890b.6363 Gulf Oil Corporation/44: Telegram

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

116. Department’s 95, March 22, 6 p.m. My note acknowledges Oliphant’s, et cetera (my 110, March 15, 1 p.m.12), and sets forth:

Representative of American oil interests concerned informs me Eastern and General Syndicate deny they were aware Anglo-Persian considering applying for concession but in any case I am informed that this situation will not militate against position of Eastern and General Syndicate.
I refer to advices that Colonial Office gave full and unqualified consent to initiation of negotiations with Sheikh by the Eastern and General Syndicate and that it was not until November 29, 1928 (one year after American interests had associated themselves with the Eastern and General Syndicate), that Colonel More (representative of the Colonial Office as political agent in Koweit) wrote a letter as to the necessity for the inclusion of a British nationality clause in any oil agreement concluded.
I transmitted copy of a Colonial Office letter to the Eastern and General Syndicate dated January 31, 1931, stating the nationality clause was being insisted upon by the Sheikh.
I refer to a letter of the Sheikh of Koweit dated July 2, 1931, expressing the Sheikh’s willingness on his part to omit the nationality clause provided His Majesty’s Government would allow the omission. [Page 11] I also pointed out that in transmitting copy of Sheikh’s letter to the Colonial Office the Eastern and General Syndicate stated they were prepared to include in the Koweit concession similar conditions to those incorporated by the Colonial Office in the assignment of the Bahrein concession.

The final paragraph of my proposed note concludes:

“All of the above evidence would seem to indicate that the American interest associated in the Koweit concession project with the Eastern and General Syndicate has been awaiting for some time the decision of His Majesty’s Government, not yet received.

“Since, as according to your note, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company geologists are in Koweit with the approval of the Sheikh, I understand that such approval could only have been obtained with the prior knowledge and assent of the Colonial Office and through the intermediation of the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf; in other words, at a time when His Majesty’s Government had under consideration the merits of the claim of the Eastern and General Syndicate, in which there was an American interest, to proceed to the consummation of the Koweit oil concession without the inclusion therein of the so-called ‘British nationality clause’”.

  1. Not printed.