891.6363 Standard Oil/56

The Chargé in Persia (Engert) to the Secretary of State

No. 771

Sir: With further reference to the Legation’s telegram No. 73 of November 26, 9 p.m., I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a letter dated December 2, 192125 addressed to me by the British Chargé d’Affaires in Teheran, together with its enclosures consisting of copies of two notes which he presented to the Persian Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs,26 respectively, on November 25, 1921, on the subject of the oil concessions of North Persia.

These notes were presented to the Persian Government under instructions from the British Foreign Office to protest against the grant to the Standard Oil Company of a concession covering the oil of the northern provinces which the British Government considers “to be entirely indefensible and extremely unfriendly to his Majesty’s Government” and to state that the British Government “will continue to uphold the prior right of the British group”.

As soon as the Legation has obtained copies of the Persian reply to these notes they will be transmitted to the Department.25

I have [etc.]

C. Van H. Engert

The British Chargé in Persia (Bridgeman) to the Persian Prime Minister (Ghevam-os-Saltaneh)

Your Highness: I beg Your Highness to be so good as to refer to the correspondence between this Legation and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the subject of the Khoshtaria concession, and especially [Page 651] to Mr. Norman’s notes of 6th October 1920 and 2nd September and mine of 13th October 1921. Your Highness will have seen from these papers that my Government maintain the absolute validity of the rights, duly acquired by purchase, of the A[nglo-] P[ersian] O[il] C[ompany] to this concession, and do not admit the contention of Your Highness’ Government that the concession is invalid because it was not approved by the Majlis (which was not sitting at the time) and because the Russian Soviet Government renounced concessions granted to Russian subjects during the Imperial regime in Russia. H.M.G. cannot allow the rights of British subjects to be infringed by any arrangements subsequently entered into between the Persian Government and third powers.

In view of these representations already made to the Persian Government, and of which Your Highness personally must have been fully cognizant, His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has directed me to inform Your Highness that he considers the action taken by Your Highness, in proposing to the Majlis the grant to an American Company of an oil concession covering the northern provinces of Persia, and thus directly conflicting with the rights legally acquired by a British Company, to be entirely indefensible and extremely unfriendly to His Majesty’s Government.

Lord Curzon has also instructed me to renew the official protests referred to above, stating that His Majesty’s Government will continue to uphold the rights of the British Company, and I am accordingly addressing a note to His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs in that sense.

I avail myself [etc.]

R. Bridgeman
  1. Not printed.
  2. Note to Minister of Foreign Affairs not printed.
  3. Not printed.