786A.022/9–1550: Telegram

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

secret

1643. Deptels 13741 and 1364 September 13.2 Embassy conveyed Department’s views reference markers Persian Gulf Islands to Foreign Office today. Rogers, Eastern Department, confirmed that markers had been removed and made clear UK felt action entirely justified. He said markers had been set up since SAG and UK had agreed discussions on disputed islands and that this action appeared be designed prejudice case in favor SAG. UK felt it could not allow action stand and notified SAG of British intention have markers removed.

He appreciated Department’s concern and said Foreign Office would give consideration to our views. He thought that in fact there would [Page 100]be no more removal markers but admitted this pre-supposed SAG would not try install any more. He said that SAG August 30 note indicated SAG would not attempt restore markers pending discussions. Note, according Rogers, seemed admit SAG error by saying that Saudis realized islands were in dispute.

UK trying keep jurisdictional issues with SAG in three separate and distinct categories:

1.
Disputed islands. According Rogers, UK proposal is that sides present substantiation of claims by November 20 and that after allowing additional time for each study others position, there should be joint discussions. Saudis have already agreed in principle to discussions.
2.
Land boundary disputes with trucial sheikhdoms. SAG has still not replied to British note this subject accepting suggestion fact-finding commission under certain conditions (Embdes 1159 September 83 and Embtel 239 July 11).4
3.
Division seabed between Bahrein and SAG. UK has prepared proposals which will probably be discussed with Department shortly prior submission SAG (Embdes 1159).

Sent Department 1643, repeated info Jidda.

Holmes
  1. Not printed; it informed the Embassy the Department believed the best interests of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia would be served if no further removal of markers took place on the eve of discussions between those two parties (786A.022/9–1350).
  2. Not printed; it was a repeat of telegram 62 from Dhahran, which reported destruction by demolition of some concrete pillars on the Persian Gulf islands bearing Saudi Arabian markers. (786A.022/9–1350)
  3. Not printed; the Embassy reported the British still had not received a reply to their note (786A.022/9–1550).
  4. Not printed; it reported on the British note to Saudi Arabia, in which Britain accepted the Saudi Arabian suggestion for a fact-finding commission, provided the Saudi Arabian Government produced a detailed statement in support of its claims and admitted the right of the British to negotiate for the Shaikh of Abu Dhabi and Sultan of Muscat in areas claimed by them (786A.022/7–1150).

    Telegram 1894 from London, September 29, reported Saudi Arabia had replied to the British note on boundary negotiations, rejecting the British requirements for negotiations. Telegram 177 from Jidda, September 30, reported receiving a copy of the Saudi Arabian Government memorandum to the British rejecting the British claims, but stating the (Saudi Arabians were willing to have a commission discuss the facts of the matter without prejudice to either party. Documentation is in Department of State file 786A.022.