890g.6363/49

The Secretary of State to the President of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey ( Teagle )

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of a letter dated November 3, 1921,27 signed by yourself, as President of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, by E. L. Doheny, President of the Mexican Petroleum Company, Amos L. Beaty, President of the Texas Company, George S. Davison, President of the Gulf Refining Company, J. W. Van Dyke, Secretary of the Atlantic Refining Company, H. F. Sinclair, President of the Sinclair Consolidated Oil Corporation, and C. F. Meyer, Vice President of the Standard Oil Company of New York, stating that the above named American companies desire to conduct petroleum investigations in Mesopotamia and that a party of geologists and engineers representing these companies is ready to start as soon as assurance is received that permission to make such investigations will be granted. You further request such information and instructions as may be thought necessary.

This Department is not informed that any decision has been reached relative to the working of the oil fields of Mesopotamia or [Page 88] that any regulations have been issued providing for the granting of rights for prospecting or development. It is understood to be the position of the British Government that, during the period of military occupation, no permission is being granted to the nationals of any country to conduct geological investigations in Mesopotamia.

There are, it is well known, in the regions referred to, certain claims to rights alleged to have been granted before the war which, if recognized, would apparently result in the exclusion of American interests from petroleum development in Mesopotamia. These claims have become the subject of diplomatic correspondence and it is understood that no final action has yet been taken by the British Government or by the authorities in Mesopotamia, with reference to them.

As soon as this Department learns that permission for prospecting in Mesopotamia is being or may be granted by the authorities in that territory, you will be promptly informed.

It is helpful to know that American oil companies are prepared to take advantage promptly of the opportunities which are expected to be presented in that region; and, accordingly, your courteous and timely statement of the position and plans of your company is thoroughly appreciated.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
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