741.90F/2–2148: Telegram

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

top secret

76. [The first seven paragraphs conveyed word from Minister Childs that he had given to King Ibn Saud a memorandum containing the comments of the United States Government on the proposed Anglo-Saudi treaty, as set forth in Department’s telegram 32, February 6, and that he had summarized the memorandum at the request of the King. The latter was said to have “expressed great satisfaction” and then to have expounded his views on Hashemite machinations and on his rejection of the “humiliating” treaty with the British. He then sought, by the next day, the views of the Minister on these subjects.]

I replied I would give him my views at once explaining when I was doubtful about matters he raised with me I always told him so but I felt able give him comments at once without necessity deliberation. I could say that at the beginning of His Majesty’s remarks I was somewhat fearful but I had been reassured by what he said concerning desirability of our working in close concert with British. I had [Page 223] every reason to believe my government had been at great pains assure itself British were not lending themselves Hashemite intrigues against His Majesty. US was deeply concerned with interests of Saudi Arabia. I could assure him that fact and I could assure him likewise we would not advise him to pursue policies we did not conceive to be in his interest. We had strong common interests. We were also convinced we could best serve his interests and our own by working in close contact with British. In doing so we were pursuing the course consonant with his own interests and ours. I emphasized I had no doubt these were the views of my government and I therefore did not need time for reflection to inform His Majesty that the views I had expressed concerning the desirability of our working closely together with British in concert with him represented the considered views of US as well as my own personal objective views.

His Majesty stated that while he adhered strongly to his friendship for Britain they could not always be trusted and reverted to thought they might attempt egg on Hashemites to adventures in western Saudi Arabia. I then recalled that under instructions my government I had communicated with him after my last visit in December (letter December 13 for which see Legations despatch 434, December 151) and had assured him of my government’s unqualified support of territorial integrity and political independence Saudi Arabia. If, therefore, he had at any time any apprehensions with reference to British Hashemite designs he had only to communicate them to my government for necessary appropriate action and I could assure him we meant what we said.

His Majesty’s eyes sparkled and he said “I have no doubt about that”.

I have rarely seen him in so pleasant a mood. He was obviously pleased. When I began to proceed with question military aid he said “time is now late. I wish you’d discuss at length with Fuad Bey and after that we can review together tomorrow.”2

Sent Department 76, repeated London 19.

  1. Not printed.
  2. King Ibn Saud’s formal views on Minister Childs’ memorandum were embodied in his memorandum of reply, dated February 20. The King regretted that international circumstances precluded United States military assistance but noted with pleasure that American authorities were studying the situation. He then expressed the hope that “unforeseen policies” would not prevent attaining an understanding in the interests of both countries (telegram 87, February 23, 9 a. m., from Jidda, 741.90F/2–2348).