197. Editorial Note

On December 13, the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike introduced into Parliament a bill to establish the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. According to this bill, the company would use public funds to engage in the import, export, sale, supply, and distribution of petroleum. It would be exempt from taxes, and could acquire property deemed to be necessary in its business operations, without regard to the requirements of the companies holding the property. Compensation would be subject to arbitration. Further, the Minister of Commerce would be authorized to set minimum and maximum prices of petroleum. Several British and American oil companies engaged in operations in Ceylon regarded this bill as discriminatory, due to the powers granted the State agency operating in the private business sector. (Telegram 561 from Colombo, December 14; Department of State, Central Files, 746E.34/12–1460; memorandum of conversation by Robert W. Caldwell of SOA, December 21; ibid., 846E.2553/12–2160; despatch 576 from Colombo, December 20; ibid., 846E.2553/12–2060)