888.2553/12–452: Telegram

No. 245
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1


3763. Pls inform FonOff that mtg on Iran problem held today in Dept with reps major Amer oil cos.2 Discussions assumed solution must be one which wld secure Brit and AIOC coop and which wld involve equitable settlement problem compensation. Latter point made unmistakably clear in view comment urtel 3110.3 Discussion centered around manner in which US cos cld participate in effort move quantity oil from Iran that we have believed necessary to meet Iran situation. Mtg was inconclusive and will be resumed next Tues after various reps have had time adequately consider problem.4

It is now contemplated Nitze will depart here for Lon next Wed fol second mtg with oil reps. You will be informed later as to exact time arrival.

As regards pending press release (Deptel 3511 rptd Tehran 1257)5 on question purchase oil from Iran by Amer firms or individuals it has now been decided that this will be issued on Sat at 12:00 noon Wash time.6 This action results in no way from above described mtg but is forced upon us by greatly increased pressure from press as to our position re so-called embargo. Art appearing today’s Newsweek has greatly added to that pressure. You will recall that Secy informed Eden in New York he anticipated we wld shortly be forced into position where we cld no longer refuse to comment. Brit [Page 543] Emb informed re press release. Hope FonOff can be urged restrain tone their proposed statement.7

  1. Repeated to Tehran. Drafted by Byroade and approved for transmission by Richards.
  2. A memorandum of the discussion at the meeting is not printed. (Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 65 D 238, “Memo from S & U–1952”)
  3. On Dec. 3 the Embassy reported that Shell officials told the British Foreign Office that Department of State officials had been telling the American oil companies that the Department had examined the possibility of having Shell and AIOC move 10 million tons of Iranian oil between them with the American companies moving 10 million more. There was no indication from this report that the movement would be premised on Iranian acceptance of satisfactory arrangements regarding compensation. The Embassy was therefore requesting guidance concerning the position that the Department had taken in its conversations with the oil companies, particularly on the compensation issue. (Telegram 3110; 888.2553/12–352)
  4. This second meeting was held on Dec. 9. (888.2553/12–952)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 241.
  6. Dec 6.
  7. Eden’s proposed statement was transmitted to the Embassy in London in telegram 3780, Dec. 5. (888.2553/12–552)