Arbitrating an Oil Settlement

September 6, 1952 — The WORLD This WEEK

The Mossadegh Project | May 29, 2013                     

This comes from The WORLD This WEEK, a package of syndicated news and editorial content which ran as a full page spread in U.S. newspapers.

Mossadegh Snarled in Twin Dilemma

For more than a year, Iran’s histrionic Premier Mohammed Mossadegh has worn a twin-horned helmet of indecision—half afraid to accept Western help and half afraid not to.

By rejecting last week’s joint Churchill-Truman offer to settle the Iranian will question, Mossadegh left himself open to bankruptcy at home and to suspicion abroad. [Harry Truman and Winston Churchill]

Iran has been unable to work the huge oil industry taken over from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company last year. Deprived of oil revenues, the Iranian treasury has become bare. Mossadegh and his nationalist party face heavy criticism if they accept too much Western aid, perhaps the loss of power: face economic ruin if they don’t.

Reds Stand To Gain

If Mossadegh falls, the most likely successor would be the well-organized Communist Tudeh party.

Aware of the Communist threat in Iran, President Truman joined Prime Minister Churchill in the three-point proposal offering Iran a 10-million-dollar U.S. loan, a plan whereby Iran’s blockaded oil would be marketed, and the release of Iran’s blocked pound sterling Britain. In return Iran was asked to let the international Court of Justice arbitrate the Anglo Iranian Company’s compensation claim for the nationalized properties.

In Tehran, it was reported that Mossadegh and other government officials feared that the International Court might charge to Iran’s account a heavy bill for Anglo-Iranian’s loss of profits that would’ve accrued to it if it had run to 1993.

Time To Consider

Meanwhile, Mossadegh summoned the Iranian parliament to meet September 10 to take up formal rejection of the Truman-Churchill offer. He could use the intervening time to see if anything further was forthcoming from the West.

In London and Washington, however, there were signs that there would be no more concessions.

The joint proposal to Iran apparently destroyed any hope Mossadegh may have had that by manipulating Western fears of Communism he could play the U.S. against Britain and eventually get help from this country in spite of his refusal to deal with the British.

The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable
The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable


Related links:

Mossadegh Due To Explain Stand on Oil | AP, November 14, 1951

A Difficult Man | The Brooklyn Eagle, January 7, 1953

“Broken Weekend” May Break British-Iranian Deadlock | J.E. Jones, August 9, 1951

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

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