890F.7962/2–2148: Telegram

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

top secret

77. Re Deptel 32, February 6. After informal exploratory discussion with Fuad Bey Hamza1 who in turn consulted King it was thought best not to raise at this time formally with His Majesty subject paragraph c in reference telegram.

I gathered from Fuad he does not consider for various reasons including question Palestine, recent rejection Anglo-Iraq treaty and King’s rejection similar Anglo-Saudi treaty present moment opportune one discuss Dhahran air base.

After Fuad talked with King he said we need have no concern whatsoever that these and other facilities would be granted US freely by SAG in case of any “emergency”. In response to my questions he said further SAG might be prepared at an early date discuss nature of this and other aid SAG would be prepared to offer US in case of an emergency or imminent threat of one. When I pointed out some decision would have to be reached before March 1949 regarding operation air base he assured me this question could be dealt with in due time. He admitted SAG would not be able operate air base alone and would need guidance. He gave me as strong assurances as I believe he could under circumstances that if we had faith in SAG and showed our confidence some formula could be found satisfactory to us both.

Fuad said after my first audience with His Majesty, King had developed further idea in private talk with him on a tripartite agreement under UN between US, Great Britain and Arab states possibly through Arab League which would attain same security objectives British had sought in their proposed bilateral treaty with Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Such an arrangement would ease the problem of those Arab states in making individual arrangements and would facilitate objectives we all sought. He did not have any precise ideas as to form but thought we should be giving thought to it.

Fuad said he agreeable to visit high ranking air force officer adding King desired I be present at this and all other visits official Americans Riyadh. He also said he thought we could work out together formula for assignment Colonel Seeds Legation.2

Repeated London 20.

  1. Saudi Arabian Minister of State.
  2. On the evening of February 20, Fuad Bey brought to Minister Childs a private memorandum, with whose content the King was said to be acquainted, which stated in effect that “we may count upon making use Dhahran air base provided question military aid Saudi Arabia settled satisfactorily. Fuad emphasized we should not separate parts of a whole.” (telegram 80, February 21, 9 p. m., from Jidda, 890F.7962/2–2148)