890F.6363/3–1249: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Saudi Arabia


96. Six principles regarding application relevant Truman Proclamation concepts to Persian Gulf, pages 8 and 9, A–23,1 given Brit Emb here Mar 10. Because these principles en route Jidda by airgram, Dept has requested Brit Emb not telegraph them their Emb Jidda which will shortly receive copy from you.

Dept also reminded Brit that ARAMCO has obtained advice from international law experts, which is being passed SAG. Dept stated this advice private concern ARAMCO and SAG until acted upon, but assured Brit offshore proclamation proposed by ARAMCO for [Page 118]issuance by SAG corresponded closely six principles mentioned above. (Lontel 862, Mar 82)

Brit Emb was informed Dept saw no reason for and did not wish publicity on fact USG had advised SAG re offshore oil. Shld necessity arise Dept plans merely say SAG asked US views development resources offshore areas and was informed principles Truman Proclamation.

Brit Emb further informed question whether or not Brit advise SAG regarding offshore oil entirely up to them, but we frankly saw no compelling reason therefor. Because treaty relations Sheikhdoms, Brit plan advise Gulf Sheikhs of SAG proclamation and what action they should take. Brit believe 1930 Treaty with Iraq requires UK info Iraq re proposed action Kuwait.

Question informing Iran discussed at length. Possible alternatives mentioned: (1) Await Iran inquiry SAG, UK or US after routine publication proclamation SAG press and give straightforward answer, (2) SAG furnish copy public proclamation to all Persian Gulf littoral states, including Iran, and (3) Supplementing “2” above with reassuring explanation that should in future it possibly become necessary define boundaries submerged areas more precisely this will be done through agreements with other spates involved. Pls comment these and other possible alternatives.3

  1. Dated March 2, p. 111.
  2. Not printed.
  3. This telegram was repeated to Baghdad, Cairo, London, and Tehran. Jidda commented, on March 15, that “While SAG would probably prefer alternative (1) feel they can be prevailed upon accept (2) which would presumably assist Embassy Tehran in counseling against immoderate action by Iranians.” (telegram 193, 890F.6363/3–1549). Baghdad, on March 18, pointed out that “Because special treaty relationships with Iraq and Kuwait, British Embassy feels desirable for British alone make representations Baghdad on off-shore oil. We concur and believe preferable for US take no action unless Iraqis initiate discussion re US advice to SAG.” (telegram 119, 890.0145/3–1849). Cairo advised, on March 14, that “Third alternative favored unless entails delay.” (telegram 251, 890F.6363/3–1449) Tehran suggested on March 16, that “SAG and ARAMCO can go ahead with their project (alternative one …) without repercussions in Iran where sovereign authority of Ibn Saud is not contested. This may not be case with Sheikhdoms. It seems highly advisable (1) make every effort avoid appearance concerted Anglo-American action; (2) prevent raising of any general question of principle; and (3) approach whole matter on an ad hoc basis.” (telegram 297, 890.0145/3–4649)

    The Department, on March 23, informed Baghdad of its concurrence with the latter’s telegram 119 (telegram 107, 890F.6363/3–1849).