56. Editorial Note

During the evening of August 3, the Department of State delivered to the British Embassy the Department’s response to the Embassy’s note of July 28 on petroleum planning. Regarding the British note, see Document 19. The text of the Department’s response reads as follows:

“The Department of State agrees with the point made in the British Embassy’s note of July 28, 1956 ‘Suez Canal: Oil Supplies’ that the expert knowledge and practical assistance of U.S. and UK oil industry experts are indispensable to the preparation of effective plans of action to cope with the oil supply problem which closure of the Suez Canal would create. The Department sees no obstacle to [Page 131] effective participation of such experts in U.S. or joint planning on the problem.

“Currently the U.S. Government is consulting, through the medium of a reconstituted Foreign Petroleum Supply Committee, certain U.S. companies concerned in international oil matters. It believes similar consultation between the UK Government and British oil companies through the Oil Supplies Advisory Committee, mentioned in paragraph 3 of the British Embassy’s note, would be useful and a necessary prelude to such joint planning as might be appropriate.

“It is the Department’s view that no publicity should be given to the fact of the planning which is being undertaken or which may be undertaken, or to the conclusions reached, and that special attention should be given to this point in view of the number of individuals necessarily concerned with it.”

This response was drafted by the Officer in Charge of Economic Organization Affairs in the Bureau of European Affairs, Edwin G. Moline, and forwarded to Acting Secretary Hoover on August 1, under cover of a memorandum by Don C. Bliss of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Affairs. The text of the response is attached to the August 1 memorandum by Bliss, which is the Department’s file copy and which is stamped August 3 at the bottom of the page. (Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–156) A memorandum from Lister (BNA) to Dale (BNA), dated August 6, indicates that Lister handed the original of the note to Morris of the British Embassy, Friday evening, August 3. (Ibid., 986B.7301/8–656)