Memorandum by Mr. Fraser Wilkins of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs (McGhee) and to the Director of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs (Berry)
Subject: April 25 Meeting with Aramco on Saudi Arabian Boundary Problems.
Mr. Duce of Aramco has proposed a meeting in the Department at which Aramco officers, their international law advisor, Judge Manley O. Hudson, and officers of the Department might discuss the following subjects:
- British attitude on jurisdiction over the island of Farsi;
- British attitude toward the desire of the Saudi Arabian Government to deal directly with the Rulers of the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms;
- British attitude toward Qatar and Trucial Oman boundaries of Saudi Arabia.
The meeting is scheduled from 11:00 a. m. to 1:00 p. m. on April 25, 1950 in Room 2180 New State. It is expected that Mr. Berry will chair the meeting and that Mr. McGhee and Mr. Hare1 will join the group about 12 o’clock.
A brief memorandum containing background information on the three subjects proposed for discussion has been prepared for distribution to the Departmental officers participating in the talks for their information only (Tab A).
The Department’s attitude toward the jurisdictional disputes of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf is set forth in the paper on this problem prepared for the London Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Tab B). While carefully refraining from taking sides in the dispute or otherwise becoming embroiled, we have consistently urged upon both sides the need to settle these boundary issues promptly and amicably (before the discovery of oil in the area can complicate the problem further).
In the conduct of the meeting, it is recommended that the Departmental officers:
- welcome an exposition by the Aramco representatives of the problems involved and of the company’s views on them;
- engage in an informal discussion of the problems with the company’s representatives;
- adhere to our previously expressed position that we urge the early and amicable settlement of the boundary issues by the two parties, while avoiding any statement or commitment which could be interpreted as involving the Department in the dispute or as taking sides on the issues.
The Chairman, in his discretion, may wish to advise the Aramco representatives informally along the lines of certain of our recommendations on this problem prepared for our Delegation to the London Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, such as:
- that a stalemate in the Persian Gulf area is not conducive to its orderly development and tranquility, and that the recent settlement of the Abu Dhabi–Dubai boundary by arbitral award sets an admirable example.
- that as stated previously, a fact-finding investigating commission agreeable to the two governments might be able to reduce the field of differences between the Saudi Arabian Government and the United Kingdom acting on behalf of the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms.
- suggest that, as previously stated, any remaining differences in the boundary problem might be resolved by means of a neutral commission of arbitration.
- that we will continue to urge both the United Kingdom and the Saudi Arabian Government to move toward settlement.
- Raymond A. Hare, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs.↩