3 OCTOBER 1952, Page 3

br. Moussadek Waits

The basic assumption of the British Government in the Persian oil dispute seems to be that deadlocks exist only to be broken, for Dr. Moussadek's latest and most outrageous demands have not been officially rejected and hope therefore 0fficially survives. Rejection may quite easily occur by default, Since the Persian Government only allowed ten days for a reply and there is no assurance that the British Government will act before that period runs out on October 5th. Nor is the Anglo- American Oil Company likely to fall over itself to pay the £49 million which Dr. Moussadek demands as one of the essential preliminaries to further negotiation. But that will obviously not close the matter, since Dr: Moussadek also has interest in breaking the deadlock—provided he can get suffici- ently attractive terms. The bargaining must go on, if only because neither side can afford to let it drop altogether. The outlook, however, is black. In the nature of the case Persia is unlikely to yield an inch. Dr. Moussadek is obviously ready to wait a long time for an acceptable bid by the outside world for the prize of Persian oil. It is even possible that he would give up the idea of exporting oil at all rather than make a single important concession. And behind him stands the even more determined Ayatullah Kashani, secure in his prestige among the faithful and in his political position at the head of the Majlis, ready to condemn any lapse. In the circumstances the idea that the A.I.O.C. will ever secure any compensation whatever for the loss of future profits which would have accrued to it if the 1933 agreement had been allowed to run for its full 60 years does not seem to have much realism in it. But if it is dropped, then Dr. Moussadek should also drop his nonsensical claim for the immediate payment of compensation to Persia. Any claim that Persia may have must obviously be set against the much larger claims of the oil company for the loss of its vast property. Quite apart from justice and equity, there is the simple fact that any payment to Persia would be money thrown away unless it was accompanied by some guarantee of the resumption of the flow of oil.