No. 259
Memorandum of Conversation, by William McMaster of the Petroleum Policy Staff



  • Anglo–American Oil Policy for the Middle East


  • Messrs. D. A. Greenhill, R. W. Bailey and J. A. Beckett, British Embassy
  • Mr. Funkhouser—NE
  • Mr. Longanecker—AF
  • Mr. McMaster—PED

This was the second in a series of meetings with respect to Anglo-American oil policy for the Middle East2 as requested in a British memorandum submitted to the Department on March 24, 1952.3 The following subjects were discussed:

Department position with respect to each of the points raised in the British memorandum of March 24, 1952. Mr. Greenhill stated that the primary reason for requesting this meeting was to determine the status of the Aide-Mémoire which Department representatives had agreed to prepare for submission to the British, outlining the Department’s position with respect to an Anglo–American oil policy for the Middle East. The Department informed the British that the Departments position was being developed and that as soon as it is completed an Aide-Mémoire outlining the Department’s position would be submitted to the British Government. Mr. Greenhill said that the Heads of British Overseas Missions are presently meeting in London and he had hoped that the Department’s position had progressed to the extent that he would be able to inform this group as to the likely course to be followed regarding an Anglo–American oil policy for the Middle East. Inasmuch as the Mission Heads’ meeting is scheduled to adjourn within the next few days, Mr. Greenhill was informed that it was not likely that a Department position would be available for that purpose.
Regularizing informal U.S.U.K. meetings on Middle East oil policy. The British representatives requested the Department’s views with respect to establishing a regular meeting date for these informal U.S.-U.K. discussions on Middle East oil policy. It was agreed that these informal meetings would be held once a month, but if developments in the Middle East required, the meetings would be held more frequently. It was therefore agreed that the next meeting of this group would be held on July 14, 1952 at 3:00 P.M.4
Discussion of FTC Report on the International Petroleum Cartel. Mr. Greenhill asked if any new developments could be reported regarding the status of the FTC Report on the International Petroleum Cartel. The British were advised that the information presented to them in the meeting of May 6, 1952 on that subject [Page 603] remained unchanged and that there had been no new developments.5

Aramco–Saudi Arabian Government negotiations. Mr. Greenhill stated that he had been informed that the firm of McNaughton–DeGolyer had agreed to act as consultants to the Saudi Arabian Government on several of the issues which have not been settled in the current SAG–Aramco negotiations.

The British were advised that officials of Aramco had met informally with Department officials earlier in the day regarding the status of the SAG negotiations, but as none of this group had attended that meeting we were unable to confirm the British information.

Discussion of construction of Syrian oil refinery. The British were advised that the Department and the IBRD are presently studying a Syrian Government request for the construction of a 12,000 to 20,000 barrel per day oil refinery. They were also advised that the subject had been discussed with U.S. oil companies but that the companies had not indicated any interest either in constructing a refinery for their own account or in operating a refinery for the account of the Syrian Government.

Mr. Beckett said that in compliance with a request from the Department he had requested the British Government’s views regarding the refinery but had not yet received a reply.

  1. This memorandum of conversation was prepared on June 25.
  2. The first meeting was held on Apr. 18; see the memorandum of conversation, Document 251.
  3. Not found in Department of State files.
  4. The date of this meeting was later changed to Aug. 5; see the memorandum of conversation, Document 263.
  5. See the memorandum of conversation, Document 254.