The Acting American Representative in Rumania (Melbourne) to the Secretary of State

No. 454

Subject: Armistice Questions with Regard to Romano-Americana.

Sir: I have the honor to furnish certain information in reply to the questions raised in the Department’s telegram No. 281 of June 2 regarding Romano-Americana and other Standard Oil Company affiliates and subsidiaries in Rumania.

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The contents of the telegram were communicated to Romano-Americana and a reply was received from them on June 27, a copy of which is enclosed.83 … On August 3, further information was received from Romano-Americana, a copy of which is enclosed.

Under point 1 of the Department’s telegram, this Mission is requested to check with Romano-Americana and others the estimate made by the Standard Oil Company of the value of the casing and other equipment taken by the Soviets from Romano-Americana. The Standard Oil estimate as given in the telegram under reference is $800,000. Under paragraph 2 of Enclosure 1, Romano-Americana shows the book value of this equipment as $1,971,896 and the replacement value at $2,542,159. [Here follows the Mission’s estimate of $1,873,339 as the replacement value.]

The second point in the Department’s telegram states that it is realized that American-owned companies will have to contribute their share of products in payment of reparations but that this should be done on a non-discriminatory basis. Romano-Americana does not feel that any discrimination has been shown in demanding that products be furnished by them in the payment of reparations. Their reply is covered under the first paragraph of point 5) in Enclosure No. 1.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Under point 3, a statement giving description and value of the prewar evaluation of installations owned by the Standard Oil Company in territory ceded to Russia under Article IV of the Armistice was requested. Under Annex 2 of Enclosure No. 1, Romano-Americana shows the value of investments after allowing for depreciation at $133,639.60 and of products taken at $150,233.49. …

Under item 4, the Department asks whether the Rumanian Government has set up any procedure for making reparation payments to Americans under Article XI. To my knowledge, the Rumanian Government has taken no steps in this direction. In Enclosure No. 1, under 1) Romano-Americana gives information on the steps which have been taken by them to protect their rights in this connection.

Information on loans granted by the Minister of Finance to assist in reconstruction is also given. It had been stated that, in the granting of these loans, the local company, Creditul Minier, had been favored. In Enclosure No. 3, Romano-Americana points out that they have no complaints to make regarding their treatment by the Rumanian Government in the distribution of these loans.

Under point 5 of the telegram, the Department asks what measures have been taken by the Rumanian Government toward the fulfillment of the obligation taken under Article XIII of the Armistice to restore [Page 655] to nationals of the United Nations, their property. General Schuyler was asked for a statement regarding this point, which statement is given as Enclosure No. 4. General Schuyler points out that the right to dispose freely of goods and properties appears to have been restored to nationals of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia by Law No. 313 published in the Monitorul Official of March 1. General Schuyler then points out that although there have been no official acts Which would restrict the free exercise by American companies of their rights and powers, restrictions have been imposed by the action of the Workers’ Syndicate. …

Respectfully yours,

Roy M. Melbourne
  1. Enclosures to this despatch not printed.