891.6363 Standard Oil/83

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Dearing)

The Secretary: Mr. Fletcher34 called me in on the morning of December 17th to take part in a conversation he was having with Mr. Chilton and Mr. Broderick of the British Embassy who had been requested by the British Ambassador to come to the Department and inquire regarding the initiative the Persian Government had been taking with American oil companies concerning concessions for oil in the five northern provinces of Persia.

Mr. Chilton and Mr. Broderick were informed that the Persian Minister had approached the Department and that the Department [Page 654] was interested but that it had no intention whatever of lending itself to any Persian scheme which might create bad relations with the British Government. It was stated that the Department was much interested in having oil opportunities throughout the world open to everyone on a basis of equality and that it was hoped that the British would abide by that principle in Mesopotamia and in Palestine. It was intimated that more basis for doing business under the equality of opportunity idea could in all probability be found for the north Persian situation.

Mr. Chilton and Mr. Broderick said nothing with regard to equality of opportunity in Mesopotamia and Palestine and in taking leave gave the impression of being reassured with regard to north Persia. It was understood that if other developments made it necessary to do so, the Department would be glad to have further talks with the British Embassy.


[The memorandum was referred to the Under Secretary of State, who added the following note:]

I would add to this memorandum that Mr. Chilton and Mr. Broderick informed me that they had been advised that the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Standard Oil Company had come to an agreement whereby their interests in the Persian fields would be pooled, and said that the Ambassador would like to be assured that this met with the approval of the Department. I replied that while the Department had had some unofficial reports tending to confirm this, it would be necessary to know how far the agreement affected the rights of other American companies interested in this field before it would be possible to express an opinion, but that as a matter of principle the Department saw no objection to American and British oil companies cooperating if no other question was involved except mere cooperation.

H[enry] P. F[letcher]
  1. Under Secretary of State.