NEA Files: Lot 55–D36
Statement by the United States and the United Kingdom Groups
Political and Strategic Questions Relating to the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms.[Page 600]
- The question of a British base in Kuwait was discussed, and the British representatives observed that this idea had been mooted but nothing more. The absence of satisfactory port facilities was a drawback. The American group mentioned the importance which the development of an adequate base in Kuwait would acquire in case British treaty negotiations with Iraq could not be successfully concluded. Both the British and American groups stated that there were no questions regarding oil development in Kuwait which seemed to require attention.
- The American group raised the question of special British treaty relationships with the various Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf. It was observed that there was no intention of questioning the advisability of the continuance of this system at this time, but that certain difficulties had arisen as a result of an apparent lack of full understanding between the British political agents on the one hand and American representatives and individuals on the other. The British group replied that it was realized that this situation might require a certain forbearance at times, but it was heartily of the opinion that friction should be minimized and that it was prepared to see that instructions were sent in order to remedy the situation.
- The suggestion was made and approved by both sides that British and American naval vessels, when cruising at the same time in the Persian Gulf, might take the occasion to make joint visits to Persian Gulf ports. It was further decided that American naval vessels should follow the same system of salutes in the Persian Gulf as is practiced by British vessels.
- The strategic potentialities of southeastern Arabia were discussed, from the standpoint of the provision of defense in depth in an area readily accessible by sea. It was observed that difficulty would be encountered in providing secure anchorages outside the Persian Gulf itself.
- The British group referred to the Persian claim to the Island of Bahrein, which the British Foreign Office regarded as without foundation. The American group said that it was in entire agreement on this subject.
- The United States Government does not at present wish to question the continuance of special British treaty relations with the Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf, but believes that greater cooperation between British political representatives on the one hand and American representatives and individuals on the other would be in the interest [Page 601] of both countries. The British group undertook to have appropriate instructions sent to that effect.
- The same system of naval salutes should be used by British and American naval vessels in Persian Gulf ports; likewise, British and American naval units might appropriately make joint visits to Persian Gulf ports.
- Both the American and British Governments share the view that Persian claims to the Island of Bahrein are baseless and should be discouraged.
- The strategic importance of southeast Arabia is recognized and the possible development, perhaps by oil or civil aviation companies, of installations suitable for conversion to military use should be encouraged. The development of oil concessions by the IPC subsidiary companies or by other British or American oil companies would facilitate the establishment of such installations in southeast Arabia.