The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State
3022. Furlonge1 said today Foreign Office now drawing up reply to Saudi note of September 22 and present plan is to take more lenient line than heretofore. He said UK anxious avoid further delay in establishing fact-finding commission. He indicated Foreign Office might modify its request that Saudis provide statement explaining basis their claims by waiving this requirement on claims prior 1938. He said also that presentation reply would probably be handled somewhat differently by instructing Trott deliver note to King in Riyadh.
Furlonge said Foreign Office attached importance obtaining fuller justification Saudi claims at least since 1938 because (a) Foreign Office thought they were completely unreasonable and (b) it felt UK members commission needed clearer idea Saudi pretensions before they were competent begin investigation.
Cranston in another conversation today said UK wished be accommodating as possible and he otherwise also made clear UK considering softer line.
Cranston said that oil survey on Trucial coast in area claimed by SAG had now been completed and camp to which Saudis had protested had been removed. Only operations in this area now are from launches off coast.[Page 117]
Trott has informed Foreign Office of Saudi displeasure over UK attitude as conveyed in Riyadh to US Ambassador (Jidda’s 318, November 20).2 Cranston said this information was being taken into consideration in preparation of UK reply to September 22 note.
Sent Department 3022, repeated information Jidda 22.