Rapid Deterioration
September 28, 1951 — The News

The Mossadegh Project | April 11, 2019                    

A lead editorial, commenting on their front page story, in The News of Adelaide, Australia. The newspaper was owned by Rupert Murdoch’s father, journalist Keith Murdoch. Rupert took over as publisher after Keith died in October 1952.

Australian media archive

The News (Adelaide, Australia)

Crisis looms in Persia

THE Persian oil dispute seems to be moving to the final showdown.

If the Shah has the power, he would do well to restrain the Persian Government in its intention to expel the remaining British technicians from Abadan. Otherwise the situation may develop in a way which could cause a general flare up in the Middle East, and have dire consequences for Persia itself.

The dispute began when the Persian Government decided in March to nationalise the oil industry. Protracted negotiations have followed, with a rising tide of anti-British feeling in Persia. Britain and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. have been trying to preserve their interests in Persian oil, the Persian Government has been determined to carry through the nationalisation plan.

Britain made its last bid for a settlement in August, when a special mission, headed by the Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Stokes) went to Persia. [Richard Stokes] These talks were suspended late in August, and broken off by Britain on September 6. The British Government said it had gone to the limit in concessions, and felt that recent statements by the Persian Prime Minister (Dr. Mossadeq) had shown further negotiations could produce no result.

Relations between Britain and Persia have rapidly deteriorated since then. Britain cancelled certain financial facilities and stopped export of scarce goods to Persia. As a reprisal, the Persian Government banned British business men from leaving Persia without Foreign Office permission. On September 13 the Persian Government issued an ultimatum that unless Britain reopened negotiations within 15 days, the 350 British technicians still on the southern oilfields would be expelled.

The British Government has been called on to make a fateful choice between abandoning the huge Abadan refinery and putting in troops to hold it.

The situation is explosive. If there should be an outbreak of violence or use of force, Russia might make it an excuse to march into Persia to “preserve order.” At the least, political conditions would be created which would give Persia’s own Communists their opportunity to take over. Events of the next few days will be watched with anxiety.

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Related links:

Persia Now Has Its Problem | The News (Adelaide), June 27, 1951

Persia Is Adamant | The Advocate, September 27, 1951

Dr. Mossadeq’s Problems | The Queensland Times, November 27, 1951

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

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