The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 6—8:20 a.m.]
878. Department’s 231, June 20, 8 p.m. I thoroughly endorse the suggestion that some practical gesture of good will towards Saudi Arabia be made by our Government but in view of the King’s apparent reluctance to use the services of American road engineers as stated in my telegram 837, June 27, 5 p.m., I have no assurance that he would appreciate an offer to place Government agricultural experts at his disposal. Furthermore even if such experts should be found acceptable I doubt whether their purposes could be fully accomplished without assistance of a Foreign Service Officer established near Saudi Arabian Government at Jedda and I therefore revert to my previous recommendation that a consular officer be sent there even before I may have an opportunity to present my letters. In this connection I personally do not foresee the difficulties envisaged by the Department in an eventual withdrawal of such an officer in view of fact that Jedda is not a place where foreign officials can be expected to remain for a long time without leave of absence and in the case of an American consular officer such leave might at any time be availed of and protracted to such a length that to all intents and purposes [Page 656] the office might be regarded as having closed itself. The real difficulty as I see it is in the choice of a suitable officer for he should have a knowledge of this part of the world as well as of Arabic, should possess sound judgment and must have no family ties.
I wish to add that I consider that the best manner in which good will might be shown to Saudi Arabia would be a favorable reply to the request contained in my 825, June 26, 4 p.m.,42 and to this might well be joined an offer of the services of a financial adviser. I repeat however that in the event that the presence of a consular officer in Jedda would seem essential as a condition precedent.