890.0145/1–1749: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State


206. 1. Chadwick1 said today that Foreign Office comments re median line (generally in accord paragraph 2, Embassy’s 166, January 132) were put to Bevin3 over weekend and that latter returned same with comment that he is not prepared to commit himself to any concerted action at this time. Consequently Foreign Office is telegraphing to British Embassy Washington today its views re Department’s ideas (paragraph 2 Embassy’s reference telegram) with statement that if USG feels it must do so, UK would have no objection to US advising SAG. However, telegram will express hope that US will be willing to wait a “little longer” because Eastern Department does not despair of obtaining Bevin’s approval to median line scheme very much in its original form. Receipt of legal opinions (paragraph 5 Embassy’s reference telegram) will probably offer suitable occasion.

2. Chadwick said that if SAG does produce proclamation, it is likely UK will have to give similar advice sheikhdoms (paragraph 2 Embassy’s reference telegram).

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3. Embassy understands Bevin’s unwillingness to commit himself (paragraph 1 above) is occasioned not so much by merits median line, as by fact that he is already deeply involved personally in Palestine controversy and consequently does not relish taking any steps which might involve him in another ME controversy.

Sent Department 206, repeated Jidda 5, Tehran 5.

  1. John E. Chadwick of the British Foreign Office.
  2. Not printed; paragraph 2 reads in part as follows: “Chadwick said trend Foreign Office thinking after careful look at Department’s ideas … is that in principle original plan is best and only one which will keep US and UK out of serious trouble in Persian Gulf. Officials are inclined to believe that if SAG and Kuwait should be advised quietly to grant offshore oil concessions … news of this would rapidly leak and HMG would have to give same advice shortly thereafter to sheikhdoms. Consequently … it would be better to ‘hold back every one’ for a limited period of between six and twelve months: i.e., continue to advise all states including SAG, Kuwait to refrain from granting concessions and all oil companies to refrain from asking for them. … Chadwick said that if SAG issued proclamations other sheikhdoms would have to follow suit fairly quickly.” (890.0145/1–1349)
  3. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.