The Secretary of State to the Minister in the Netherlands (Tobin)
Washington, May 29, 1928—8 p.m.
20. Referring to your 24, May 26, 1 p.m.
- In the effort to conclude satisfactorily the questions concerning reciprocity on oil lands, pending now for about eight years, the United States Government already has gone to considerable lengths and so far has had no satisfactory response to the Department’s memorandum (telegram No. 8, March 2, 4 p.m.) as presented or to its statement (telegram No. 10, March 28, 7 p.m.) to the effect that no objection would be made to a suitable written statement if the Government of the Netherlands took appropriate action regarding the matter. While wishing to continue every reasonable effort to adjust the same, the Department considers that, in view of the available information, any formal advances would not be appropriate. As to your mentioning “assent” by the Government of the Netherlands, acceptance of the Department’s proposal, it may be emphasized, involves both action and assent.
- In view of the above, the best procedure would seem to be for you to talk over the matter informally, along the lines of the Department’s 17, May 21, 3 p.m., and of this telegram, with the appropriate [Page 395]official and to make it clear the United States Government now is waiting for the Netherlands Government’s expression of views in this regard. If you deem it helpful, you may express the opinion also that public opinion in the United States may, should a real reciprocity not be established within the near future, demand measures which would condition access to both public and private lands upon reciprocity. You may make an oral statement further that there appears to be at present in the United States an increasing sentiment to this effect; that the Department has on a number of occasions used its influence in opposition to proposals which would harm the interests of nonreciprocating countries’ nationals; but that the Department will find it increasingly difficult to act similarly hereafter if American nationals cannot be shown to be enjoying abroad a substantial reciprocity. Again you may in this connection emphasize the fact that about 90 percent of this country’s proven oil areas are private lands of the United States concerning which the Government does not impose any restriction on activities of corporations which are controlled or owned by foreign nationals.