Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The Minister of the Netherlands49 called at his own request. He said he called to discuss the interest of his Government in the oil properties of the citizens of his country which were seized by Mexican authorities at the same time American and British oil was seized under the pretext that it was to be a bona fide expropriation proceeding. He stated that the oil owners of his country and Great Britain and the United States in Mexico, whose properties were all alike seized, have thus far cooperated and sought to work together in any steps taken for relief and recovery; and that, therefore, his Government desired this Government to join in a joint proposal of the three Governments whose nationals are affected, in proposing arbitration, and that the Hague tribunal should be the agency. I then proceeded to repeat to him the course this Government has taken up until this time with respect to arbitration with Mexico, and what the State Department has said to the owners of the American oil companies in regard to separate arbitration proposals made concurrently, rather than a joint proposal by the three Governments, and I gave him further details of our discussions with American oil owners relative to this phase, stating why we could not take this joint action.

The Minister then inquired why this Government couldn’t propose an arbitration agreement between this Government and Mexico and in the event of an acceptance by Mexico, this Government should then suggest that the Mexican Government work out an agreement to arbitrate [Page 997] with the British and the Dutch, before the arbitration agreement with this country should be proceeded with. I told him that would not get anywhere for manifest reasons, which I explained to him. He then got away from his idea and said that he was impressed with the main points I had made and that he would get in touch with the representatives of the Dutch interests in New York; also that he would speak briefly with Mr. Hackworth50 about one or two minor phases of his conference with Dr. Borchard51 and Mr. Farish.52

  1. Alexander Loudon.
  2. Green H. Hackworth, Legal Adviser.
  3. Dr. Edwin Borchard, a counsel for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and professor at Yale University.
  4. William S. Farish, President of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.