800.6363/143: Telegram

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

785. Please present to the British Foreign Office a note in the sense of the following:70

“Pursuant to the instructions of my Government, I have the honor to recall to Your Lordship the statement in my note No. 317 of May 12, 1920,71 that the Government of the United States would be glad to receive an early expression of the views of His Majesty’s Government with respect to its economic policy in the mandate regions of the Near East.

“The Government of the United States appreciates that with respect to the inauguration of the administration of the mandate territories His Majesty’s Government will consider it necessary to proceed with due deliberation. His Majesty’s Government will recall, however, that the Government of the United States is primarily interested in the effective application to these territories of general principles already clearly recognized and adhered to during the peace negotiations at Paris, that such territories should be held and governed in such a way as to assure equal treatment in law and in fact to the commerce of all nations.

“It is the opinion of this Government that the treatment of the economic resources of the regions which will be held under mandate [Page 659] by Great Britain or other nations involves a question of principle transcending in importance questions relating merely to the commercial competition of private interests or to control for strategic purposes of any particular raw material.

“The Government of the United States, in its note of May 12, 1920, suggested certain considerations that indicate the necessity for careful measures to guarantee the practical fulfillment of the principles expressed and agreed to during the peace negotiations at Paris. Unfortunately, occurrences subsequent to the submission of this note have not served to clarify the situation or to diminish the concern felt by the Government and people of the United States.

“The Government of the United States has noted the publication of an agreement between His Majesty’s Government and the French Government making certain provisions for the disposition of petroleum produced in Mesopotamia and giving to France preferential treatment in regard thereto.72 It is not clear to the Government of the United States how such an agreement can be consistent with the principles of equality of treatment understood and accepted during the peace negotiations at Paris.

“This Government desires to record its view that such an agreement, in light of the position the British Government appears to have assumed toward Mesopotamia and its economic resources, will as a practical matter result in a grave infringement of the mandate principle, which was formulated for the purpose of removing in the future some of the principal causes of international differences.

“In the interest of a frank discussion of the whole subject, the Government of the United States desires further to call the attention of His Majesty’s Government to the existence of reports to the effect that the officials charged with the administration of Tanganyika Territory have accorded privileges to British nationals that have not been accorded to the nationals of other countries.

“The Government of the United States desires to express anew the hope that in an early reply to the note of May 12, 1920, His Majesty’s Government will find it possible to elucidate fully its policy regarding the mandated territories of the Near East and other regions.”

  1. A note based on this instruction was addressed to the British Foreign Secretary under date of July 28, 1920.
  2. Ante, p. 651.
  3. San Remo Agreement, supra.