Editorial Note

On February 7 the Legation at Jidda reported that Minister Childs on the previous day had presented an aide-mémoire to Amir Faisal along the lines of telegram 29 (telegram 50, 501.BB Palestine/2–748; regarding telegram 29 to Jidda, see footnote 3, page 571). Jidda stated on February 11 that the Acting Head of the Saudi Arabian Foreign Office had left a reply in the form of an aide-mémoire dated February 9. The reply stated that King Ibn Saud had seen the American communication and that he understood the circumstances that had compelled the friendly American Government to heed the opinion of its citizens. The King indicated his fears, however, that unless the American Government would guide public opinion to a safety zone, its interests in the Middle East might be threatened. He stated that the American communication had wrongly interpreted Arab opposition to partition as motivated largely by apprehension over Jewish strength. Rather the Arab position was based on adherence to Arab rights and defense of their countries. The very establishment of a Jewish State, he said, was a very aggressive and despotic idea, and [Page 604]the partition of Palestine contradicted all constitutional principles and international practice. The King pointed out that the Governments of the Arab States, like that of the United States, must follow a policy in consonance with prevailing public opinion in their countries. He expressed his regret that it was impossible for him to comply with the American desire that he accept the partition resolution; indeed, he said, he must censure, in a friendly way, the United States for its suggestion that he use his influence to persuade the Arab States to accept partition. He concluded his views with a reiteration of his hope that American leaders would find a way of coming out of the dangerous position of insisting on the aggressive and erroneous policy of supporting partition (telegram 58, 501.BB Palestine/2–1148).

Minister Childs discussed the problem of Palestine with the Saudi Arabian monarch on February 21. The latter proposed that the “Question of Palestine partition be set aside as entirely incompatible with rights, interests Arabs” and that “Palestine should be closed to immigration and mandate continued until Palestine question could be reexamined more objectively by UN. (Telegram 78, February 21, from Jidda, 890F.001 Abdul Aziz/2–2148)