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

No. 3193

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 1113 of the 24th instant,67 I now have the honor to transmit herewith, for the information of the Department, five copies of the Anglo-French Oil agreement, which is referred to officially as the “Memorandum of Agreement between M. Philippe Berthelot, Directeur des Affaires Politiques et Commerciales au Ministère des Affaires Étrangeres, and Professor Sir John Cadman, K.C.M.G., Director in Charge of His Majesty’s Petroleum Department.”68

I have [etc.]

John W. Davis

Memorandum of Agreement at San Remo, April 24, 1920, between M. Philippe Berthelot, Directeur des Affaires Politiques et Commerciales au Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, and Professor Sir John Cadman, K.C.M.G., Director in Chargé of His Majesty’s Petroleum Department69

BY order of the two Governments of France and Great Britain, the undersigned representatives have resumed, by mutual consent, the consideration of an agreement regarding petroleum.

This agreement is based on the principles of cordial co-operation and reciprocity in those countries where the oil interests of the two nations can be usefully united. This memorandum relates to the following States or countries:—

Roumania, Asia Minor, territories of the old Russian Empire, Galicia, French Colonies and British Crown Colonies.

The agreement may be extended to other countries by mutual consent.
Roumania.—The British and French Governments shall support their respective nationals in any common negotiations to be entered into with the Government of Roumania for—
The acquisition of oil concessions, shares or other interests belonging to former enemy subjects or bodies in Rou-mania which have been sequestrated, e.g., the Steaua Romana, Concordia, Vega, &c, which constituted in that country the oil groups of the Deutsche Bank, and of the Disconto Gesellschaft, together with any other interests that may be obtainable.
Concessions over oil lands belonging to the Roumanian State.
All shares belonging to former enemy concessions which can be secured and all other advantages derived from these negotiations shall be divided, 50 per cent, to British interests and 50 per cent, to French interests. It is understood that in the company or companies to be formed to undertake the management and the exploitation of the said shares, concessions, and other advantages, the two countries shall have the same proportion of 50 per cent. in all capital subscribed, as well as in representatives on the board, and voting power.
Territories of the Late Russian Empire.—In the territories which belonged to the late Russian Empire, the two Governments will give their joint support to their respective nationals in their joint efforts to obtain petroleum concessions and facilities to export, and to arrange delivery of petroleum supplies.
Mesopotamia.—The British Government undertake to grant to the French Government or its nominee 25 per cent, of the net output of crude oil at current market rates which His Majesty’s Government may secure from the Mesopotamian oilfields, in the event of their being developed by Government action; or in the event of a private petroleum company being used to develop the Mesopotamian oilfields, the British Government will place at the disposal of the French Government a share of 25 per cent, in such company. The price to be paid for such participation to be no more than that paid by any of the other participants to the said petroleum company. It is also understood that the said petroleum company shall be under permanent British control.
It is agreed that, should the private petroleum company be constituted as aforesaid, the native Government or other native interests shall be allowed, if they so desire, to participate up to a maximum of 20 per cent. of the share capital of the said company. The French shall contribute one-half of the first 10 per cent, of such native participation and the additional participation shall be provided by each participant in proportion to his holdings.
The British Government agree to support arrangements by which the French Government may procure from the Anglo–Persian Company supplies of oil, which may be piped from Persia to the Mediterranean through any pipe-line which may have been constructed within the French mandated territory and in regard to which France has given special facilities, up to the extent of 25 per cent, of the oil so piped, on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed between the French Government and the Anglo–Persian Company.
In consideration of the above-mentioned arrangements, the French Government shall agree, if it is desired and as soon as application is made, to the construction of two separate pipe-lines and railways necessary for their construction and maintenance and for the transport of oil from Mesopotamia and Persia through French spheres of influence to a port or ports on the Eastern Mediterranean. The port or ports shall be chosen in agreement between the two Governments.
Should such pipe-line and railways cross territory within a French sphere of influence, France undertakes to give every facility for the rights of crossing without any royalty or wayleaves on the oil transported. Nevertheless, compensation shall be payable to the landowners for the surface occupied.
In the same way France will give facilities at the terminal port for the acquisition of the land necessary for the erection of depots, railways, refineries, loading wharfs, &c. Oil thus exported shall be exempt from export and transit dues. The material necessary for the construction of the pipe-lines, railways, refineries and other equipment shall also be free from import duties and wayleaves.
Should the said petroleum company desire to lay a pipe-line and a railway to the Persian Gulf, the British Government will use its good offices to secure similar facilities for that purpose.
North Africa and other Colonies.—The French Government will give facilities to any Franco–British group or groups of good standing, which furnish the necessary guarantees and comply with French laws, for the acquisition of oil concessions in the French colonies, protectorates and zones of influence, including Algeria, Tunis and Morocco. It should be noted that the French Parliament has resolved that groups so formed must contain at least 67 per cent. French interests.
The French Government will facilitate the granting of any concessions in Algeria which are now under consideration as soon as the applicants have complied with all the requirements of the French laws.
British Grown Colonies.—In so far as existing regulations allow, the British Government will give to French subjects who may wish to prospect and exploit petroliferous lands in the Crown Colonies similar advantages to those which France is granting to British subjects in the French colonies.
Nothing in this agreement shall apply to concessions which may be the subject of negotiations initiated by French or British interests.
This agreement had to-day been initialled by M. Philippe Berthelot and Professor Sir John Cadman, subject to confirmation by the French and British Prime Ministers respectively.
  • J. Cadman
  • P. Berthelot


  • D. Lloyd George
  • A. Millerand

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Department was informed of the substance of this agreement in a telegram dated May 3, 1920, from the Ambassador in France (file no. 800.6363/108).
  3. British Command Paper, 675. Miscellaneous. No. 11 (1920).