867n.6363/2

The Vice President of the Standard Oil Company of New York ( L. I. Thomas ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my visit at the Department on August 4th, 1921 when, in the course of a conversation with Mr. Fletcher34 and Mr. Millspaugh,35 I put forward the suggestion that representation should be made by the American Ambassador in London to the British Foreign Office so that my Company might be permitted to make a geological survey of their petroleum concessions in the Palestine. Our party have now been detained at Jerusalem for two years, and notwithstanding repeated protests, both through the State Department and by direct representation to the Foreign Office, the British Government have refused to permit any prospecting or research work, claiming we must await the outcome on the question of the Mandate or Protectorate.

It seems clear that to simply make a geological examination of the land does not in itself confer or confirm any rights which we claim. However, if this opinion is not shared by H.M. Government the Standard Oil Company of New York agree that if their research parties are permitted to move about the country for the purpose indicated they will not consider it as conferring any right or confirming any of their claims; furthermore, they will undertake not to sink any wells until such permission has been granted. It should be borne in mind that the rainy season in Palestine commences about December 1st and unless these parties are permitted to promptly go about their business a delay until next Spring is inevitable. What we are seeking to accomplish is to obtain some idea as to whether [Page 95] these concessions should be developed, and this, of course, cannot be determined until a thorough geological study has been made.

Asking that you will kindly give this matter your usual prompt attention and advise us what action has been taken,

I have [etc.]

L. I. Thomas
  1. Henry P. Fletcher, Under Secretary of State.
  2. Arthur C. Millspaugh, attached to the office of the Foreign Trade Adviser, Department of State.