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While Truce talks were stalling Korea, sabers were rattling in Iran, this August 23rd in 1951. With accusations flying back and forth between North Korea and the UN forces, it wasn’t looking optimistic that the guns would fall silent any time soon. Meanwhile, a contingent of 10 British warships were massing just outside the Iranian port city of Abadan in the Persian Gulf, just in case British talks with the Mossadeq government went south and the newly nationalized oil fields in Iran stopped shipping oil to Britain.
A breakdown of negotiations was announced both by Dr. Mossadeq and the British representative, Mr. Stokes on Aug. 22. after a second tripartite meeting at the Saheb Gharanieh palace between the Persian Prime Minister, the British and American representatives. In a statement issued after this meeting, Dr.Mossadeq declared that the crux of the Persian Government’s differences with Mr. Stokes lay in the proposed form of British management under the National Iranian Oil Company; that he (Dr.Mossadeq) wished to have British heads of technical departments, who would report only separately and individually to the board of the N.I.O.C.; that Mr. Stokes had insisted that there should be a British general manager (if a British managing agency, as originally proposed, was unacceptable to the Persians) to whom heads of departments should be responsible, and through whom they should report to the N.I.O.C.’s board; and that the Persian Government “could not accept the British demand for a British manager at Abadan.” Mr. Stokes declared after the tripartite meeting that there was “no point in going on with the talks,” and added: “The essential thing is to assure continued production of oil. This means keeping a staff, and this in turn means keeping a British manager. As Dr. Mossadeq refused to do this, I regretfully had to conclude that there was nothing for me to do but go home immediately.”
A tense and testy day on both sides of the world, as reported on CBS Radio’s Edward R. Murrow and The News with Don Hollenbeck substituting for August 23, 1951.
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