Land of Make-Believe

October 31, 1951 — The Sydney Morning Herald

The Mossadegh Project | April 26, 2020                          

An editorial on Iran and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (Australia).

Australian media archive

Eden’s Task In The Oil Deadlock

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden Britain’s new Foreign Secretary has acted promptly to inform himself on the latest developments in Persia. Mr. Eden’s recall of the British Ambassador from Teheran for consultation may be, indeed, a preliminary to some early initiative to solve the oil deadlock. [Sir Francis Shepherd] But it would be unreasonable to expect the Churchill Government to abate immediately a crisis largely caused by the blunders of its predecessors. [Prime Minister Winston Churchill]

The best that can be hoped is that, by firmness and patience, the Government will be able to prevent the ruin of the great Abadan refinery, obtain adequate compensation for the dispossession of the A.I.O.C, and ensure for Britain her former share of the oil produced in South Persia. The nationalisation issue is dead, and the Security Council’s recent erasion, of its responsibilities has removed from the Mussadiq Government, at least temporarily, the pressure of possible international sanctions.

However, the National Front clique that misgoverns Persia is confronted by economic difficulties that must be appalling even to fanatics with their heads half-buried in the sands of nationalism. No doubt President Truman and Mr. Acheson tried hard to make the Persian Prime Minister see, during his visit to Washington, that he could have both his nationalisation and great financial benefit if he would agree to negotiations on a more reasonable basis. [Harry Truman and Sec. of State Dean Acheson] But the fruits, if any, of White House and State Department intercession — “intervention” is too crude a word for such delicate processes — are not yet visible.

Much may depend upon the success of a reported American stop-gap plan. This envisages an Anglo-Persian agreement to market the two million tons of oil stored at Abadan. Such an arrangement need not prejudice the position taken up by either side on the main issues. It would give the Teheran Government urgently needed funds. It would also yield the Western democracies, especially Britain, a substantial quantity of urgently needed oil.

Washington’s emphasis at the moment is not on the rights and wrongs of the dispute, but on the necessity of reopening negotiations. An agreement to distribute the stored oil could pave the way to more important discussions. The most formidable difficulty hitherto has been that the British argument on the future of the industry putting the legal case aside is a technical one, whereas the Persian attitude is almost completely emotional. It will be Mr. Eden’s first task to establish a bridgehead of reality in Teheran’s land of make-believe.


Related links:

Anthony Eden on British Trade in Iran (November 8, 1954)

Persian Time Bomb | The Mercury, August 6, 1952

Britain Humiliated | The Advocate, October 5, 1951

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

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