A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Saudi Arabia


The United States recognized Saudi Arabia in 1931 and signed a provisional agreement regarding diplomatic and consular representation in 1933. The first permanent diplomatic mission and full diplomatic relations between the countries were established in 1940, with the Kingdom’s acceptance of Bert Fish as American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. The U.S. Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942 and was elevated to an Embassy in 1949. In 1984, the Jeddah embassy became a U.S. consulate general when the embassy was relocated to Riyadh. The U.S. consulate general in Dhahran opened in 1944.

Modern Flag of Saudi Arabia


U.S. Recognition of Saudi Arabia, 1931.

The United States recognized the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd and its Dependencies on May 1, 1931, when the U.S. Minister at London Charles G. Dawes conveyed this information to the Hejazi Minister at London. The name of the state was changed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by a decree of September 18, 1932.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1940.

Diplomatic relations were established on February 4, 1940, when Bert Fish presented his credentials as U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. He also was accredited to Egypt and was resident at Cairo.

Establishment of U.S. Legation in Saudi Arabia, 1942.

The U.S. Legation in Jidda was established on May 1, 1942, with James S. Moose, Jr., as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.

Elevation of the U.S. Legation to Embassy Status, 1949.

The Legation was raised to Embassy status on March 18, 1949, when J. Rives Childs presented his credential as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

American Embassy Moved from Jidda to Riyadh, 1984.

On Sep 26, 1984, the U.S. Liaison Office in Riyadh was raised to the rank of Embassy while the Embassy in Jidda (now Jeddah) became a Consulate General.