711.90F/1–1348: Telegram

The Minister in Saudi Arabia (Childs) to the Secretary of State

secret   urgent

16. ReLegtels 13,2 14, and 153 January 13. We may be approaching, if we have not already passed, a decisive stage in our relations with Saudi Arabia. Until Palestine partition decision we have not had a firmer friend in Arab world than Ibn Saud.4

Although no official intimation has been given me to such effect, it is suggested King may be influenced to abandon hopes of close political relations with US and return to his previous policy of relying more particularly upon his political relations with Great Britain by Feisal’s5 recent report to him and reluctance displayed by US to give positive form to his overtures:

Middle East settlement suggested by King in June (Legtel 252, June 20, 19476).
Raising our respective Legations to Embassies (Legtel 474, November 6, 19477).
Sending military mission Dhahran (Legtel 568, December 16,8 my 581, December 229).

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It would appear reasonable infer our reluctance in respect 1 and 2 above may have persuaded him to raise question attitude toward SAG of US Government (Legtel 538, December 410 and 539, December 4, 194711).

Our support of Palestine partition has no doubt accentuated King’s doubt whether he could find in US a stable political partner in substitution for his old ally, the British. What must have however intensified King’s doubts has been contrast between British refusal to be drawn into an imposed Palestine settlement and reports brought to him by Feisal of what last named described to me yesterday as “American delegates to UNGA acting as spokesmen of Zionists, one of parties to dispute, and pressure brought by American Legation [Delegation] on other foreign delegations to vote for partition after assurances given Feisal by Department no such pressure would be exerted”. Feisal said struggle in UNGA was essentially between Arab States on one hand and American delegation on other with other nations spectators rather than acting participants.12

Feisal informed me off record yesterday if he had had decisive influence in SAG foreign policy he would have broken relations with US after that. Feisal has just returned from Riyadh where he no doubt displayed same bitter disillusionment over hopes developing firm relations with US which he displayed me yesterday, stating this had been his great purpose since first visit US13 and he now saw his work reduced to ashes.

Above, coupled with readiness with which British accepted SAG proposal raising Legations to Embassies and our generally negative attitude toward this and other specific SAG proposals closer political relations, incline King reexamination his former policy moving away from British and basing his foreign policy on development closest political relations with US.

  1. Not printed; it gave Minister Childs’ view that the “British taking advantage favorable atmosphere created for them in Arab world by their refusal to be drawn into imposed Palestine settlement and extremely unfavorable position in which we have been placed in our all out support partition, to move into positions of vantage in Arab states generally, including Saudi Arabia.” (867N.01/1–1348)
  2. Neither printed; but see footnote 4, in telegram 21, January 7, included in documentation on Israel, scheduled for publication in part 2 of the present volume.
  3. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.
  4. Amir Faisal, Saudi Arabian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 750.
  6. Not printed; it advised of information from Shaikh Yussuf Yassin, Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, that the British had raised the status of their Legation at Jidda to that of Embassy and that the Saudi Arabian Government hoped the United States would take similar action (701.4190F/11–647).
  7. Not printed, but for an extensive summary, see editorial note, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 1341.
  8. Not printed, but see footnote 2, ibid., p. 1342.
  9. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 1335.
  10. Not printed, but see footnote 4, ibid., p. 1338.
  11. Documentation on the question of pressures allegedly exerted on behalf of a vote for partition by the General Assembly in November 1947 is presented in the sections on Palestine, ibid. , and in Israel, part 2 of the present volume scheduled for publication.
  12. For documentation on the visit of the Amir Faisal to the United States in 1943, see ibid., 1943, vol. iv, pp. 840 ff.