Costume Jewelry
April 30, 1962 — The Statesman Journal

The Mossadegh Project | April 3, 2021                       

First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Queen Farah Pahlavi and President John F. Kennedy at the White House (April 12, 1962)

In April 1962 President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy hosted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Queen Farah Pahlavi for their lavish state visit to America.

This was the lead editorial in The Statesman Journal newspaper of Salem, Oregon.

Iranian Glamor

As the U.S. bids adieu to the Shah-in-shah of Iran and his beautiful empress, the nation is a bit dazzled. The empress, with the help of bejewelled gowns and a hairdresser flown in from Paris, was a match for our own charming first lady in the Washington social whirl. She outglamored the glamor queens of Hollywood on their home ground and endeared herself to American womankind by saying U.S. wives aren’t as spoiled as everyone says they are.

Her husband’s humor, although unprintable, was sufficient to make comedian Red Skelton remark, “He’s a tough act to follow.” The Shah won the hearts of congressmen by saying he will continue to fight communism, with or without American aid. But as the glitter of this charming couple fades from our eyes, some truths about Iran reappear.

Despite the Shah’s well publicized land reforms, his people remain among those with the lowest standard of living in the world. In many cases, the so-called sale of land to the peasants has merely put the farmers in perpetual debt to the banks instead of to the landed gentry.

Iran is a land without political freedom. The hero of the people, a hypochondriac politician named Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, has been under house arrest since 1953. [Since 1956, after three years in prison] To the U.S., the pajama clad figure of the doctor, crying real tears in the face of political crisis, seemed at once slightly funny, and weak. Although he wielded a tyrant’s power during his two-year term as premier before the pro-Shah forces swept him from control, the people still regard him as their liberator.

With a tightly controlled Iranian press and with U.S. officials anxious to keep the strong Shah in power, Americans hear little of the real tumult inside the country. The Shah is correct in saying he will continue to fight communism with or without U.S. help. Situated on the border of Russia, he has no choice but to fight.

What’s more, the Shah knows we have little alternative but to support him. In another revolution, the Communists might emerge the victors. The true state of Iranian affairs, however, should not be hidden by the empress’s gowns or the Shah’s jokes.

Shah Of Iran Spells Good News For United States (1967)
Shah Of Iran Spells Good News For U.S. | Holmes Alexander (Oct. 1967)


Related links:

Pulling the Strings: 1962 Memo Reveals U.S. Feared Shah’s Fall

Police In Tehran Club Demonstrators | January 22, 1962 (AP)

Shah’s Death Solves Little | Herald and Review, July 29, 1980

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

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