890F.6363/143: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister Resident in Saudi Arabia ( Moose )

116. The inquiry of the Acting Foreign Minister,35 reported to us in your no. 178 of June 23,36 whether there have been any recent developments in connection with the proposed trans-Arabian pipeline should be answered in the negative. For your confidential background information, there is an informal understanding within this Government to the effect that no further action will be taken on an Arabian pipeline as a governmental project until after the completion of the [Page 34] Cabinet-level conversations with the British and such subsequent public hearings as the Special Senate Oil Committee may wish to hold.37

Hull
  1. Yusuf Yassin.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Between March 31 and June 13, 1944, the Senate Special Committee Investigating Petroleum Resources held a series of eleven executive sessions regarding the proposed pipeline. The Committee’s intermediate report, issued on April 7, 1945, stated: “Quite apart, however, from constitutional and legal principles, the opinion began to develop, as a result of the committee’s investigation, that the determination of a sound and long-range national petroleum policy compelled the utmost care and public consideration prior to commitment on the part of the United States along the lines of the pipe-line proposal. Therefore, the committee unanimously concluded that the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Interior should be advised of these views. The chairman took action accordingly.

    “On June 12, 1944, the President wrote to the chairman of the Committee that he was asking the Secretary of the Interior to enter into no contract relating to an Arabian pipe line without giving the committee 30 days’ notice in advance. On the following day the Secretary of the Interior … appeared before the committee to testify, in executive session, in relation to the pipe line and the pending negotiations with the British looking toward an Anglo-American oil treaty. At the conclusion of the Secretary’s testimony, it was understood by the committee that, before any contract relating to the pipeline would be entered into, the committee would receive reasonable notice thereof while Congress was in session.” (Senate Report No. 179, 79th Cong., 1st sess., p. 2.) The question of building a pipeline across Saudi Arabia was handled thenceforth under private auspices.