346B.115 Standard Oil Co./16

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

I informed the Italian Ambassador this morning that the Department contemplated acting in accordance with his request that the oral protest which had been made to him yesterday by Mr. Berle, regarding [Page 724] the bombing of American oil properties in Saudi Arabia by Italian planes, be brought simultaneously to the attention of the Italian Government through our Embassy at Rome.

The Ambassador thanked me for this assurance and reiterated his feeling that after all, since this was an American interest involved, the proper channel for communicating with the Italian Government with respect thereto was through our Embassy in Rome.

The Ambassador said he very much regretted to note the publicity which had been given in the morning papers to the conversation which he had yesterday with Mr. Berle. He added that he had not mentioned the matter to anyone and therefore assumed that the report had emanated from the Department. He added that publicity of this kind was in his opinion always unfortunate.49

  1. Attached to this document is a note by Mr. Berle as follows: “I see no reason why we should have kept our protest to the Italians secret. They did not bother to keep their bombings secret.”