800.24/1160: Airgram

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

A–5. In replying to the Foreign Office’s communication set forth in your A–766, August 3, 9:15 a.m.,32 you should make the following statements after appropriate introductory phrases of acknowledgment and reference:

“As the Foreign Office is doubtless aware, the question of furnishing military supplies to the Government of Saudi Arabia has been considered by the Munitions Assignments Board in London, which is understood to have agreed in principle that such supplies should be provided in substantially equal measure by the Government of the United States and by the British Government. The Government of the United States is in accord with the view of the British Government that types and quantities thereof shall be determined upon the basis of needs for the maintenance of law and order in Saudi Arabia. In order to determine the nature and extent of these needs, an American military mission33 has proceeded from Cairo to Saudi Arabia and upon completion of its investigation will report to the War Department. It is believed that the findings of this mission will contribute to the establishment of a basis upon which the appropriate American and British munitions assignments authorities can act.

“In the interests of uniformity of procedure it is considered highly desirable that such military supplies as the British Government may furnish to the Government of Saudi Arabia be provided under terms of settlement analogous to conditions under which similar supplies are furnished by the Government of the United States. The British Government, therefore, may wish to inform the Saudi Arabian Government that questions of reimbursement will be deferred for consideration until after the termination of hostilities.

“With respect to procedural questions raised in the Foreign Office’s communication regarding requests for and assignments of munitions, it is confirmed that it is the policy of the Government of the United States to receive direct inquiries from officials of independent countries (except Turkey for which a special exception has been made) [Page 671] regarding the availability of American military supplies to meet their needs and to furnish such supplies to them if it is feasible to do so.34 It follows, therefore, that the Government of the United States considers that the above policy is incompatible with the establishment of exclusive channels through which requests for and allocation of military supplies with respect to such independent countries are made.”

  1. Ibid., p. 885.
  2. For correspondence regarding this mission, see ibid., pp. 903 ff., passim.
  3. For correspondence regarding this policy, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 1 ff.