611.86A/1–1750: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia 1


17. Review your recent conversations with SAG indicates six important questions are of continuing interest: (1) possible mil moves against SA (Deptel 451 Dec 22); (2) possible mil moves by SA (Embtel 5 Jan 43); (3) mil assistance to SA; (4) DAB;4 (5) FCN; (6) Civil Air Agreement (last four in Embtel 730 Dec 195).

Dept realizes most these questions interrelated but believes all of them shld be handled and discussed separately with SAG in so far as possible. Method of handling will depend on developing circumstances. Some might be resolved through Emb; in other cases it may be necessary handle by providing you temporarily with expert assistants from US. SAG shld not, however, be permitted gain impression that USG is prepared in near future to undertake overall negots or series of talks at which all of reference questions will arise for discussion and immediate solution. Dept fears if SAG entertains hope of simultaneous solution of all important problems in near future subsequent delay or failure may prove disillusioning and thereby affect US–SAG relationships adversely.

For further information on this topic, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, pp. 180 ff.

[Page 1121]

For example, suggested threat of any NE mil move against SA may be removed by developments in other Arab States and in NE as whole but these may require months and possibly years. Under existing circumstances no possibility foreseen of US Govt independently going beyond position taken in Deptels 93 Mar 236 and 451 Dec 2.7 Furthermore any advance in position wld probably be within framework of UN. It is important therefore you use every occasion reestablish prestige of UN in eyes SA officials. Other questions, such as mil assistance to SA, are dependent on consideration of O’Keefe report8 by JCS and Congressional MAP action. Meanwhile reference is made to Deptel 407 Oct 159 which contains possible approach if SAG further presses question mil assistance. Still other questions, such as DAB and possibly Civil Aviation Agreement, will arise for earlier consideration. Meanwhile Dept is studying means for solving these questions. Consideration is also being given to FCN.

With specific reference to possible mil moves by SA as reported in Embtel 5 Jan 4, you are authorized orally inform SAG that Dept recalls statement of Dec 5 (Deptel 451 Dec 2) and that it also recalls USG has long maintained policy of opposing any modification of frontiers or governmental structure of NE states through intervention or external force. USG has and will continue to make known these views to NE States as occasion warrants.

It shld always be made clear to SAG, in event it indicates impatience or dissatisfaction with USG views, that USG desires continue closest relations of friendship with SAG and work with it in reaching satisfactory solution outstanding questions between us. At same time USG feels and believes SAG shld agree, fol serious reflection, that relations between USG and SAG are basically good. They therefore shld not be permitted to deteriorate by acquiescing in development of state of mind among SAG officials wherein USG is partly responsible for bad relations existing between SAG and some of its neighbors. It is suggested that many complaints currently addressed by SA officials to Emb shld be handled by turning back on the spot rather than by informing officials their views are being reported to Dept for study.

  1. Repeated to Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Amman, and London.
  2. Not printed; but see editorial note, Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1624.
  3. Not printed; the Ambassador reported a call at his residence by Yussef Yassin to inform him that any action of Jordanian or Iraqi forces toward Syria would precipitate retaliatory action by Saudi Arabian and Egyptian forces (786A.00/1–450).
  4. Dhahran Airfield was built by U.S. armed forces in 1946 and was operated by the Air Transport Command in an agreement with the Government of Saudi Arabia. The current agreement was to last until June 1950.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1628.
  6. Not printed, but see footnote 1, Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1584.
  7. Not printed, but see editorial note, ibid., p. 1624.
  8. See p. 1112.
  9. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 1615.