800.6363/1416: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

33. While at the Foreign Office today, we had occasion to mention to Baxter, head of the Eastern Department, the note handed the British Ambassador at Washington on December 2 which is quoted in Department’s 8262 of December 31.50 Baxter said that the Foreign Office had not been able to consider this matter until it had determined whether and to what extent Middle East oil questions had been discussed by the President and the Prime Minister during their recent visit to the Middle East. The Foreign Office, Baxter continued, has now learned that these questions were not discussed at all by the President and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Office is therefore actively considering the Department’s invitation to begin conversations on this subject. The Foreign Office has not as yet discussed the invitation with the petroleum experts of the British Government. It will do so shortly. The Foreign Office, according to Baxter, favors holding conversations but would rather prefer not to limit conversations to oil questions affecting only one particular geographical area.

  1. Telegram No. 8262 not printed; it also stated: “Since his return to this city, the President has expressed full concurrence that the proposed conversations proceed. We are of the strong view that they should be held here as promptly as possible” (800.6363/1415a). President Roosevelt had returned from conferences with British Prime Minister Churchill and the heads of other governments which took place at Cairo and Tehran in November and December 1943; for correspondence on these conferences, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943.