A “Significant Victory” For Who?
State Dept. Congratulates Iran on Oil Deal (1954)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | July 22, 2018                    

Under Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr. (1903-1969) An agreement-in-principle on the Iran oil consortium was ratified by the Iranian Senate on Oct. 28, 1954. The same day, the U.S. State Department released an official statement publicly and commenced drafting a congratulatory message to the Iranian government privately.

The following telegram from Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, sent to Ambassador Loy Henderson in Tehran for his approval, offers the text of a congratulatory message (written by John Stutesman) to be sent to Foreign Minister Abdollah Entezam, signed by Under Secretary of State Herbert Hoover, Jr., chief U.S. negotiator in the dispute.

U.S. State Department | Iran Documents (1951-1954)
Iran Oil Consortium | Archive of Documents (1953-1954)

888.2553/10–2854: Telegram

No. 502

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Iran [John Foster Dulles to Loy Henderson]

Washington, October 28, 1954—7:37 p.m.


843. Personal from Hoover [Herbert Hoover, Jr.] to Foreign Minister. [Abdollah Entezam] The news that the Iranian Parliament has today ratified the oil agreement is wonderful news indeed and marks a significant victory by those forces in Iran dedicated to the principle that Iran is to move forward toward social and economic development in friendly cooperation with other nations of the free world. [It was actually ratified by the Senate, following an Oct. 21st endorsement by the Majles. The State Dept. press release, however, was worded correctly]

Please convey my heartiest congratulations on this significant occasion to His Imperial Majesty, [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] the Prime Minister, [Fazlollah Zahedi] Dr. Amini [Finance Minister Ali Amini] and all the others in your government who contributed to the accomplishment of this great achievement which the whole free world admires.


[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X (1989)

Notes from the State Department Office of the Historian:

• “Drafted by Stutesman and approved by Under Secretary Hoover after being cleared with Ambassador Henderson. On Oct. 28 the Embassy in Tehran informed the Department that the Iranian Senate had passed the oil bill that day, with 41 votes in favor, 4 against, and 3 abstentions. (Telegram 962; 888.2553/10–2854)” [John Stutesman was Officer in Charge of Iranian Affairs, Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs for the State Dept.]

• “The Department issued a press release, dated Oct. 28, announcing that on Oct. 28 the agreement in principle, signed on Aug. 5, between the Government of Iran and the International Oil Consortium, was ratified by the Iranian Senate. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, Nov. 8, 1954, p. 683.”

• “On Oct. 29 the Embassy in Tehran informed the Department that the Shah signed the oil bill that day. (Telegram 974; 888.2553/10–2954)”

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Related links:

Iranian Oil Agreement | State Dept. press release (Oct. 28, 1954)

Shah “Distrusts” Premier Zahedi | NSC Briefing, Jan. 13, 1955

Sec. of State Dulles Advises British on AIOC Legalities (Jan. 26, 1953)

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