The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Under Secretary of State (Olds)

My Dear Colonel Olds: Permit me to invite reference to letters recently exchanged between yourself and Sir J. Broderick of this Embassy regarding a request filed by a Mr. H. H. Hallatt, acting on behalf of the British-owned Company “El Aguila” for permission to explore for oil on certain lands near Puerto Mexico, in the State of Vera Cruz, belonging to four United States citizens. I now write to say that the attention of His Majesty’s Government has been drawn to a case exactly analogous to that forming the subject of the above-mentioned correspondence where the Richmond Petroleum Company, a United States Company which is a member of the Association of oil producers, has applied for concessions covering lands in Mexico owned by a British interest since a date prior to the constitution of 1917. As was true with the United States citizens concerned in the case which you brought to this Embassy’s notice, the British owners in the present instance, (the Mexican Estates Company, a subsidiary of S. Pearson and Sons Ltd.) are not members of the Association. This Company’s property, consisting of certain lots in the district of Tonalapa amounting to 862 hectares, was at one time leased from them by the El Aguila Company and such lease was allowed to lapse. By virtue of this lease the landowner establishes a pre-constitutional title. This was the very situation which obtained in the case of the property of the United States landowners known as El Plan, where the Transcontinental Petroleum Company held a lease which they allowed to lapse. In the first instance the Richmond Petroleum Company have applied for a post-constitutional [Page 173]concession (over the head of the landowners) and in the second instance the El Aguila have applied for a similar concession.

Inasmuch as the present case is thus in all essential respects parallel to that dealt with in the correspondence under reference, I am now writing, on instructions from His Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to enquire whether the United States Government would be prepared to use their good offices to secure from the Richmond Petroleum Company an undertaking identical with that obtained from the British principals in the former instance and conveyed to you in Sir J. Broderick’s letter of October 20th viz.: an assurance that the Company will be prepared to conform (with retroactive effect in regard to this case) to any amendment of the existing agreed procedure which may be adopted by the Association of Oil Producers as a whole.

Yours very sincerely,

Esme Howard