867N.01/1868: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

4286. In regard to the Department’s 3942, June 28, midnight,78 the question dealt with in the Department’s 3586, June 9, 7 p.m., will be considered by the War Cabinet on Thursday and I have been promised a reply shortly thereafter.

I have just received from Mr. Eden the following reply to the question treated in the Department’s 3649, June 12, 8 p.m.

[Page 796]

“In a letter dated June 14 you informed the Prime Minister that President Roosevelt believed that the time had come when an approach should be made to Ibn Saud with a view to seeing whether any basis for a settlement of the Palestine question can be found and suggested that Lieutenant Colonel Hoskins might go to Saudi Arabia to initiate discussions.

In view of the importance of preserving political tranquility in the Arab countries, we are naturally anxious not to awaken wide public controversy there on this subject at the present juncture in the war. Moreover, General Hurley has recently seen Ibn Saud and the reports which we hear of his conversations do not lead us to suppose that Ibn Saud’s attitude would be such as to facilitate agreement between Jews and Arabs on the Palestine question.

Nevertheless, in view of the importance of President Roosevelt being fully informed and of increasing our own knowledge on this subject, we have not the slightest objection to the President’s proposal to send Lieutenant Colonel Hoskins to see Ibn Saud. If he goes, we should be grateful if he could receive general directives for his conversations somewhat on the following lines:

No suggestions involving territorial alterations in other Arab countries should be put forward by him;
The conversations should be purely exploratory in nature and should not in any way prejudice the interests of other Arab countries; and the visit should be carried out as unobtrusively as possible.

These points may seem self-evident, but we attach importance to them, owing to the feelings which have already been aroused in the Arab world on this question.

I need hardly say that we should be grateful if we could be kept most fully informed as to the tenor and outcome of Lieutenant Colonel Hoskins’ conversations.”

  1. Not printed; it requested information regarding the present status of the matters mentioned in Department’s telegrams No. 3586, June 9, p. 790, and No. 3649, June 12, supra.