741.90B/4–748: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Saudi Arabia


125. Dept assumes Brit Minister has informed you of his definite instructions from London re resumption treaty talks with King. These appear to have as principal purpose to explain reasons behind nature of original Brit proposal, to invite specific counter-proposal from [Page 232] SAG, and, while giving some encouragement to Arab League as contrasted with bilateral concept, to discourage development of Arab League security concept in a form which Brit would consider ineffective.

In your forthcoming conversation with King Ibn Saud you are authorized to say in your discretion that we believe Brit are sincere in their desire to work out treaty arrangements with Arab countries including SA which will contribute to security of Middle East and that we continue to be hopeful that arrangements which are mutually beneficial and acceptable will be consummated. HM’s idea of an Arab League approach to the problem is an interesting one but obviously requires careful thought and friendly consultation at all stages if it is to bear fruit. There would be no gain if Arab League countries were to work out a system of security which would require backing if such a system would be considered impracticable by the British.

You should add that you have reported to your Govt HM’s thought that US might in some way participate in ME defense arrangements, and that similar thought has been expressed in other Arab quarters. While US Govt cannot give any assurances whatever in this regard, it would be glad to be kept apprised of development of ideas Arab Govts on security matters of common interest to them.

Sent Jidda 125; rptd London 1317, Cairo 421, Beirut 160, Damascus 107, Baghdad 109.