890F.6363/3–2948: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Saudi Arabia

top secret

117. Dept is working closely with Brit, as evidenced by memo of meeting in Dept on Mar 18 forwarded to you, on question development off-shore Persian Gulf oil on orderly, fair and reasonable basis. On April 8 we informed Brit Emb of approach to SAG by Superior and Central Mining, of HM’s decision to delay consideration 30 days, and of fact that Aramco is aware of situation owing to SAG leak (re Legtel 166, Mar 29 and previous). We also told Brit of SAG position that Aramco concession does not include off-shore oil beyond three mile limit. Brit informed also of line we propose instructing you to take with SAG on this matter and requested their comments. On receipt Brit comments Dept will telegraph you instructions dealing specifically with problem raised by Superior request and also with broad policy aspects.

For present inform SAG in your discretion that US Govt considers HM’s decision to delay consideration of Superior Central request very wise in view importance and complexity of subject of off-shore oil and appreciates confidence implied in HM’s desire to have US views. US Govt has been giving careful and active thought to whole question and hopes to forward reply to HM’s request for US observations within week.

Sent Jidda, repeated to London.