467.11St25/41a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)

6120. Referring your telegram of October 7th, 6 p.m., to the Mission, regarding the reply of the British Foreign Office to your endeavor to secure the removal of the restrictions on the movements of the Standard Oil geologists at Jerusalem.

1. It is understood you have full information as to the facts in the matter.

We feel on the information we have here that there has been interference, serious from the point of view of financial costs and future precedent, with the rights of American citizens properly given them by the Ottoman Government to consummate concessions. We are of the opinion that the British justification for the interference with the exercise of these rights furnish[es] insufficient excuse. As definite lists of the persons entitled to consummate concessions can probably be obtained from the Ottoman Government it is not clear that embarrassment and confusion would result sufficient to justify the British prohibition against the legitimate activities of the Standard Oil Representatives. We suggest that you bring the matter to the attention of the British Foreign Office again and informally communicate to them that the Department of State feels that the interference with the legitimate activities of American citizens in Palestine in relation to the consummation of concessions is a serious one, as stated above, and that the Department feels that it would be possible for the British authorities to make some arrangement, for all who had legitimate legal rights to continue their proper activities in this regard without resulting embarrassment and confusion. Also in connection therewith you are instructed to point out to the Foreign Office that the form of Mandate “A” applying to the Turkish possessions, has been agreed to in principle by the representatives of Great Britain and that thereunder a mandatory power undertakes to secure to citizens of all nationalities members of the League of Nations, equal protection and the same rights as regards the acquisition of immovable property, and to insure complete economic, commercial and industrial equality and freedom of transit, and that concessions will be granted by the mandatory government without distinction on the ground of nationality between citizens of states members of the League of Nations. And that further President Wilson in connection with decisions of the Council of Four in Paris took a definite stand that there should be in no case, priority of concessions to the nationals of the mandatory power, which point [Page 259] of view was adhered to by Mr. Lloyd George and admitted by the French and Italian delegates. In short, that the Department of State feels that a future decision as to what power shall exercise a mandate over Palestine cannot in principle be held to affect the rights of American citizens to prosecute at present legal privileges to consummate concessions legally granted by the Ottoman Government; and in addition that the prosecution of such rights is fully in accord both with the principle stated by President Wilson and agreed to by Mr. Lloyd George and the provisions of Mandate “A”, which though not yet in force, have been agreed to in principle by Great Britain.