890F.154A/1

Mr. K. S. Twitchell 37 to the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs ( Murray )

Dear Mr. Murray: I wish to confirm our conversation regarding the verbal request to me of His Majesty King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud asking if it would be possible for our Government to loan him the services of competent road engineers.

King Ibn Saud would like to know also the conditions of salary and payments required.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Thos. MacDonald, Commissioner of Public Roads Administration, 515 14th St., N. W. Washington, and discussed this matter with him. He said that he had engineers available. For the proposed expedition a resident engineer at a salary of $500. per month and all expenses with an assistant engineer at $350. to $400. and all expenses would be visualized. Salary payments would be required to be made monthly in a U. S. A. bank.

Mr. MacDonald said that above arrangements could be made but only if the State Department so requested.

The work proposed and desired by King Ibn Saud is the construction of a road over which 10-ton trucks can travel from Jizan to Abha, and from Abha to Nejran, Asir. This spring I made trips in which I found practicable routes for these roads. The length of the route from the seaport Jizan to Abha, Elevation 7,000 ft., is 175 miles (283 kilometers), but the precipitous mountain section is only 2850 ft. vertical distance.

The route from Abha, Elevation 7,000 ft., to Nejran, Elevation 4300 ft., is 196 miles (317 kilometers).

As soon as the war is over His Majesty wishes these roads to be constructed. He would have American road building equipment purchased similar to some I have already bought on behalf of his Government.

I shall be glad to give all details I possess when you or Mr. MacDonald may so desire.

I know that His Majesty will very greatly appreciate all you may be able to do and I shall be very glad to forward your communications to him.

Yours sincerely,

K. S. Twitchell
  1. Consultant for the American Smelting and Refining Co., which had a minority interest in the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate, and informal representative in the United States for King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.