890g.6363 T 84/229: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Houghton) to the Secretary of State

377. Department’s 357, December 5, 7 p.m. was discussed with Foreign Office today in reviewing the Turkish petroleum situation. [Page 241] Oliphant72 gave fullest assurances of the desire of the British Government to see American interests remain. From the latest information the Foreign Office is hopeful that the proposal to resort to arbitration will be accepted by Gulbenkian and by the British interests in Turkish Petroleum. Foreign Office has not ceased to urge this course on British group and I understand from Oliphant that French Government has been exercising similar pressure on French group.

In reply to a question in the House this afternoon the Prime Minister replied:

“His Majesty’s Government regard as undoubtedly valid the convention made on March 14, 1925, whereby the Government of Irak granted to the Turkish Petroleum Company for a period of 75 years the exclusive right to extract and dispose of petroleum and similar products in the whole of Irak with the exception of the ‘transferred territories’ and the vilayet of Basra.

They welcomed the inclusion of French interests in the Turkish Petroleum Company and have watched with sympathy negotiations for the inclusion also of American interests. If these negotiations result in American interests acquiring an interest in the Turkish Petroleum Company such a result will be welcomed by His Majesty’s Government.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Lancelot Oliphant, head of the Eastern Department of the British Foreign Office.