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890F.6363 Standard Oil Company/139

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

Mr. Lenahan32 stated that he was calling at the request of Mr. Fred Davies, President of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company. Mr. Lenahan said that some fifteen of their employees who had recently arrived from Saudi Arabia had stressed to Mr. Davies the vital necessity of finding some means of protecting the oil installations in that country. At the present time the only protection consisted of a moderate number of Saudi Arabian troops who are armed only with rifles. The considerable number of American employees in Saudi Arabia felt very strongly that the installations would be subject to attack from the air at almost any time, and there was absolutely no means at present of defending the properties against such an attack. The company had spent several hundred thousand dollars in building concrete reenforcements around the installations, but, although these would help probably in reducing damage from air attacks, what was really needed was anti-aircraft protection.

I asked Mr. Lenahan what proportion of the oil being refined in Bahrein was obtained from the Saudi Arabian field, and he replied that of the 37,000 barrels refined daily 17,000 barrels came from the mainland. I asked him what Mr. Davies had in mind in the way of protection, and he replied that apparently Mr. Davies envisaged American troops with anti-aircraft guns and possibly one or two fighter planes being stationed near the field. I told Mr. Lenahan that this was a military problem, but that I would be glad to bring it to the attention of the appropriate authorities with a view to seeing what could be done.

  1. Of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company (Casoc).