Memorandum by the Officer in Charge, Arabian Peninsula Affairs (Awalt), to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Jones)


I called at General Graham’s office at the White House this morning at 9:00 at his request in order to assist him in briefing the other members of the mission who are departing in the near future to Taif to attend King Ibn Saud.1 Before joining the other officers in the conference room, General Graham told me that the President had a great personal interest in this mission and had expressed his hope that it could depart at the earliest moment possible. As a consequence every effort is being made, General Graham said, to advance their projected departure from Thursday evening to some time Wednesday, August 15. The General also remarked as a matter of confidential information that the President had refused to allow him to respond to requests from the Shah of Iran and three heads of state in Latin America to attend them. But when the request came from King Ibn Saud, he approved promptly.

After entering the conference room where the other officers were awaiting the General, the President entered and was introduced to [Page 1067] everyone present by General Graham. The President told the group that they were going on an important mission to a great man. He is our friend, he said. He regretted sending them out over the Arabian Desert this time of year but said it was necessary and that he knew their efforts would be deeply appreciated by the King. He wished them every success on their mission. …

I was very much impressed, as I am sure the other officers present were also, at this clear indication of the President’s deep and sincere interest in the welfare of King Ibn Saud.

After the President left the room the group sat down around the conference table for a general discussion of Saudi Arabia and its customs and the personalities the group would meet there. The discussion was entirely informal with questions raised around the table and answered by the General and myself as the case warranted. The members of the Medical Mission are as follows:

Major General Wallace H. Graham, USAF

Col. Edwin M. Coyette (MC) USA, O–20530

Capt. Charles L. Ferguson (MC)USN, 63682

Col. John W. Kemble (MC), 20398

Capt. Frances F. Foley (MC) USAF, 19543A

HMI James I. Myers, USN, 755–31–37

M/Sgt Thomas S. Stultz, USA, RA33217113

Sgt Edward E. Stultz, USA, RA16290432

  1. The Saudi Arabian Chargé d’Affaires called at the Department of State on August 7 to request the services of General Graham and a group of medical specialists to come to Saudi Arabia to examine the King. A memorandum from the Secretary of State to the President, dated August 9, recommended that the President approve the mission. Telegram 54, August 9 to Jidda, advised the Embassy the President had approved the mission and General Graham’s party would depart about August 15. Documentation is in Department of State file 786A.11. For documentation on a 1950 visit of General Graham and a medical mission to Saudi Arabia, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. v, pp. 1112 ff.