The Chargé in France (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

No. 1520

Sir: Reference is made to the Department’s telegram No. 785, of July 26th to London,77 which was repeated to me by Mr. Davis, giving the text of a Note to be sent to the British Foreign Office and instructing this Embassy to present to the French Foreign Office such parts thereof as might be considered advisable. In compliance with your instructions, I have the honor to report that on August 8th I took occasion to see Mr. Paléologue, Secretary General of the Foreign Office, to explain to him unofficially the position of the American Government with respect to the agreement made at San Remo between the British and French Governments for the disposition of petroleum produced in Mesopotamia, which gave to France preferential treatment in regard thereto. To emphasize my point, left with him an aide memoire which is enclosed. Mr. Paléologue promised to give these matters his immediate attention.

Since the foregoing was drafted I have received your telegraphic Instruction No. 1362, of August 11, 7 P.M.,78 relative to the Anglo-French Oil Agreement. I believe that this Instruction is fully covered by my previous action recited above.

I have [etc.]

Leland Harrison
[Page 668]

The American Chargé (Harrison) to the Secretary General of the French Foreign Office (Paléologue)

Aide Memoire

During the Peace negotiations at Paris leading up to the Treaty of Versailles, the Government of the United States consistently took the position that the future peace of the world required that as a general principle any alien territory which should be acquired by the Allied Powers pursuant to the Treaties of Peace with the Central Powers must 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 was on account of and subject to this understanding that the United States felt itself able and willing to agree that the acquisition of certain enemy territory by the victorious powers would be consistent with the best interests of the world. The representatives of the principal Allied Powers in the discussion of the mandate principles and in the deliberations of the Council of Four expressed in no indefinite manner their recognition of the justice and farsightedness of such a principle and agreed to its application to the mandate over Turkish territory.

The Government of the United States has noted the publication of an agreement between the British 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—the so-called San Remo agreement of April 24, 1920.79 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. The views of the Government of the Republic are respectfully solicited.

  1. Ante, p. 658.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 655.