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The Meeting

The Meeting

The year is 1951. The world is once again on the precipice of war. President Truman, desperate for a solution, meets with his closest advisors.

Philip Gaudette

August 06, 2023
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Transcript

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    [National Security Council Meeting, June 1951]

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    [National Security Council Meeting, June 1951]

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    [National Security Council Meeting, June 1951]

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    Truman: So...

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    Truman: ... What have we got?

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    Bradley: It's a mine field Mr. President, plain and
    simple.

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    Bradley: It's a mine field Mr. President, plain and
    simple.

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    Bradley: It's a mine field Mr. President, plain and
    simple.

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    Bradley: It's a mine field Mr. President, plain and
    simple.

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    Bradley: For Iran, for Britain...

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    Bradley: ... possibly for the whole free world.

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    Truman: McGhee?

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    Mcghee: Agreed.

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    The Iranians want the heads of all Brits.

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    And anyone percieved as a friend of the Brits.

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    Including us.

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    Grady in Tehran calls the situation, and I quote...

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    "most explosive."

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    Truman: And Britain?

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    Acheson: They're seriously poised to invade.

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    Acheson: That oil company is their country's
    single biggest income source.

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    Lose it and their whole economy starts teetering.

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    Acheson: They'll stop at nothing to get it back.

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    Truman: We've got to jump in now or it's all going
    to explode.

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    McGhee: Beg pardon, Mr. President...

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    McGhee: ... Jump in and do what?

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    McGhee: If we tell Britain to back off, we'll just get
    into a fight with them.

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    Bradley: Which...

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    Bradley: ... if it spirals out of control...

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    Bradley: ... could split the whole Western Alliance.

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    Truman: Leaving the Soviets unopposed in
    Europe.

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    Bradley: Exactly, sir.

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    Truman: Hoo boy.

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    Truman: And if we were to just let Britain invade?

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    Truman: Then what?

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    Bradley: Among other things...

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    Bradley: ...the Soviets would be highly motivated
    to step in on Iran's side.

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    Acheson: The Soviets vs. the West.

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    Acheson: God knows how many countries would
    get sucked into that fight.

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    Acheson: God knows how many countries would
    get sucked into that fight.

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    Bradley: World War Thr--

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    Acheson: Tst! Omar, let's not--

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    Truman: The point is...

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    Truman: ... we're screwed no matter which we do.

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    Acheson: I see one slim option, sir...

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    Acheson: ...Very slim.

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    Acheson: First: we press Britain to stand down
    just for now.

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    Draft a letter to Atlee personally.

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    Hope to God we can stall him.

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    Truman: And?

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    Acheson: Then we work quickly.

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    Pry open even a small window for dialogue.

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    We then step up as mediators...

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    ...and hammer out a deal...

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    ... For everyone.

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    Mcghee: A window for dialogue?

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    Meaning get Mossadegh to agree to talk to the
    Fraser gang?

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    Meaning get Mossadegh to agree to talk to the
    Fraser gang?

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    Acheson: Yes.

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    Bradley: Uh!

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    Bradley: Are you dreaming, Dean?

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    Bradley: Even if we could get a diplomat safely
    into Tehran right now...

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    ...which is doubtful...

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    ...who in the world's good enough to cajole
    Mossadegh into that?

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    Truman and Acheson: Harriman.

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    Truman and Acheson: Harriman.

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    Narrator: W. Averill Harriman. Yale Skull and
    Bones, racer of Thoroughbreds...

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    ... director of the Marshall Plan in Europe.

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    Called "infallible" in diplomatic circles...

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    ...Harriman could talk the talons off a hawk
    without disturbing a feather.

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