800.6363/299: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey) to the Secretary of State

742. Your 492, August 22nd, 12 a.m. After discussion with Thomas upon his arrival on 2d instant and oral representation to the Foreign Office on the 5th as well as conversations between Thomas and Sir John Cadman,39 Thomas accompanied by Wright40 had an interview with Colonial Office yesterday.

The latter were clearly maneuvering for position and after inquiring whether Socony41 and the Government desire or are willing that equal privileges of exploration be accorded other nationals as well (to which an affirmative reply was given) shifted the discussion to Mesopotamia and to mandates in general, inquiring as to how we might define a “monopoly” and also whether arbitration of such an alleged monopoly as the Turkish Petroleum claim should take place without consulting the Mesopotamian Government. We replied that any discussion of that phase of the situation prior to submission thereof to the Department and before receiving the reply of the British Government to your recent memorandum on the question of mandates would be premature.

Upon reiteration of the request that the company’s representative be permitted to continue exploration in Palestine we were informed that a definitive reply could only be given to a formal request to that effect, which, in view of the nature of your instructions I hesitate to make without specific directions. It seems clear that the point upon which the British Government may base refusal or at least postponement of decision will be their alleged disinclination to create a precedent in the matter of recognizing rights or concessions acquired before the war.

  1. Chief technical adviser to the Anglo-Persian Oil Co.; former Director of the British Petroleum Executive.
  2. J. Butler Wright, Counselor of Embassy at London.
  3. Standard Oil Company of New York.