Rattled Sabre
October 5, 1951 — The Advocate

The Mossadegh Project | May 10, 2017                           

A fascinating lead editorial in The Advocate newspaper, which served Northwestern and Western Tasmania, Australia. At the time, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was about to embark on his trip to America.

The Advocate (Northwestern and Western Tasmania, Australia)


THERE can be no question that Britain has been placed in an unenviable position by the Persian Government, which appears to have strong public backing for the tactics espoused by Dr. Mossadeq’s Government. But what can be done? If force were applied, it might well light the torch of war, in which Russia, by reason of her treaty with Persia, would be impelled to take part.

Apart from this grave possibility, there is the undoubted fact that Washington has been using a restraining influence on Whitehall. This is not because of any regard for Russia, but represents the unimpassioned view of U.S. leaders after balancing the pros and cons of a dangerous situation.

Yet the Attlee Government [Prime Minister Clement Attlee] must appear to have taken a craven part; to have fled from the oilfields, as Mr. Churchill put it. [Winston Churchill] It was too much to expect the renowned leader of the nation in war [World War II] not to make election capital out of the sorry position in which Britain has been placed. On the hustings it is the vogue of the Opposition to attack, and the chance has been too good to miss. Mr. Churchill emphasised that the Government, at much expense, sent cruisers, frigates and destroyers, as well as landing craft and paratroops—and it was all bluff. The sabre was rattled and the Government wilted.

Mr. Churchill has taken a dangerously irresponsible line, but it will not be surprising if the spirit of the British lion is roused by this appeal from its greatest statesman. The tragedy is that no one can suggest any line of action which will ensure a hopeful outcome. Persia is encompassing its own ruin, but the reaction contains evil for other lands as well.

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Related links:

Great Britain’s ‘Loss of Face’ In Iran Could Inspire African MoveThe Courier, Oct. 13, 1951

Hopes Wrecked In Persia | The Advocate, July 24, 1952

Persian Oil Dispute Four | The Irish Independent, September 27, 1952

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

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