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Persia (Situation, Abadan)

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1951

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60.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the result of his protest to the Iranian Government, with reference to the disturbances at Abadan, and the protection of British lives in that area.

Yes. On 14th April His Majesty's Ambassador, acting under my right hon. Friend's instructions, informed the Persian Prime Minister that His Majesty's Government must hold the Persian Government responsible for all loss of life and damage to property affecting British nationals in Persia. The Persian Prime Minister expressed his deep regret at the loss of British lives which had occurred at Abadan. He stated that the Persian Government took a serious view of the situation and would take prompt and energetic measures to restore order. Military reinforcements would be sent to the area and a general had already left to take charge of the civil and military administration.The Persian Government's action caused some improvement in the situation, and many of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's employees at Abadan have returned to work. They were, however, still subject to intimidation, and my right hon. Friend therefore instructed His Majesty's Ambassador to see the Persian Prime Minister on 22nd April and to express my right hon. Friend's concern at the apparent failure of the Persian security forces to restore complete order quickly. The Prime Minister in reply has assured my right hon. Friend that his Government is in complete control of the situation and is rounding up agitators. My right hon. Friend welcomes this assurance. The most recent reports from Abadan indicate that the situation is quieter. The strikes in other stations in the oilfields have ended.