6 January 1948
Breakfast with Mr. Jennings
Breakfast with Mr. [B. Brewster] Jennings, President, Socony Vacuum of New York. He told me that his company and associate companies—that is, Texas, Standard of California and Standard of New Jersey—had made up their minds to suspend work on the pipeline and collateral developments in Saudi Arabia because of the disturbed condition in Palestine and the indications of its continuance. The investment program of these companies over the period of the next few years contemplates an expenditure of around $400 million.
I told Jennings I was deeply concerned about the future supply of oil for this country, not merely for the possible use in war but for the needs of peace. I expressed it as my opinion that unless we had access to Middle East oil, American motorcar companies would have to design a four-cylinder motorcar sometime within the next five years.
Later in the morning talked with Mr. Robert McConnell [industrialist and engineer
who had served in various posts in government during the war] who has just been
in Germany. He came in to see me with a vigorous expression of the thesis that
it would be a basic mistake to reactivate the coal industry of the Ruhr . He
said that an oil economy would produce greater efficiency at lower cost [and
would have various political advantages]. . . I said that his reasoning was
sound and I would accept his engineering conclusiom, but I found it difficult
to understand its practicality in light of the present situation in Palestine
He said his remarks were made without reference to that situation.
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