Friendly Advice to the Parties

Letter to The Washington Post (August 6, 1951)

The Mossadegh Project | April 28, 2022                     

Theodore Wild’s suggestions to the Iranian, British and American mediators on solving the oil dispute. This would be the first of four such letters to the editor of The Washington Post.

August 6, 1951
The Washington Post

Negotiations In Iran

As a well-wisher of both parties to the Persian oil dispute and as a citizen of the third party, which is mediating, I wish to offer the following comments. Now that further meeting and negotiation have been agreed upon, it is imperative to make them work and this end may be achieved if each party would consider the following:

To Iran I would say: By all means get your oil nationalized and get your share of the profit. However, do not be inflexible and do not go to extremes. The world is watching and will judge you by the wisdom shown in your demands and negotiations. It must be kept in mind that the Iranians alone cannot run the oilfields or the refinery.

It must be remembered also that the revenue from this source has been and will continue to be the mainstay of the economic strength of the Iranian government. This industry cannot remain idle for long without having unpleasant effects not only for the government but also for the idle workers who number tens of thousands.

To the north, the Russians are watching and waiting for the chance to make you their next victim. Do not give them that opportunity. Already the Tudeh gang is becoming too audible. Do not play into their hands. If you do, then you will lose not only the oilfields but also the entire country to the Reds and their enslaving methods.

Finally, I sincerely hope that under the intelligent and upright leadership of Dr. Mossadegh, Iran will attain her objective without breaking from the West.

To Britain I would say: The Victorian policy of the management of the oil company is largely responsible for the present situation. The policy of employing a few young men from prominent Teheran families and taking good care of them, but allowing the rest to go unheeded, is an obsolete policy.

If the management could have understood and could have properly evaluated modern thought and politics, Britain’s situation in Iran would have been quite different today. The management should be interested in the laborers just as they are interested in the specialists. The majority of the workers at the rigs, at the refineries and in the workshops as yet do not have decent sanitation or recreation.

When you look across the Gulf and see what the Americans have done in such a short time, then you will realize how much more you could have done in Persia in the last 50 years. With honest intention, the unpleasant situation can be removed. Equitable share of the profits and improved working conditions could overcome the main grievances.

I am sure that with proper men at the helm, Britain will live up to her mature dignity and greatness by making gracious concessions.

To the United States I would say: Keep up the good work. Both parties value and appreciate you. However, if in the heat of negotiations the two parties happen to forget the oil workers, then it behooves Mr. Harriman to remind them of it. [Averell Harriman] If in this negotiation the lot of the workers is not improved, then the whole episode will sooner or later repeat itself.

Formerly Director-General, Department of Mines of the Iranian Government.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article


Related links:

Loan To Iran | Letter to Editor, The Washington Post, Dec. 1951)

Robert Gulick, Jr.: In Defense of Iran | Washington Star, July 1951 Letter

Britain Played Her Trump Cards Very Badly | Daily Telegraph, Oct. 9, 1951

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

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