890F.7962/18: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

1359. My 1308, July 24, 5 p.m. Following telegram is repeated for Department’s information from Jidda:

26. “July 25, 5 p.m. Your 30, July 22, 4 p.m., and my 25, July 23, 5 p.m. In a very satisfactory conversation with Bird and myself this morning the Finance Minister expressed his belief that non-stop air routes can be had and said he will remain in Jidda until he can obtain the King’s reply. He still thinks fields can be secured near Dheba and Birkeh irrespective of grant of inland fields but advises that fields not be mentioned to King until routes have been approved.

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Thus far there has been no mention of compensation or request for commercial operation though I have purposely given openings both to Finance Minister and to his assistant, not in Bird’s presence. Further openings will be given when inquiry develops into negotiation. Moose.”

And number 27. “July 29, 6 p.m. Continuing my 26, July 25, 5 p.m. On July 28 the King’s reply was reported verbally to British Minister by Minister of Finance with request that it be repeated to me. The King is willing to grant to the British, routes for non-stop flights from Khartoum to Bahrein passing north of direct line from Birkeh to Bahrein and from Khartoum to Basra passing north of direct line from Dheba to Basra, and he will not object if American planes utilize the facilities so granted. He asked that the matter be treated with utmost secrecy.

The following day in conversation with Bird and myself, the Finance Minister confirmed the foregoing and stated that in his opinion it would be appropriate for Bird and myself to present a joint oral request for air routes following procedure used in making recent inquiry. The Finance Minister advised that any request should be delayed for at least a week to allow him an opportunity to reach Riyadh and to discuss matter with the King first. Bird also favors joint request after a week’s time.

It is, therefore, suggested that I be instructed to make such request. On advice of Finance Minister, no mention of forced landing fields was made to the King and Finance Minister thinks it also inadvisable to refer to fields in initial request. Moose.”