890F.7962/2–948: Telegram

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

top secret   most immediate

56. Deptel 33, February 81 received in time enable me ask Foreign Office suspend for time being my request for audience with King.

Action proposed by Department Deptel 32, February 6, believed in general very satisfactory. I believe SAG will welcome comments proposed re Anglo-Saudi treaty and particularly point 3.

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I think it unwise raise at this time question assignment Military Attaché Legation Jidda. We should be satisfied if SAG can be induced assignment Military Attaché for Air. While King has disapproved such assignment “at present” (see Legtel 55 of February 92) I have not abandoned hope King may be persuaded change decision in light arguments I may use based on general ways we propose assist him, as outlined Deptel 32. SAG’s suggestion of difficulty reaching decision at present time will make it easier to point out our own difficulties.

If our support Palestine partition were not the excessive incubus it is in all our dealings with SAG, I would feel very hopeful in being able persuade King to request us to remain at Dhahran after March 1949. King, however, as Department aware, is under heavy attack in Arab world for what is regarded already as his excessive leniency toward US interests, in view of what is regarded as our hostility to Arab world by our Palestine policy. Even if he desired us remain Dhahran, as he probably does, after that date he is likely find it particularly difficult make such request at this extremely unpropitious moment.

I see no reason, however, why subject should not be explored with him. It is entirely possible he may feel question of extension should remain in abeyance for some months until Palestine issue has become clearer and our own relation to Arab world better defined in Arab eyes. I think it important that we make plain our interest in assisting him to the extent of spending considerable sums Dhahran and, as such expenditure obviously cannot be made if our occupancy at Dhahran is to be terminated next year, it seems desirable from point of view of indicating to King our willingness assist him, that question of airport agreement be raised.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 2, above.
  2. Not printed.