Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Richard H. Sanger of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

Participants: Aramco
Mr. George W. Ray—Ass’t to Mr. Hudson (retained for legal advice)
Mr. Richard Young—Legal Counsel
Mr. Philip Kidd—Washington Representative (Ass’t to Mr. Duce)
NEA—Mr. Hare
PED—Mr. Eakens
GTI—Mr. Dunn
L/P—Mr. Furman
NE—Mr. Mattison
—Mr. Sanger
—Mr. Clark

Mr. Ray said that careful consideration had been given to the Department’s reactions as expressed at the meeting on January 27th regarding the advice which ARAMCO proposed to give to the Saudi Arabian Government on the subject of offshore oil, and that every effort had been made to meet the Department’s informal suggestions.

In regard to Annex 1, “Draft Decree Concerning Certain Islands in the Persian Gulf”, although ARAMCO preferred to submit this in the form of a decree it accepted the Department’s suggestion that it be presented in the form of a memorandum advising the marking of these [Page 106]islands. ARAMCO felt it must recommend that SAG claim only islands whose ownership was not likely to be challenged.

Mr. Ray pointed out that Annex 2, “Draft Decree on the Territorial Waters of Saudi Arabia” was unchanged in the new version. The Company recognized the position set forth in Annex 2 was not that of the US but felt it could not restrict its suggestions to the principles of a 3 mile limit.

In reply to Mr. Hare’s inquiry as to how questions regarding lights, access to harbors, etc., which might arise under this Annex would be settled, Mr. Young pointed out that any disputes would be settled by negotiation. It was pointed out that the Persian Gulf Lighting Service is really a private organization and that at a recent meeting this organization adopted a resolution to the effect that its activities would in the future be limited to lighting the main routes through the Gulf and would be conducted without prejudice to territorial claims of littoral states.

Mr. Dunn observed that in line with the suggestions offered at the last meeting, Annex 3 (“Draft Decree Concerning the Policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with respect to the Subsoil and Sea bed of Areas in the Persian Gulf Contiguous to the Saudi Arabian Coasts”), had been in several respects revised and a discussion of these changes ensued. An ARAMCO suggestion that the term “existing fishing rights” be used was checked by Mr. Dunn with Mr. Looney of U/FW, who indicated that the term “fishing rights” was preferable.

In summary, Mr. Young said that ARAMCO and its lawyers believed they now had a draft of a proclamation which could be adopted by other Persian Gulf states as well as by Saudi Arabia, without conflict of interests.

The question was raised as to when, where, and to what extent the British should be informed regarding the advice which the US and ARAMCO were planning to give to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Ray stated that it would be most unfortunate for the relations between ARAMCO and the King, if the SAG should learn of the advice ARAMCO proposed to give from the British (which might be the case were the British informed in advance of ARAMCO’s plans).

Mr. Hare pointed out that the Department had been working on this problem with the British for over a year and that it was planned to keep them informed as to the general principles on which the USG was advising the Government of Saudi Arabia.

He agreed, however, that the US should not inform the British about ARAMCO’s proposed advice, other than to state that ARAMCO was planning to give certain advice to SAG and that further information could be obtained as the matter progressed by consultation in Jidda.

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On being asked for the US Government’s plan of action, he said Mr. Childs1 would be instructed to give the Government of Saudi Arabia copies of the Truman Proclamation along with a summary of principles drawn from that proclamation which will be applicable to the particular problems of the Persian Gulf. We would also inform the Government of Saudi Arabia that ARAMCO had consulted with the Department regarding the draft proclamation which it had prepared, and that in general the principles contained therein were in accord with the principles of the Truman Doctrine.

Mr. Ray asked what ARAMCO’s position should be if the Government of Saudi Arabia asked what the US Government felt about Annexes 1 and 2.

Mr. Hare replied that the Government of Saudi Arabia could be informed provided it were furnished the whole story regarding the informal discussion on Annexes 1 and 2, that we took no responsibility for them, and that the views presented represented only the suggestions of ARAMCO.

Mr. Ray said that the ARAMCO representative in Saudi Arabia will be instructed to discuss this whole matter with Mr. Childs, and that Mr. Spurlock, the Company’s lawyer, in Saudi Arabia, will probably soon be going to Arabia. It is planned that he will take with him the text of the answer to the four questions, together with the three annexes.

  1. J. Rives Childs, American Minister to Saudi Arabia.