The Secretary of State to Mr. Francis B. Loomis of the Standard Oil Company of California

Sir: Reference is made to your interview of May 18, 1923, with the Secretary of State, concerning the desire of the Standard Oil Company of California to obtain permission from the Government of Japan to send a party of geologists to Northern, or Russian Sakhalin, this summer for the purpose of making geological reconnaissance of certain areas in the Eastern part of the Island supposed to contain structure favorable to the production of petroleum. You stated in the interview referred to, that the areas which the Standard Oil Company of California desires to have studied by the geologists are covered by patents legally obtained and executed under the Government of the late Czar of Russia. You also pointed out that the season during which geological work may be prosecuted to advantage in Northern Sakhalin is brief, and suggested that in consideration of this condition, the matter of obtaining permission from the Japanese Government be taken up by telegraph with the American Embassy at Tokyo.

American passports are now issued valid expressly for “all countries.” The Department is prepared to furnish passports in this standard form to the members of the geological party mentioned who make application therefor and are entitled to receive passports, and there would be no objection on the part of this Government to the use of these passports for the purpose of travel or sojourn in Northern Sakhalin. A passport issued by one government does not, however, confer a right upon its holder to enter territory within the sovereignty or under the actual control of another government, except with the consent of the latter. Japan maintains in fact a military occupation of Northern Sakhalin, though this Government has expressed the view that the occupation should not continue.

There is no objection on the part of this Government to the Standcard Oil Company of California communicating directly with the Japanese authorities concerning the admission of the party in question, but the Department regrets to inform you that it is not prepared at this time to make special representations on the subject to the Japanese Government.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes