More like a dime-store novel than serious foreign policy.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower,
President of the United States
It was Churchill who first decided that Mohammed Mosaddegh must be removed by force. The military invasion that the Brits initially had planned to safeguard Abadan’s technicians effectively, was vetoed by U.S. opposition, and the reluctance of the then Labour party to support Churchill in military action. But something had to be done. Output at the giant Masjid-Suleiman field slowed to a trickle. Thousands of Iranians were thrown out of work. Shortages of fuel and of imported food and medicine led to violent demonstrations in Teheran, whose bewildered and hungry people had expected oil nationalization to lead quickly to better times. The Tudeh (Communist) party urged Iranians to turn to the Russians for help.
No less disturbing for the U.S. and U.K. was the wider diplomatic context of 1952. President Eisenhower had been elected on a strongly anti-Communist platform, yet week after week the headlines told of Soviet advances and American setbacks. The U.S. army had been hurled back from North Korea by the Chinese. The Soviet Union tested its first H-bomb. Berlin was again under pressure. Mosaddegh, capitalizing on the success he had scored with the Afro-Asians at the U.N., signed a friendship treaty with the Egyptian dictator, Nasser, who before long would follow his lead and nationalize the Suez Canal.
Once in office President Eisenhower appointed two antiCommunist brothers to his Cabinet. One was John Foster Dulles, the new Republican Secretary of State, the other Allen Dulles who was