890b.6363 Gulf Oil Corporation/132: Telegram

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

231. Your despatch No. 2, April 11, 1932, regarding Kuwait. The Department is informed by the Gulf Oil Company that the Eastern and General Syndicate has been unable to obtain from the Colonial Office a definitive reply to its letter of June 10, 1932, requesting information as to whether Clause 8 of a proposed draft concession with the Shaikh of Kuwait was satisfactory from the point of view of safeguarding the interests of the British Government, and, if not, requesting an indication of wherein it failed to do so.

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It is represented to the Department that the failure of the Colonial Office to give a definite indication of its views in this matter prevents the Shaikh from taking a decision on the draft concession which the Syndicate submitted on May 26, 1932, since he is barred from taking action before knowing what safeguards the British Government requires in a concession which is eventually to be assigned to a British incorporated company controlled by American interests. Meanwhile, it is stated, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company has submitted a draft concession which the Shaikh is being urged to grant immediately. Inasmuch as the question of safeguards does not arise in the case of the latter concession, the Shaikh is presumably free to make a decision on it at any time. Thus the Syndicate is placed in a disadvantageous position since it is unable to obtain consideration from the Shaikh for its draft concession because of the failure of the Colonial Office promptly to furnish information requested nearly 3 months ago. Consequently effect is not being given to the assurance contained in the Foreign Office note of April 9, 1932, in which the British Government agreed that it would raise no objection to the Shaikh taking under consideration any application which the Syndicate might wish to make for a concession.

Please take up this question immediately with the Foreign Office and urge that appropriate steps be taken in order that the American interest involved may be placed in as favorable a position as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in having its application considered by the Shaikh. The Department leaves to your discretion the determination as to whether this question should be taken up formally or informally.

Please telegraph the results of your representations.