AIOC Invites U.S. Firms to London

State Dept. Legal Adviser on Iran Oil Talks (1953)

The Mossadegh Project | October 26, 2019                    

U.S. State Department | Iran Documents (1951-1954)
Iran Oil Consortium | Archive of Documents (1953-1954)
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC/BP) | Archive


No. 395

Memorandum by the Legal Adviser (Phleger)
[Herman Phleger, Legal Adviser to Sec. Dulles]


Washington, December 8, 1953.


At the Cabinet Meeting Mr. Dulles reported on the Iranian Oil situation, telling of the invitation that had been extended by Sir William Fraser to several American oil companies to come to London for explanatory talks looking toward a possible cooperative effort to solve the Iranian problem. [Sec. of State John Foster Dulles, referring to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Chairman] He said that he was answering a letter of inquiry from Standard Oil of New Jersey1 by stating that the Department of State had no objection to the oil companies’ attending the meeting and that he had been advised that the matter had been cleared by the Department of Justice, asking the Attorney General to confirm this. [Herbert Brownell, Jr] The Attorney General confirmed this, stating that he thought a representative of the U.S. should attend the meetings. The Secretary replied that it was his understanding that Mr. Hoover would attend the meetings. [Herbert Hoover, Jr.]

The letter to Standard Oil of New Jersey stating that the Department had no objection to the oil companies’ accepting the invitation included the following “on the understanding that Mr. Hoover, consultant to the Secretary, will be present at the discussions.”


[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X (1989).

1 “See footnote 3, supra. The Secretary’s letter was sent to Harden over the signature of Under Secretary Smith. (888.2553/12–853)” (Orville Harden, Standard Oil of New Jersey)

“The cited footnote #3 from FRUS doc. 888.2553/12–553, Dec. 5, 1953: “On Dec. 4 the Department informed Hoover that it understood that Jersey Standard and possibly other American oil companies had received invitations from Sir William Fraser of AIOC to send representatives to London to discuss the Iranian oil problem; that Socony representatives were going to call at the Department on Dec. 7 to discuss Fraser’s invitation; and that the Department wished Hoover to inform it of what he knew concerning Fraser’s invitation. (Telegram 2954; 888.2553/12–453)

According to a letter dated Dec. 4 from Austin T. Foster, General Counsel, Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, to Phleger, Foster had informed Phleger of Fraser’s invitation, dated Dec. 3, and had set up the meeting to be held on Dec. 7 at the Department. (888.2553/1–453)” — U.S. State Department Office of the Historian


Related links:

Pierson Dixon and Henry Byroade Discuss Iran in Bermuda (Dec. 8, 1953)

Henry S. Villard to Paul Nitze on the Iranian Situation (Sept. 26, 1951)

John Foster Dulles Heralds “A New Era For Iran” (Aug. 5, 1954)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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