59. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Dillon)0

Mr. Eugene Holman of Standard Oil Company (N.J.) called on me today at his request. He said that his purpose was to outline the anxiety which he and his associates felt regarding the general trend of affairs in the Middle East as it affects the oil industry and American interests. He discussed conditions in the Persian Gulf generally, the effects of the Japanese contracts, the operations of Mattei as well as the recent contract of Standard Oil of Indiana with Iran. He expressed considerable uneasiness regarding conditions in Kuwait and Iraq, and we touched on Saudi Arabia and the Trucial Coast area. He said he thought that the time had arrived where it might be hoped that the National Security Council could examine this question to see whether American interests are in danger. He would like to discuss it with the President at a convenient moment. He would also like to have a meeting here in the Department to which he would bring a number of the executives of the leading United States oil companies who have large-scale interests in the area.

I told Mr. Holman that we would examine the problem very carefully and would be in touch with him.

I mentioned the foregoing to Governor Herter who agreed that a study of the problem should be instituted.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 880.2553/3–1259. Secret.
  2. During a telephone conversation between Murphy and Herter, March 12,4:30 p.m., “Mr. Murphy said he had just seen Eugene Holman of Standard Oil who thought there should be some NSC or other review to take a hard look at the Middle East as to where we are going and what we should be doing and expressed the anxieties of the oil companies operating in the area. CAH said he entirely agreed; that Allen Dulles had a very interesting map this morning indicating the concentration of oil reserves in Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. CAH said this question of the Persian Gulf and what we do if the Russians get control is vitally important and may very likely be a subject of discussion with Macmillan. It was agreed Mr. Murphy would get in touch with the JCS and start taking a good look at this in anticipation of the Macmillan visit.” (Ibid., Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149.)