890b.6363 Gulf Oil Corporation/48

The Chargé in Great Britain (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

No. 2686

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 112, March 18, 5 p.m.,8 regarding the Koweit Oil Concession, and to transmit herewith a complete copy of Sir Lancelot Oliphant’s note, a portion of [Page 9] which was telegraphed to the Department in my telegram No. 110, March 15, 1 p.m.9

There is also attached for the Department’s consideration a copy of a proposed informal reply from me.10 The London agent of the Gulf Company is most anxious that this note should be discussed by the State Department with the New York office and further gives his opinion that early action is important in view of the activities of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Koweit. If, as I understand, Sir John Simon will consider this case some time during the week of April 4th, I should be grateful if the Department would advise me by cable at as early a date as may be possible whether the text of the proposed note herewith appended is approved of.

Respectfully yours,

Ray Atherton

The British Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Oliphant) to the American Chargé (Atherton)

My Dear Ray: I have now looked into the question of the activities of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company at the present time in Koweit, about which you made representations in the memorandum, which you were good enough to leave with me on the 26th February, and in our conversation on the 23rd of the same month.

As the Eastern and General Syndicate are already aware, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company are also considering the question of applying at an early date for a concession from the Sheikh of Koweit. I may say that this Company manifested an interest in Koweit oil, and indeed made a formal application for a concession before the Eastern and General Syndicate had even appeared on the scene. At that time the negotiations were not brought to a conclusion, chiefly because the terms suggested were not satisfactory. The Company have, however, not lost interest in Koweit and are at the present time, with the sanction of the Sheikh, carrying out merely a geological exploration of the territory. I find that they made their request to be allowed to carry out this survey several months before you made any representations in the matter.

As regards the general question, let me explain that, since the return of our Secretary of State, I have found it necessary to put the whole matter before him, as the views of the various Government Offices have been so divergent.

[Page 10]

Sir John wishes me now to add these few lines to say that he will be considering the whole matter in the near future and that yet some further delay must be inevitable. We are so sorry.

Yours v. sincerely,

Lancelot Oliphant
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For summary, see telegram No. 116, March 23, 1 p.m., from the Chargé in Great Britain, p. 10.