Editorial Note

Minister Childs, on January 24, sent a note to King Ibn Saud which read: “I have great honor referring Your Majesty’s communication of [Page 216] December 13, 1947. I duly communicated full text Your Majesty’s communication to me to my Government by telegram. I am now in receipt telegram dated January 23, 1948 stating careful consideration being given by my Government Your Majesty’s request for training mission and reply would be communicated as soon as decision may be formulated. It is added urgent attention being given this question”. On February 2, Amir Faisal handed to the Minister the King’s reply of January 31, in the form of a memorandum. The King called attention to his request of the previous December for a military mission and stated that it was “unreasonable” for the United States to provide such a mission without furnishing arms and other essentials for training Saudi Arabian forces (telegram 46, February 3, 10 p. m., from Jidda, 890F.20 Missions/2–348).

Jidda, on February 3, transmitted a translation of a second memorandum from the King in telegram 45, not printed. The date of the second memorandum was not given. It declared that the British had encouraged the Iraqis to agitate and propagandize “against us”, in order to disturb relations, between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The memorandum declared it “almost certain” that the purpose of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty was to move Saudi Arabia away from the United States and to place it in a position where the British would easily gain “what they desire”. It then requested the United States to prepare a statement of its attitude regarding these matters and to state whether it was prepared to come to an “understanding” and “agreement” with Saudi Arabia to preserve its sovereign interests.

At the time that Amir Faisal handed the two memoranda from King Ibn Saud to Minister Childs, he stated that Saudi refusal to conclude a treaty with the British might result in their use of the Hashemites to create a disturbed situation. It was to guard against such an eventuality that the King desired to strengthen his realm. Minister Childs pointed out the previous assurances of the United States to support unqualifiedly the territorial integrity and the political independence of Saudi Arabia. The Amir Faisal replied that he was seeking something more practical than these assurances, namely the supplying by the United States of the military requirements essential to defending Saudi sovereignty and maintaining internal stability (telegram 47, February 3, 10 p. m., from Jidda).

The Department, on February 9, authorized Jidda to inform the King, if he brought up the subject discussed in telegram 47, that “we are convinced Brit are not inciting Iraq into acts unfriendly to Saudi Arabia” (telegram 35). The telegrams cited above are filed under 741.90F/2–348.

Ambassador Trott notified Minister Childs that he had discussed the proposed Anglo-Saudi treaty with Saudi officials and then with [Page 217] the King. Ibn Saud “stated in effect he would have none of it. Trolls was able to pacify him in explaining draft was tentative one which would be left with King for study”. The Ambassador suggested further discussion after the King’s examination (telegram 38, January 30, 3 p. m., from Jidda, 741.90F/1–3048).