Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 46

As you know, the full development of Middle Eastern oil resources is of tremendous wartime and long-range importance. Because of the complex problems involved, those resources, which are held to a substantial extent jointly by American and British interests, cannot be adequately developed unless the United States and British Governments reach an agreement providing for close cooperation.

Consequently, I addressed a note on December 2, 1943 to the British Ambassador inviting the British Government to designate representatives to meet representatives of this Government to initiate exploratory conversations regarding this matter. The Department understands on good authority that the British Government will welcome such conversations.

In view of the delicate situation of the Middle East and the close connection between foreign oil questions and the general conduct of our foreign relations, it is extremely desirable that any conversation with the British on oil be under the clear supervision and guidance of the Department of State. Accordingly, it is proposed that the group to conduct the conversations for this Government be composed of two representatives of the Department of State, one of which will act as Chairman, and a third member to be designated by the Secretary of the Interior.

If the foregoing meets with your approval you may wish to advise me immediately, whereupon Secretary Ickes will be requested to designate the member of the group to represent him.

  1. Returned to the Secretary of State by President Roosevelt with the marginal notation “O.K., F.D.R.”