800.2553/5–351: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

secret

5027. For Ambassador Gifford from McGhee. Drake expressed great appreciation Emb’s support and reported considerable degree understanding with Fuel and Power and FonOff. States approval Gulf plan founders only on point made by Victor Butler that only Commonwealth registered corps can hold concessions in Commonwealth including Brit protected areas.

Pls again approach FonOff at highest level you consider desirable and inquire whether this policy in fact followed and if so on what basis. Shld be made clear that in inquiring re policy and in particular [Page 307]its applicability to Kuwait, as indicated below, Dept shld not be considered as approving such policy on general grounds in view possible discrimination involved. Dept feels that even if alleged policy re commonwealth corps is followed (1) an exception cld be made in case of Kuwait Sheikhdom in view its special relationship to UK, (2) UK cld admit exception as done previously, i.e., Aminol (Kuwait Neutral Zone), Barber Asphalt (Trinidad) without significant effect above policy and (3) general benefits flowing from Commonwealth registration co wld be less than those from specific Gulf proposals. (Deptel 4952 Apr 28.)2

Drake convinced personal word from you wld help immeasurably. You are given full discretion to act as forcefully as you feel appropriate and necessary resolve issue. [McGhee.]

Acheson
  1. This telegram was drafted by Funkhouser and cleared by Jones, Moline, Raynor, Ranney, and Beale.
  2. Not printed; it stated the contract changes Gulf wanted would be an internal matter only and would not affect the contract with the Sheikh of Kuwait, and Gulf was prepared to sign any binding agreement, for any length of time, guaranteeing no operational, management, or other change affecting Kuwait. The closing paragraph advised the Embassy: “Drake rptd above to Dept Apr 25 with emphasis on securing co from risk UK nationalization, which fact should not of course be communicated to UK. He requested and was promised continued Dept support here and in London.” (880.2553/4–2451)