The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2017 43 talks to help gain what today might be deemed as not unusual. This included international acceptance of the oil takeover without significant compensation, and freedom of oil production and distribution, perhaps with other oil companies. Proposals were bruited, there were exchanges between Tehran, London, and Washington, but the gap remained. Mosadeq had even gone to Washington and to the United Nations in New York to press his case, and his colorful presence provided reams of press copy. If it could mean a settlement that would get the oil flowing, the United States decided it would be willing, both for its Cold War concerns and for non-disruption of the gulf oil industry and states, to exempt American companies in the national interest from antitrust laws so they might participate with others in the Iranian oil industry. The new Republican administration of 1953 followed the same course. There was still no solution. Despite his theatrics that the West would be to blame and suffer if Iran’s disorganization proved a communist field day, Mosadeq had the ego and hubris to believe that he could control the two parts of his situation—the oil issue and domestic politics. He seemed to think that, over time, American intercession with the economically troubled British would become pressure the British could not resist, thereby bringing success without appre- ciable concessions to the British. Domestically he felt no worri- some challenge from the shah. The congeries represented by the National Front he expected to manipulate. Pushing a good thing too far or losing proportion are not unknown in Iran, as elsewhere. With his power, Mosadeq had sycophants and politically motivated groups, such as the foreign minister and Tudeh sympathizers, who encouraged him to press. Of the two parts of his situation, America was not on Mosadeq’s wavelength. The United States and the Iranian Problem The United States, sympathetic to its ally’s financial problems and aware of the effects upon other oil operations in the Persian Gulf area, was not going to push for a debilitating, no-accommo- dation deal. It wanted a compromise. In regarding the Iranian flux it could see signs of strain in the National Front and restiveness among the shah and non-Front elements. The United States was well informed. It had more than the Tehran embassy components and the three consulates at Isfahan, Meshed and Tabriz. There were two other large operations scat- tered in the country responsible to the ambassador: the Military Mission and the Point Four Technical Assistance Mission. The for- mer worked, of course, with the military and was most careful to keep that work purely professional, while the latter was the biggest such program in the world, again very prudent in confining itself to agricultural, health, education and like technical help activities, with coordinating suboffices in major areas of the country. The leadership of both missions was excellent. The shifting situation and operations generated regular requested and voluntary factual and analytical reports to Wash- ington on varied subjects. And in Tehran close liaison among the American elements included joint conferences and evalua- tions, each element from its respective sphere. With a new team handling affairs in London and the British embassy, eventually by 1952 the American and British governments were getting joint assessments from their Tehran embassies. However, prolongation of the oil crisis finally provoked Mosadeq into breaking relations with Great Britain, and one late autumn dawn its diplomats left by car convoy bound for Baghdad. As the crisis deepened from 1952 and into 1953, Iranian antipathies and suspicions were fanned against Americans. At the least it was not discouraged by the leadership, by some encour- aged, and the Tudeh party (progressively active) and the large Soviet embassy aided its rise. The United States was literally the man in the middle. Since the Iranians were not realizing their oil hopes through America, since it was Britain’s NATO ally, and since domestic tensions were growing, the visible Americans became the target. It varied in parts of the country, but there were hostile incidents and demonstrations with something of a synthetic, orga- nized character about them. Americans became cautious going about in public, while shouts, graffiti and doorway stickers had the same message, “Yankee, go home.” n U.S.NATIONALARCHIVESANDRECORDSADMINISTRATION/ABBIEROWE President Harry S. Truman and Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran during the latter’s visit to Washington, D.C., in October 1951.