846B.6363/38: Telegram

The Minister in Persia (Hornibrook) to the Secretary of State

18. The following note was handed me yesterday with the request that the same be cabled to the Department. It apparently draws its [Page 891] inspiration from a Cairo despatch printed in the London Observer under date of April 15th. The article hinted that the Standard Oil Company concession in Bahrein would shortly be taken over by British interests and the same was promptly made the subject of vitriolic comment by the Persian press. It was vigorously maintained therein that the unquestioned sovereignty of Persia over the islands precluded both British and American interests from obtaining a valid oil concession from any authority other than the Persian Government.…

“Mr. Minister: Nearly four years ago it was first brought to the notice of my Government through some foreign newspapers that a British syndicate had acquired a concession in Bahrein for the exploitation of the oil resources in those islands and that it had started work in the concession area. Owing to the fact that Bahrein is an inseparable part of Persia and the sovereign rights of the Imperial Persian Government over the said islands are undeniable, the Persian Government upon hearing of the illegal actions of said British syndicate in acquiring a concession in Bahrein for the purpose of exploiting the oil resources of that region which action was a transgression of the sovereign rights of Persia, hastened to lodge its strong protests through His Britannic Majesty’s Legation at Teheran. A copy of the said protestation was also forwarded to the Chief of the Secretariat of the League of Nations with a view of its being brought to the notice of all members of the League and the above request has been complied with.

According to the recent informations which have been received by the Imperial Government the Standard Oil Company of California has acquired the said concession and furthermore has started its operations and has extracted large quantities of oil.

I have the honor to draw Your Excellency’s particular attention to the above-mentioned information and to state that the above-mentioned concession or any other concession which might have been acquired by the Standard Oil Company or any other company whatever not having been obtained from the Persian Government who have sovereign rights over the Bahrein Islands but from quarters legally incompetent and not having rights to grant such concessions are considered as legally void and my Government while protesting emphatically against such actions reserves all her rights to the profits derived from the oil of such concessions and the damages resulting therefrom.

My Government is desirous that through the customary courtesy of Your Excellency the contents of the present note will be forwarded to the Government of the United States with a request that the Standard Oil Company of California be informed of the same.”