7864.11/3–150: Telegram

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


112. Deptel 69 February 24.1 In call 27th on Deputy Foreign Minister, Admiral Conolly2 and I spoke of availability services Captain Hubbard3 to proceed Riyadh make examination of King and survey needs drugs and equipment his subsequent treatment by US specialists.4 Shaikh Yusuf expressed warm thanks and said he was confident His Majesty would be very grateful but he would confirm by telegram inquiry Riyadh. At dinner offered by Prince Mansour5 in name of King to Admiral Conolly and his officers at Palace that night [Page 1129] Yusuf stated telegram received expressing King’s warm appreciation and stating he would welcome visit Captain Hubbard who left for Riyadh early yesterday morning expecting return today.

I have discussed situation with both Admiral Conolly and Brigadier General R. J. O’Keefe, CO Dhahran. They concur full with me in opinion it would be in national interest if Department Defense would undertake find most competent arthritis specialist available in any of service departments who would be sent Riyadh, accompanied by assistant, as response to original request King. I am the more persuaded to make this recommendation by extremely favorable impression made on King and Crown Prince as result similar mission Lt. Colonel Moffett, USAF.6

O’Keefe suggests clinical assistant to arthritis specialist accompany him with necessary equipment in special mission aircraft in order obtain general health King regarding life expectancy.

  1. Not printed; it approved the suggestion made in telegram 106, February 23, from Jidda, that Captain Hubbard visit the King before the arrival of a specialist from the United States (786A.11/2–2350).
  2. Adm. Richard L. Conolly, Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. Despatch 111, March 13, from Jidda, not printed, contained an account of the visit of the U.S.S. Roanoke and two escorting destroyers to Jidda from February 27 to March 2, a trip previously suggested by the Ambassador as an expression of friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. (711.5886A/3–1350)
  3. Capt H. D. Hubbard, United States Navy, area medical officer on the staff of Admiral Conoly.
  4. In telegram 105, February 22, from Jidda, Childs sent a request from King Ibn Saud for the help of the United States Government in obtaining the best American arthritis specialist to come to Riyadh to examine him. In addition, he wanted the doctor to bring an assistant who would be able to remain in Saudi Arabia after the specialist left. At two meetings in the Department of State, on February 23 and 24, Fraser Wilkins, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs, and Frederick Awalt, Acting Officer in Charge, Arabian Peninsula Affairs, discussed the request with Shaikh Asad Al-Faqih, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, and an arthritis specialist from the Mayo Clinic. An account of the visit of the American medical team is in the memorandum of April 30, p. 1169. Further documentation on this subject is in Department of State file 786A.11
  5. Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense.
  6. In January 1950 a United States Air Force ear specialist, Lt. Col. Oscar P. Moffett, from Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, visited Saudi Arabia after a request from the King for an American doctor to diagnose Crown Prince Sand’s ear trouble. Colonel Moffett reported to Dhahran on January 14 and arrived in Riyadh on January 15. After examining the Crown Prince, Moffett made arrangements for him to enter the Dhahran Health Center, an Arab hospital.

    The Ambassador transmitted Moffett’s report of his treatment of Prince Saud and other members of the royal family to the Department of State with despatch 34, January 27, from Jidda, not printed, and enclosed a final report on Prince Sand’s medical treatment with despatch 94, March 10, from Jidda; not printed. In that despatch he said Colonel Moffett’s visit had made a deep impression on the royal family, and he asked the Department to convey the sincere appreciation of the Embassy to the Department of the Air Force. Hare enclosed a copy of despatch 94 with a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force, dated March 28; not printed. Further documentation is in Department of State file 786A.11.