-the-spot work.

Unfortunately, not all of our top diplomatic posts are filled with skilled diplomats. The present administration has seen fit to use ambassadorships as grand prizes for political help. Former New York Mayor O’Dwyer of Kefauver fame is still ambassador to Mexico. [corrupt New York city Mayor William O’Dwyer, investigated by Sen. Estes Kefauver in 1950] Party-giving Perle Mesta [socialite and Truman supporter] is minister to Luxembourg. [Ambassador] There are others.

This thing takes top-caliber diplomats, shrewd, cool-headed, experienced, well-trained men who are ambassadors, not figure-heads of embassies. The cause is slipping. Only the first team can save it, because the other side is playing for keeps.

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


Related links:

Anarchy In the East | U.S. editorial, October 19, 1951

Mossadegh Pays A Call | The WORLD This WEEK, October 13, 1951

Iranian Tragicomedy | The Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2, 1953

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

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