The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy ( Child )
Your 21, May 3, 6 P.M., 22, May 4, 9 A.M. Please endeavor to ascertain the precise terms of the reported oil agreement between Soviet representatives and Royal Dutch Shell and its effect on rights now held by an American company in production, transportation, marketing, and exportation.
In informal conversations with British representatives, endeavor orally, discreetly and in the most friendly way to obtain information on above points and attitude of British Government toward (1) Royal Dutch Shell negotiations, as reported in the press; (2) any proposal for giving one company or group a monopoly of any [Page 776] branch of Russian oil industry and (3) any other plan which might prevent full exercise of rights now held by American interests.
You are confidentially informed that in recent conversations on other aspects of the oil question the British Government has expressed its desire for a frank interchange of information and views arid for friendly cooperation between American and British interests.
You may accordingly in your discretion make it entirely clear to the representatives of the British Government that this Government has complete confidence that the British Government will not aid or countenance any arrangement by British nationals or the nationals of any other country with the Soviet representatives that would jeopardize or prejudice the vested rights of American citizens in Russia. Large American interests are involved in all branches of the oil industry in Russia.
You are free to make similar statements to the representatives of other governments, and, in your discretion, you may also see that word reaches Soviet representatives that this Government will not countenance any arrangements to the prejudice of American interests in Russia.
Keep Department informed in detail.