The Secretary of State to the British Appointed Ambassador (Grey)

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: In your note of November 6, 1919, reference is made to a debate in the Senate in July, 1919, and to Section I of Senate Bill No. 2775, as amended by the House of Representatives.

You are aware that remarks made in the course of a debate in Congress are not within the official purview of the Department of State. It does not seem necessary at this time to discuss the particular questions of fact to which you have called my attention, since they do not appear to be pertinent to what, I venture to suggest, is the essential point, namely, the desirability of reciprocity on the part of different countries with respect to mineral supplies.

The best technical authorities seem to believe that the peak of petroleum production in the United States will soon be reached, and that the reserves will be practically exhausted within a measurable period. The situation of the United States will be the more serious because of its enormous domestic consumption, and because in the past there has been relatively little investment of American capital in important foreign producing fields.

These facts, together with the exclusion of American citizens, either in law or in fact, from commercial production in other countries, has given rise in this country to an agitation for some form of governmental action. The source of this movement lies in the conviction that, with respect to certain essential raw materials, the enjoyment of the same rights in foreign countries that aliens enjoy in the United States is essential to the future welfare of our people. This conviction is believed to underly and explain the provisions of the Public Lands Leasing Bill to which you have referred. The movement would lose much of its force if an agreement were in existence providing in adequate measure for that reciprocity toward which the proposed legislation is directed. The securing of adequate supplies of oil in emergencies does not appear to be irreconcilably opposed to the principle of reciprocal access to supplies.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing