867. 602 Ot 81/229: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting High Commissioner at Constantinople ( Dolbeare )

[Paraphrase]

282. Referring to High Commission’s telegram 370, December 5. Following message is transmitted to you on request of Goethals, Barnard, and Rousseau,53 who called at Department on December 6:54

“Kennedy and Chester are accredited agents of the Ottoman-American Development Company, a corporation officered and controlled by American citizens, owning all rights to the Chester Project. The deposit required by the Turkish officials has been made to secure the concession, but it is alleged that obstacles are being put in the way of securing the necessary parliamentary confirmation. I am asking the State Department that you render such assistance under the circumstances as can be done consistently with its policy and your duties. Signed. Goethals.”

[Page 981]

Department has received copy of a memorandum of a voting trust agreement55 signed by Goethals, Barnard, and Rousseau. The agreement vests the control of the company in three American trustees for five years, and provides that the concession, if obtained, shall be eventually transferred to a new company in which 49 percent of stock will go to Barnard.

A substantial American interest in the Ottoman-American Development Company is shown by evidence submitted. You may, therefore, give such diplomatic support as may be proper, but of course without participating in negotiations. The Department desires to maintain the principle of the “open door” and to secure freedom of opportunity to American interests, but it should be borne in mind that the Department plays no favorites and cannot give special support to a single American concern.

There is no substantial ground for believing that Kennedy is in British secret service. However, your action in declining to meet Turkish request for guarantee of Kennedy is approved by the Department, and has been explained to Barnard and Goethals.

Hughes
  1. Rear Admiral H. H. Rousseau, U. S. N.
  2. Quoted message not paraphrased.
  3. Not printed.