THE AMERICAN POSITION ON THE IRANIAN OIL CRISIS OF 1951-53: AMERICAN MEDIATION WITH AN EYE ON A.I.O.C.: A TOUCH OF HYPOCRISY IN THE US. PROSPECTIVE: BRITISH POST A.I.O.C. STRATEGIC ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PERSIAN GULF.

THE AMERICAN POSITION ON THE IRANIAN OIL CRISIS OF 1951-53: AMERICAN MEDIATION WITH AN EYE ON A.I.O.C.: A TOUCH OF HYPOCRISY IN THE US. PROSPECTIVE: BRITISH POST A.I.O.C. STRATEGIC ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PERSIAN GULF.

In 1954, a year after the Iranian Prime Minister, Dr. Musaddiq, was overthrown, Sir Roger Makins, the British Ambassador to Washington, wrote:

 

The Americans are out to take our place in the Middle East. Their influence has greatly expanded there since the end of the Second World War, and they are now firmly established as paramount foreign influence in Saudi Arabia. They are gaining ascendancy in Persia.¹

Britain’s economic weakness, which prevented her from keeping up with military, and especially atomic weapons technology, and fear of the communist threat to her interests in the Persian Gulf, persuaded the British Government both for economic and defensive reasons to come in to alliance with the United States. In the opinion of the British Government some division of labour for the safeguarding of British interests in the Persian Gulf, in view of the limited range of British action because of the weakening British position, became necessary. British interests in the Persian Gulf as well as 40% share in the international oil consortium in Iran being,

(a): 50% of British consumption in Iran being,

(b): to provide a barrier to the spread of Communism. ²

As the United States was the only country which could withstand the Soviet Union and communist pressure, it was clear to the British Government that the United States should take the lead.

Washington’s assessments of the threat posed by the Soviet Union to the Persian Gulf, however, did not very much differ from those of London. In fact, the United States was increasingly showing more signs of understanding over the Soviet threat, and the spread of communism to the Persian Gulf. In the United States view, ‘the proximity of important Soviet industries makes the importance of holding the Eastern Mediterranean-Middle Eastern area obvious. ³

Increasingly, the Persian Gulf began to play an important part in the United States’ strategic thinking for the protection of oil supplies, and also lines of communication for defence. Containment of the Soviet Union and preventing her from reaching to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, accessibility to the oil without disruption for producing it became the same goal for both the United States, and Great Britain.

The Americans were of the opinion that cultivating closer economic and political ties with Iran, the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf, with its population and industrialisation programme would serve Western interests better. The United States believed that direct rule would be potentially detrimental to the interests of America in the Persian Gulf. Direct rule, in the American view, in an area as strategically crucial as the Persian Gulf with its hugs oil reserves could potentially lead to confrontation with the Soviet Union. The United States’ attitude towards Iran was:

It is of crucial importance to the United States that Iran remain an independent nation. Because of its key strategic position, and oil resources, loss of Iran would be: (a). A major threat to the security of the entire Middle East, as well as Pakistan and India. (b). Damage the United States’ prestige in nearby countries and with the exception of Turkey and possibly Pakistan, seriously weaken if not destroy, their will to resist communist pressures.

          1.  PRO, London, CAB 129/66 C (54) 53, Middle East: Anglo-American Policy, letter to Foreign Office1  on policy in the Middle East, from Sir Roger Makins, the British Ambassador to Washington, Secret, 25th January,1954.
          2.  B. BURROWS, Footnotes in the sand: The Gulf in Transition, 1953-1958, (London: Michael Russell, 1990), p. 135.
          3.  D. YERGIN, Shattered peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State, (London: Penguin Books, 1990), p. 269.

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!