The Acting Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: Our Minister at Cairo42a reports42b a conversation with Shaikh Youssef Yassin,42c who as the representative of King Ibn Saud42d has arrived in Cairo for conversations with the Egyptian Prime Minister42e on Arab union.42f

According to the Shaikh, Ibn Saud has certain reservations and suspicions regarding the present activities looking to Arab union, but does not wish to be obstructive. The King feels, therefore, that he might show a favorable attitude towards eventual economic and cultural [Page 853] union among Arab states but withhold, for the present, approval of furthering the political aspects of such union.

Before taking a position, the King desires to know whether the American Government approves of his attitude and also what our attitude is on the general question of Arab union. Mr. Kirk requests instructions.

Shaikh Youssef made similar inquiries at the British Embassy at Cairo where he was referred to the Eden42g statement of 1941,42h to the effect that the British would support any scheme for unity on which the Arabs could agree.

There is attached a draft telegram to our Legation at Cairo42i for your approval, if you concur, which gives our approach to the question of Arab union, based upon this Government’s general policy in the Near East. Our attitude is consistent with the Eden declaration, and the note of caution which the proposed message strikes is in harmony with King Ibn Saud’s own reservations.

Faithfully yours,

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. Alexander C. Kirk.
  2. Telegram No. 1829, October 13, 1943, 9 a.m., not printed.
  3. Saudi Arabian Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.
  5. Mustapha Nahas.
  6. In July 1943, Prime Minister Nahas had initiated talks at Cairo on the idea of Arab unity; these conversations were conducted by Mr. Nahas on a bilateral basis with leading officials of the governments of interested Arab states.
  7. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  8. For text, see British Cmd. 6289, Misc. No. 2 (1941); Speech by the Rt. Hon. Anthony Eden … delivered at the Mansion House on May 29, 1941; for correspondence regarding the interest of the United States in this statement, with particular reference to the Palestine question, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, pp. 612620, passim. A second pronouncement on Arab unity by Mr. Eden was made in the House of Commons on February 24, 1943 (Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 387, col. 139).
  9. Infra.