Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David Vail

Committee Members

Roger Davis, Torsten Homberger, Charles Rowling


Azerbaijan;Cold War;Diplomacy;Iran;Oil;United States


Late in 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt adopted a policy toward Iran that he had hopes would serve as a model for American international relations in other countries. Roosevelt’s policy centered on support for local sovereignty in the face of Soviet and British imperialistic actions in the country. It lasted until American policy makers in the Eisenhower Administration decided to support a coup against Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953. This thesis argues that the pre–Cold War policy of supporting Iranian sovereignty set forth by Roosevelt worked until American policymakers chose to abandon it. The Truman Administration used the policy successfully during the 1946 crisis concerning the Soviet occupation of Azerbaijan without direct conflict with the Soviet Union. Abandonment of the policy by the Eisenhower Administration was not determined by the search for oil, the opening of economic markets or direct actions taken by the Soviet Union. It was a choice to intervene in Iran rather than let Iranians find local solutions to the Anglo–American oil dispute. Roosevelt’s Iranian policy deserves independent study, isolated from the greater currents of Cold War studies, to gain a clear view of the policy’s unique application and potential.



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