The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Halifax )45

Excellency: In view of the great and world-wide importance of petroleum from the long-range as well as the immediate wartime viewpoint, and of the fact that nationals of our two countries hold, to a substantial extent jointly, rights to develop extensive oil resources in the Middle East, this Government would welcome informal and preliminary discussions between our two Governments regarding petroleum problems of mutual interest in that area for the purpose of formulating appropriate recommendations to the two Governments.

Immediate war requirements necessitate current consideration of measures relative to the development of supplies in the Near East area for war and other essential purposes, involving increased production and the expansion of facilities. These matters have implications of great consequence for the future. Accordingly, in order that these present questions and the continuing problems in this field may be brought into proper relation with a view to reaching lasting conclusions on a basis of close cooperation, it is strongly believed that discussions should be undertaken promptly. If Your Excellency’s Government is of the same opinion, it is suggested that the two Governments proceed at once to designate representatives to meet without delay for the purpose of initiating these conversations.

Because of the urgency and importance of this subject, it is requested that I be informed at the earliest possible moment of the views of your Government.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. In a letter of January 11, 1944, to the British Ambassador, the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) stated: “Although the Secretary’s note of December 2, 1943, did not so state, I assume that it is clearly understood by your Government that it is our firm desire that the contemplated conversations on oil will be conducted entirely separate from any other subject and will be held here in Washington.” (800.6363/1439b)