890F.6363 Standard Oil Co./93

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

Mr. J. A.Moffett, Chairman of the Board of the Bahrein Petroleum Company, Ltd., New York, a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of California, called by appointment this morning upon the Under Secretary in connection with his company’s interests in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf region. Present also were the Chief of the Near Eastern Division and the Economic Adviser.18

After describing briefly his company’s operations in the abovementioned area, Mr. Moffett stated that while King Ibn Saud had hitherto been regarded as very friendly to American interests, this company’s representatives thought they had discerned a certain disposition on the part of the King to be less amenable and co-operative in meeting the company’s wishes with regard to operations in Saudi Arabia and more particularly with regard to the expansion of operations in that area. It was felt that while Ibn Saud had in the past been fairly independent in his relations with the British he was showing signs at present of greater friendliness to the British and a disposition to cooperate with them more fully.

Mr. Moffett then stated that the competent officials of his company were fearful that any disposition on the part of this Government to support Jewish claims in the present dispute over the new pronouncement of British policy proposing a partition of Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews might have serious repercussions on American oil interests in Saudi Arabia and might even result in their expulsion. Mr. Moffett emphasized in this connection the truly American character of the oil concessions held by his company in Saudi Arabia and the importance of increasing production wherever possible in order to meet the constantly increasing demands.

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Mr. Welles told Mr. Moffett he appreciated being kept informed regarding the situation in Saudi Arabia, but added that this Government is not officially concerned in the present Palestine dispute nor had it taken any position with respect thereto.

Wallace Murray
  1. Herbert Feis.