Memorandum by the Minister to Saudi Arabia (Eddy), Temporarily in the United States,88 to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson)

I wish to reaffirm in writing the adverse effect on United States interests in Saudi Arabia caused by the uncertainty of U.S. policy regarding Palestine, a subject on which I have heard the King speak frequently, and as recently as October 2, 1945.

The Saudi Arabian Government cannot reconcile the promise of prior consultation with Arabs and a reported proposal by the United States that 100,000 Jews should be admitted to Palestine now without prior consultation. I was given definitely to understand on October 2 that any such decision effected without participation by Arab leaders would constitute definite proof to the Saudi Arabian Government that the Government of the United States in its policy regarding Palestine is neither consistent nor friendly to the Arabs.
The Saudi Arabian Government believes that the publication of the letter from President Roosevelt to the King dated April 5, 1945 would clarify U.S. policy and put an end to the Zionist demand for unilateral action. If unilateral action should nevertheless take place to affect the basic situation in Palestine, we shall be accused of bad faith, and our prestige with the Saudi Arabian Government will be liquidated. The King believes that the independence and survival of the Arab state of Palestine is a more legitimate concern of the surrounding Arab countries in the Near East than it is of Americans 5,000 miles away, whether those Americans are Jew or Gentile, and he consequently is determined that the Arab Governments shall have not less but more to say about the future of Palestine than Zionists living at a great distance. The King was very explicit with former President Roosevelt on this point, which was reiterated to me.
If the growing suspicion should be confirmed that the U.S. Government is flirting with a Palestine policy friendly to political Zionism and therefore (in Arab opinion) hostile to the Arabs, United States enterprises in Saudi Arabia will be seriously handicapped. For example, our military airfield at Dhahran89 and its military personnel, whose presence is suspect in any case by the more fanatic Arabs, would appear increasingly to constitute a base for political aggression and foreign occupation.
While the King has never mentioned to me the possibility of sanctions against the Arabian-American oil company concession (which has been rumored in the press) he has stated that he will never permit any airplane carrying a Zionist to Palestine to land in Saudi Arabia. The Deputy Foreign Minister has also intimated to me unofficially that the King would not agree to have the oil from his country carried in a pipeline which terminates in Jewish controlled area, thereby making his country contribute to the livelihood and prosperity of Zionists. These small straws in the wind are indications of the attitude which the Saudi Arabian Government may be expected to take in the event of any pro-Zionist move by the United States Government.
The Saudi Arabian Government takes the position that Palestine is protected by the United Nations Charter in the right to have its future settled by international agreement. It is certain that they expect consultation with Arabs to precede any settlement of the future of Palestine, and unless such consultation takes place in the very near future the political climate of Saudi Arabia may well prove hostile to United States interests.
William A. Eddy
  1. For documentation on the presence in Washington at this time of Chiefs of Mission in the Near East, see pp. 10 ff.
  2. For documentation regarding this subject, see pp. 845 ff.