Mr. H. E. Cole of the Standard Oil Company of New York, to the Secretary of State

Subject: Palestine Geological Examinations

Sir: We beg to acknowledge with thanks receipt of your letter of October 28th, TA–867N.6363/8,45 containing a paraphrase of a telegram received from the American Embassy in London on the above subject.

While we shall reply categorically to the restrictions and limitations with which the Palestine and/or British Government has qualified its acquiescence in the geological examinations of our claims, we are loath to believe that our Government has recognized the present Administrators of Palestine, whether known as the Palestine or as the British Government, as having the authority to prescribe terms and conditions under which our investigation may be conducted, regardless of the fact that all of our claims were actually obtained previous to the World War, from the Turkish Government.

1. We agree that our geological researches shall be confined to limits and areas over which concessionary rights were granted to our Company by the Turkish Government.

2. We agree that researches for the present are to be for the purpose of discovering whether Petroleum in payable quantities exists in such areas, and that they are to be conducted on the understanding that the permission of the Palestine and/or British Government is accorded without prejudice as to whether the Company’s claims are valid.

3. While we fully understand that the permission now proposed is for research and geological examination only, and we will strictly so observe it, yet we are not willing to agree as a condition of this permit or otherwise that the development of our claims shall be delayed until the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey, and the final settlement of the terms of the Palestine Mandate.

We have not understood that our Government recognizes any right in the British Government to interfere with or delay the development of claims legally obtained from the Turkish Government prior to the War, and would desire to be informed if there has been any change in the attitude of our Government in this respect before agreeing to a delay in the development of our claims, the termination of which delay is so indefinite and so greatly in the discretion of the British Government.

4. We are unable to accept the condition that we are to undertake to supply a full and complete report embodying a result of the investigations [Page 101] as may be required by the present Government of Palestine, and that our Company will comply with any instructions which may be given by the Government of Palestine. This might be a recognition of a right, which we deny, in the present British or Palestine Government to modify in any way the terms of our claims. However, we do agree to comply with the terms and conditions of the claims as originally granted by the Turkish Government, and with the Turkish mining laws in force at the time the claims were acquired by us.

It is understood that none of our agreements are to imply that our Company in any way waives any of its rights, or the rights which we understand our Government claims for us and other concessionaires in mandate territories.

One of our Directors, Mr. L. I. Thomas, is now in Constantinople but will be in London in the near future. We have sent him a copy of your letter under reply, together with copy of this communication, and have asked him to place himself in touch with the American Embassy for the purpose of such discussion of the matter in London as may be necessary.

While Mr. A. G. Dana is our representative in Jerusalem in particular charge of our geological party, we would prefer to confine all of the important discussions incident to the investigation of our claims to those to be conducted by Mr. Thomas in London, except, of course, minor details which would naturally have to be adjusted on the ground.

We have [etc.]

H. E. Cole
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