HC Deb 28 June 1920 vol 131 cc35-6
46 and 47. Major ENTWISTLE

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether any arrangement has been made with France by which 25 per cent. either of the exploitation of the oil wells of Mosul or of the produce has been allocated to that country; if so, how that arrangement is consistent with the policy of the Government in vesting the whole of the oil resources of Mesopotamia in the Arab State that is to be set up;

(2) whether his statement that no arrangement of any sort or kind has been made with any company with regard to the oil of Mesopotamia, but that the whole of the property will be vested in the Arab State, is to be taken to imply that the oil will be exploited either nationally by that State or by the British Government on its behalf?

48 and 51. Mr. NEWBOULD

asked the Prime Minister (1) what are the various arrangements made before the War between Turkey and other countries which will have the effect of preventing the whole of the oil resources of Mesopotamia belonging to the Arab State that is to be set up;

(2) whether any concession was granted before the War to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company for the exploitation of oil in Mesopotamia; and, if so, whether such arrangement will remain valid after the setting up of the proposed Arab State?

49 and 50. Mr. KENYON

asked the Prime Minister (1) how it is proposed to secure that the whole of the oil resources of Mesopotamia will belong to the Arab State that is to be set up;

(2) whether, in view of the fact that, owing to the trustification of the oil industry, the Arab State cannot secure a fair price for the oil which is to be its property by selling the right to exploit it to the highest bidder, it is proposed to hand over to that State the profits arising out of the exploitation after the payment of a commission to the exploiting company or trust?

60. Major BARNES

asked the Prime Minister if he will be able to lay upon the Table the document under which the oil fields of Mesopotamia are vested in the Arab kingdom; if he will say who are the signatories of that document; and whether its terms have been communicated to the League of Nations?

61. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Prime Minister whether he can inform the House what agreements exist as to oil in Mesopotamia or the Mosul vilayet between the old Turkish Government and private or national concessionaires; and whether he will have the agreements laid upon the Table of the House?


The ownership of the oil deposits in Mesopotamia will be secured to the Arab State as part of the administrative arrangements under the Treaty and mandate. There is no separate document dealing with this point. No final decision has been reached as to the method of working the fields, but it is clear that due consideration will have to be given to rights legally secured before the War. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company is a participant in a group claiming such rights. I am in communication with the French Government in regard to the publication of the terms of the Anglo-French Agreement in regard to Mesopotamia. In any case the interests of the State have been carefully safeguarded. It will obtain a return on the whole of the oil won, in the form either of royalties not yet fixed, or of profit on oil sold, according to the method of development adopted. As it is not possible at this stage to say what claims based on grants by the Turkish Government may be put forward in the various mandated territories, it does not appear desirable at present to take the course suggested by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Are the Arabs in a better position with regard to mineral resources than the people of this country?