892.6363/69: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Siam ( Chapman )

11. Reference Department’s No. 8, May 14, 2 p.m., and your reply No. 9, May 17, 2 p.m.; also your despatch No. 537 of June 2, just received.

[Page 893]

The Embassy at London has informed the Department that the British Foreign Office has sent an instruction to the British Legation at Bangkok the pertinent portion of which reads as follows:

“I note that despite Ministry of Foreign Affairs denials Sir Josiah Crosby considers it probable that suggested law will be tabled in due course. His Majesty’s Government considers that any such legislation, while not in terms discriminatory, would operate most inequitably against established British interests; all efforts should therefore be made to prevent enactment.

My view is that the best method of approach at present to the Siamese Government would be for you to follow up Sir Josiah Crosby’s action by inquiring verbally whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have yet heard anything regarding the intentions of the Ministry of Defense in this matter. You might observe that if any legislation of the nature suspected were in fact to be promulgated, it would call forth a strong protest from His Majesty’s Government. At the same time you might hint to the Siamese Government that, with their desire to secure their position as regards oil supplies, it would hardly seem to be in their interest to take action which in the last resort might force the existing companies, which have large resources and assured supplies of oil to have to consider whether they could continue in business in Siam.

You are authorized to speak to the Siamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on these lines if, after consultation with your United States colleague and with the local representative of the oil companies, you consider it desirable. I leave to your discretion the time of any démarche as also the question of acting jointly with your United States colleague.”

The Department feels that concurrent approaches to the Siamese Foreign Office by you and your British colleague, rather than a joint approach, would be preferable. The Department suggests that you inquire with regard to the intentions of the Siamese Government, and in particular of the Ministry of Defense, toward the marketing of oil in Siam; inform the Foreign Office that this Government would view with concern legislation by the Siamese Government which would seriously threaten or inequitably affect the established trade of the American oil interests in Siam; and express the hope that the Siamese Government is not contemplating enactment of such legislation. You may inform the Foreign Office that this Government is committed to a policy of endeavoring to obtain the removal of excessive restrictions to international trade and could not remain indifferent to action on the part of the Siamese Government which in effect restricted or unduly interfered with American trade with Siam.

Referring to the statement in the instruction to the British Legation at Siam with regard to consideration by the oil companies as to whether or not they could continue business in Siam should the Siamese Government take the proposed action, the Department feels [Page 894] that you should not make such a suggestion to the Foreign Office at this time.

You are authorized to make a further oral, informal approach to the Siamese Foreign Office along the lines set forth above. However, before taking such action, you should consult with your British colleague and with the representative of the American oil company.

In action matters, please keep Department currently informed by telegraph as well as by mail.