The Minister in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

No. 4

Sir: I have the honor to refer to despatch No. 2503 dated August 30, 1933, from this Legation, on the proposed extension of the refined oil monopoly to all of Greece.

I now enclose in translation the note from the Foreign Office in answer to the note forwarded by the Chargé d’Affaires relative to this question. While at the first reading, it might appear that activity in this matter had not died down, I am of the opinion that in reality this note is intended to serve no other purpose than a general reservation of its position by the Greek Government. It seems quite definite that the proposed law has been abandoned, at least for the present. Subsequent to the despatch from this office, to which reference is made above, the Prime Minister told the British Chargé d’Affaires that the proposed law had been abandoned on account of the opposition of the governments whose national interests were involved. I have not disclosed to the local manager of the Socony-Vacuum Company the contents of the Foreign Office’s reply, believing that the Department should have the opportunity to inform the head office of the company if it desires to do so.

Respectfully yours,

Lincoln MacVeagh

The Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs (Maximos) to the American Chargé (Morris)

No. 34133

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: In answer to letter No. 204/33 which you were good enough to address to me on last August the 17th, I have the [Page 552] honor to bring to your knowledge that the competent Ministry communicates the following on the subject of the plan to institute a petroleum monopoly in the New Provinces.

The competent services have indeed studied and prepared for a long time a proposed law instituting the petroleum monopoly in the New Provinces, but no decision has yet been taken on the subject of submitting it to the Chamber.

Relative to the prejudice which is foreseen for the Socony-Vacuum Corporation, the competent Ministry is of the opinion that, being free of any contractual obligation towards this company and not a party to any engagement taken by the latter towards third parties, of which the Ministry does not even possess any knowledge, it reserves entire liberty to act towards the institution of this monopoly such as it exists in Old Greece, if the interests of the Hellenic Treasury should require such action.

Beyond these considerations, the competent Ministry is further of the opinion that none of the damage foreseen will result by this action for the Socony-Vacuum Corporation. Nothing indeed would prevent the above mentioned company from continuing to furnish in the future, by adjudication, the petroleum necessary to the monopoly and there is no reason why its installations at Saloniki, which serve not only for the storage of petroleum but also and especially for the storing of benzene, mazut, mineral oil, etc., should be rendered useless. Furthermore, this company possesses similar installations at the Piraeus where the monopoly of petroleum has always been in effect.

In any case, even if the institution of the monopoly had been definitely decided upon, which it has been made clear is not at all the case, the competent Ministry would not see any objection to undertake in a spirit of free initiative the necessary measures, in order that justified complaint of the interested companies should be avoided as much as possible.

I seize this occasion [etc.]

D. Maximos