867.602 Ot 81/175

The Under Secretary of State ( Fletcher ) to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy ( Roosevelt )

My Dear Theodore: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 2nd, enclosing papers from Rear Admiral Chester regarding a concession for oil in Asia Minor. I have noted that you state that Admiral Chester wishes to be appointed Naval Attaché at Constantinople, and that your comment as regards this proposition is that his appointment as Naval Attaché would give his project at least a semi-official standing in the eyes of other governments.

As you request my opinion on this matter, I should like to say that in principle I am opposed to the appointment of a Naval Attaché for the sole purpose of securing a concession for a private concern from the foreign government to which he is accredited. It appears to me also that the present moment is inopportune for the securing of a concession.

The Department of State has for years past been deeply interested in the concession negotiated between the Ottoman Government and the Ottoman Development Company of New York and as you will remember, our Embassy at Constantinople, under instructions from the Department, gave its warm support to this Company in 1910 [Page 920] and 1911. The situation has now completely changed and it appears to me that it would be almost impossible to determine to what government or governments the Ottoman Development Company should address itself for confirmation in its concession rights until at least the Treaty with Turkey and also the boundaries of Armenia, etc., have been definitely established.

Sincerely yours,

Henry P. Fletcher