890F.7962/8–1748: Telegram

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


466. Deptel 310, fourteenth.

1. Question extension agreement discussed with Lt. Col. Rhea representing Col. O’Keefe and Col. Snyder last week in Jidda. We are in agreement that it would be most impolitic raise question with SAG now. I am strongly of opinion we should wait until last possible moment in hope future developments may make SAG more receptive to extension and may even induce it to take initiative in raising question with us. SAG has already intimated to me that we may have extension provided we are ready to treat airport as part of larger defense strategy this country and are prepared to give SAG assistance in equipping and training its forces. I presume that under present situation in Middle East we are not in a position to make any commitments in this regard at this time. This being the case, we would risk either an outright rejection of our request for an extension to be made at this time or would have to face a request from SAG for military assistance which we would have to reject. In my opinion, we should not consider raising question extension with SAG before early 1949 unless in meantime situation had so radically changed to make it appear time and circumstances more propitious than those at present.1

2. Re training stoppage, Legation has had recent exchange views this subject with Col. O’Keefe and we are all in agreement that training must go on. [Here follows further discussion of this subject.]

Sent Department 466, repeated Dhahran 237.

  1. The Department informed Jidda, on September 8, after discussions with the Air Force, that “no move will be made at present to begin discussion relative extension Dhahran airport agreement. Situation will be reviewed by State and Air Force about Oct 15 with view to determining date discussions should be initiated.” (telegram 340, 890F.7962/8–1748)