867.602 Ot 81/174

Memorandum by the Acting Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State (Robbins)

Admiral Chester, for many years identified at the Department with the Chester project of the railroad from the east end of the Mediterranean through Van and the oil fields of Mesopotamia, called upon the Secretary of State who had summoned Mr. Robbins of the Near Eastern Division and Mr. Schmavonian.36

Admiral Chester was informed, as he was on various other occasions, that the Department is deeply interested in his project. He was also reminded of the frequent assistance given him in 1909 and later by the American diplomatic representatives at Constantinople.

His attention was called, however, to the present unsettled condition in Anatolia; to the French occupation of Syria and the British occupation of Mesopotamia. He was also informed that the Department did not see at present how it could take any definite action with any Turkish Government in view of existing circumstances.

Admiral Chester replied that he was well aware of the difficult conditions now existing; that he simply wished to receive from the Secretary of State assurances of the interest and good will of the Department in his project. He stated that he believed that he would have the support of the British Government and that he intended soon to leave for Anatolia and Mesopotamia to take up the matter of securing the concession.

To this the Secretary replied that he saw no objection to his so doing and wished him success in his enterprize.

W. R[obbins]
  1. A. K. Schmavonian, special assistant, Department of State.