OIL: Change of Heart

In Washington this week, just as a grand jury was about to consider the Government's criminal case against five big oil companies* on cartel charges, the U.S.

suddenly changed its course. The Government, which planned to base its case on a 900-page report by the Federal Trade Commission (TIME, Sept. 1), had hoped to get a criminal indictment charging the companies with splitting most of the free world's oil output between them, and fixing prices among themselves to eliminate competition. But this week the U.S. unexpectedly offered to drop the criminal charges, provided the companies would produce the...

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