It Never Rains, It Pours On Britain
October 10, 1951 — United Press [UP]

The Mossadegh Project | July 22, 2020                          

Never Rains But It Pours Plenty
Election, Egypt, Iran Spell Troubles Now For England’s Empire

United Press Foreign News Editor

The slogan used to be: “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Now it has to be changed to “it never rains but it pours on the British Empire.” Pours trouble, that is.

Three things are happening to Britain these days, and any one of them would be enough crisis for one nation to cope with. Put them all together and it is easy to see why London at the moment is the world’s most worried capital.

1. The nation is going through an election campaign. At a time when a united front on foreign policy is needed to face external crises there is nothing but division, charges and counter-charges and the controversies that elections always produce in a democracy.

2. Egypt has just told Britain that she will have to remove her troops from the Suez Canal Zone. That not only is a serious setback to London’s position in the Middle East, but it is a blow to British pride. In the days when the British navy ruled the seas the Suez Canal was a vital link in the lifeline of empire, stretching from the Thames to India.

3. Some 300 British technicians have just been forced to leave the Iranian town of Abadan because they were ordered out by the Iranian government. The British now are preparing to take their case before the United Nations security council and try to salvage something out of the oil interests in Iran.

The technical device by which Egypt dealt the latest blow to Britain was the denunciation of a treaty signed by the two nations in 1936. Under that agreement the British were allowed to station troops along the Suez Canal. It was a good deal for the Egyptians because Hitler and Mussolini were mulling over the idea of aggression which led to World War II and any weak nation that could get protection was so much that better off.

Hitler and Mussolini are dead, but the treaty still is alive and has four more years to run. At least it was alive until the Egyptians denounced it. Whether the British can bring it back to life remains to be seen, The idea of ending the treaty didn't come suddenly to the Egyptians. They have been talking about it for some two years. But from their own standpoint their timing was excellent. They chose a moment when Britain was preoccupied with an election and already up to her neck in the Iranian oil crisis.

The fact that London yielded to an Iranian ultimatum and removed her oil technicians from Abadan stiffened Egypt’s backbone. What Britain, and all other colonial powers, are up against is a surge of nationalism throughout the Middle and Far East. Nations in that part of the world want the foreigners to get out no matter what the consequences.

Iran may not be able to refine oil for lack of technical experts but she would rather have it that way than allow the British to remain, Egypt may not be able to protect the Suez Canal against, say Russia, but apparently she would rather lose it than let the British guard it for her.

Alternate headlines:

It Never Rains, It Pours On....
Trouble Pours Down For British Empire
Roof Caving in These Days On British Empire
Britain Is Faced With 3 Problems
Sun Never Sets, But Lordy Is It Raining
Britain Up To Ears In Trouble — ‘Never Rains But It Pours’ On John Bull
Egypt’s Voiding Of Treaties New Blow to Britain
Crises complicate election campaign in Great Britain
‘Sun Never Sets’, Etc. Slogan on British Empire Has Changed
All Britain Has Rain Of Troubles; Egypt Acted At Right Time


Related links:

WATCH: End of Empire: Iran | Granada Television | ITV (1985)

Twisting the Lion’s tail | The Singleton Argus, May 15, 1953

Sore Need For The First Team | Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Oct. 18, 1951

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

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