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


No. 142:

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 357 of May 21, 19491 as well as to the Department’s A–23 of March 2, 1949 and to transmit herewith the text of the proposed Saudi decree on territorial waters of Saudi Arabia (Annex II) as well as the proposed text of a Royal Pronouncement governing off-shore oil (Annex III).2

These annexes are those contemplated in the Department’s A–23 of March 2, 1949; regarding Annex I which would establish a public claim by the Saudi Arabian Government to certain islands in the Persian Gulf, the Department will have observed from my telegram No. 362 of May 25, 19493 that the British Embassy in Jidda, acting under instructions, has expressed the hope the Saudi Arabian Government would not make such a public claim over islands to which it is understood the Shaikh of Kuwait lays claim.

I am informed by Mr. Garry Owen, Jidda representative of ARAMCO that Mr. Floyd Ohliger, Vice President of ARAMCO was assured in Cairo by Shaikh Abdullah Sulaiman, Minister of Finance, who has been spending some time there, that the Royal Pronouncement regarding off-shore oil was intended to be published in the official newspaper, Umm al-Qura, on May 20, 1949. As yet, however, there has been no publication and it seems unlikely there will be until the return of Shaikh Abdullah from Cairo which is still being awaited. With the recent departure of Fuad Bey Hamza, one of the King’s principal advisers who has left for Beirut for reasons of health, and in the absence of Shaikh Abdullah and Shaikh Yusuf Yassin, Deputy Foreign Minister, there is an almost complete dearth of those on whom the King customarily relies for advice in foreign affairs.4

Respectfully yours,

J. Rives Childs
  1. Not printed; it advised that the head of the Saudi Arabian Foreign Office had handed to Ambassador Childs on May 21 draft decrees representing the latest versions of ARAMCO annexes two and three as set forth in airgram 23, March 2, to Jidda. The Ambassador concluded that the “Proposed proclamation or pronouncement appears conform our suggested general principles.” (890.0145/5–2149)
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Jidda, on June 1, requested the Department to add to the English texts, transmitted in despatch 142, “the date of the promulgation of the proclamation, May 28, 1949.” (despatch 147, 890.0145/6–149) The texts were published in a special edition of the official Government newspaper Umm al-Qura on May 29 (telegram 374, May 29, 11 a.m., from Jidda, 890.0145/5–2949).