Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson)

Participants: H. R. H. Amir Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz
H. E. Shaikh Ibrahim Sulaiman
Shaikh Ali Alireza
Mr. Grew
Mr. Henderson

At five o’clock this afternoon Amir Faisal, Shaikh Ibrahim Sulaiman and Shaikh Ali Alireza called upon Mr. Grew, the Acting Secretary of State, in order to bid him farewell before leaving Washington. [Page 1006] They were accompanied by Mr. Henderson of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs. Shaikh Ali Alireza acted as interpreter.

Mr. Grew said that he hoped that the Amir was pleased with the information which had been given him during the two days of conversation79 and that the discussions had been satisfactory in all respects.

The Amir said that he was extremely pleased with the discussions; that he felt that as a result of them the United States was in a much better position to understand the problems of Saudi Arabia, and that he on his part understood much more clearly the situation in the United States. He and his party were returning to Saudi Arabia with a much better understanding of the United States, of what the United States was trying to do, in particular so far as Saudi Arabia was concerned, and of the difficulties which the United States Government was being compelled to overcome in order to carry out its various programs. He was deeply impressed by the efforts of the officials of the State Department to find ways and means of assisting Saudi Arabia. He regretted that his country should be compelled to seek assistance abroad. Nevertheless, under present war-time conditions it had no other recourse. He hoped that, in the not too distant future, the economic position of his country would be so sound that it would not be necessary to ask for economic aid.

The Amir said that he wished again to emphasize the point, which he had made during his first conversation with the Acting Secretary, namely, that the Saudi Arabian Government must at times move slowly in carrying out suggestions made to it by the American Government. He had learned just today that the Egyptian newspapers were carrying articles to the effect that the American aviation authorities, without consulting the Saudi Arabian Government, had announced the establishment of air lines from the United States to and through Saudi Arabia. These articles were, of course, inspired by foreign groups who desired to create friction between the United States and Saudi Arabia. They should not be taken too seriously. Nevertheless, they served to demonstrate the interest of third parties in developments in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States and to show that a degree of caution was advisable in order not to alienate friends or strengthen enemies.

Mr. Grew asked the Amir if he had any requests to make before returning to Saudi Arabia. The Amir replied that he would like to make one request—an important and urgent request. This was that the American Government take just as deep an interest in the welfare of other Arab States as it had taken in the welfare of Saudi Arabia. For assistance in the maintenance of its independence, Saudi Arabia [Page 1007] was deeply indebted to the United States. There were other Arab peoples bound by close historical and blood ties to the people of Saudi Arabia, who also needed American help in order to realize their full independence.

Mr. Grew replied that the United States was interested in the welfare of all the Arab peoples, not only of those living in Saudi Arabia. The United States was prepared not only to look with friendliness upon these Arab peoples, but also to act on their behalf on the basis of justice and in a spirit of mutual helpfulness.

The Amir said that the Arabs of the whole world, including those in Palestine, were intensely interested in the fate of the Arabs of Palestine and in the future of Palestine.80 They feared that the recent change in the Government of Great Britain81 might affect the policy of Great Britain with regard to Palestine. They hoped that the United States would not support any policy which would tend to deprive the Arabs in Palestine of their property and rights and place them under the dominance of a Jewish Government. The Arabs, relying upon the American sense of justice, could not believe that the United States would fail to insist that justice be done in Palestine. It was to be hoped that the American Government was not contemplating a change in policy so far as Palestine was concerned.

Mr. Grew replied that the policy of President Roosevelt with regard to Palestine was well known. So far as he was aware, no change in this policy was contemplated at the present time; that policy, in effect, was that the interests of both Arabs and Jews should be taken into consideration in the making of any decision with regard to Palestine.

The Amir said that the Arabs did not desire to make demands with regard to Palestine which would give the Arabs rights which had not always been theirs. The Arabs, in asking that their rights in Palestine be safeguarded, did not wish the United States, or any other power, to ignore the rights of others. There were, however, certain energetic, aggressive groups who would like to have changes introduced into Palestine which would result in the loss by the Arabs of their rights. Mr. Grew asked Mr. Henderson if the latter had any comments to add to those which Mr. Grew had made with regard to Palestine. Mr. Henderson replied that it seemed to him that Mr. Grew had set forth clearly the policy of the American Government in this respect. So far as he was aware, no change in this policy was under contemplation.

[Page 1008]

Mr. Grew told the Amir that the President had asked that the Amir be requested to take back to Saudi Arabia the President’s cordial and friendly greetings to King Ibn Saud, and to transmit to his father the President’s sincere good wishes for the King’s good health and for the happiness and prosperity of the Saudi Arabian people.

The Amir thanked Mr. Grew and asked Mr. Grew to present to the President, upon his return, his own greetings and those of his father.

  1. See telegram 235, August 8, 5 p.m., to Jidda, infra.
  2. For documentation on United States policy regarding the future status of Palestine, see pp. 678 ff.
  3. The British War Cabinet headed by Winston S. Churchill was replaced by a Labor Government headed by Clement R. Attlee following the elections of July 1945.