The Secretary of State to the International Barnsdall Corporation

Gentlemen: I desire to recall the visit to the Department on October 17, 1922, of Mr. Mason Day and Mr. Loucks, representing, as it [Page 813] was understood, the Barnsdall Corporation or the International Barnsdall Corporation. Mr. Day and Mr. Loucks explained the general nature of certain business which the International Barnsdall Corporation expected to undertake in the Russian oil fields and asked if the Department objected. They were informed that the Department made no objection to American citizens or corporations doing business in Soviet Russia on their own responsibility and risk, provided that the operations in view did not jeopardize or infringe the vested rights of others. The latter proviso was based upon the necessity of protecting the existing rights of American citizens in Russia, as well as the rights of the citizens of other countries in conformity with a statement made by this Government in July last,30 a copy of which is enclosed.

Mr. Day and Mr. Loucks said that it was understood that the Barnsdall Corporation was proceeding on its own risk and responsibility, and Mr. Loucks said, with respect to the second point, that it was not the intention of the Corporation to encroach upon the property rights of others and that, if complaint were made in any particular instance and it was found that the Corporation had unwittingly done so, the operations complained of would be stopped forthwith. The representatives of the Department noted Mr. Loucks’ statement and added a request that it be confirmed in writing. Although it was understood that such a written confirmation was promised, none has been received up to the present. When Mr. Day called at the Department on January 19 last he was again reminded of the matter.

In view of the possibility of complaint by other Governments on behalf of their citizens or by citizens of this country who may conceive that your operations in Russia infringe upon their vested rights, it is again suggested that the Department be provided with a written confirmation of the assurance given orally by Mr. Loucks.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Statement issued to the press July 20, 1922; see ibid., p. 823, footnote 44.