821.6363/64: Telegram

The Minister in Colombia ( Philip ) to the Secretary of State

128. In discussing pending petroleum legislation with Doctor Suarez he stated that practically all the countries of the world except Rumania and Russia claimed national subsoil ownership of petroleum deposits, et cetera. I remarked that he overlooked the United States. The President believes that certain of our States maintain such rights in oil and other mining lands. He said that if this is not the case and that no such rights are in force in the United States this fact might have an important bearing on the present discussions here, particularly in view of the necessities of reciprocity between the two countries et cetera.

I request a definite statement from the Department, at its earliest convenience, both as to the uniformity of our national and state laws in the matter of petroleum rights and as to any arguments in favor of private ownership of subsoil rights here which it might judge advisable to impress upon the Colombian Government.