Memorandum of Telephone Conversations, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

Mr. Moffett telephoned today to inquire whether any action had been taken with respect to the proposal he had made to the President for the purchase of oil from Saudi Arabia and the advance of funds to [Page 634]the Saudi Arabian Government. I told Mr. Moffett I understood that the Secretary had taken a memorandum which this Division had prepared15 covering a conversation which he had last Friday with Mr. Murray to the White House for discussion with the President, but that we had no information as yet as to the results of this discussion. Mr. Moffett asked that as soon as we had word we telephone to him.

Mr. Max Thornburg, another Vice President of the Company, then came on the wire and said that Sir Vivian Gabriel, a member of the British Air Mission and a British official of long service in the Near East, had recently discussed with him certain problems relating to Saudi Arabia. Sir Vivian had mentioned particularly the interest which he and Mr. Nevile Butler16 were taking in the activities of Dr. Chaim Weizmann17 in this country. Sir Vivian told Mr. Thornburg that he and Mr. Butler were apprehensive that Dr. Weizmann’s activities would have a most unfortunate repercussion in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. From there the discussion led to Mr. Moffett’s proposal concerning the advance of funds by this Government to King Ibn Saud against the production of oil. Sir Vivian had shown a great interest in this proposal, and only this morning Mr. Thornburg had received a letter from him regarding it. Mr. Thornburg said that on his next visit to Washington he would like to bring Sir Vivian to the Department to meet some of the officials here.

Later in the morning the Secretary’s Office telephoned to say that as a result of the conversation which the Secretary had had with the President in regard to the matter referred to in the first paragraph of this memorandum it had been decided to take no action until it was seen what the British Government was prepared and willing to do. This information was passed on to Mr. Moffett, who said that he and his associates would endeavor to see whether they could not induce the British Government to take some action.

  1. Supra.
  2. Minister-Counselor of the British Embassy.
  3. President of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.