Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 158
STB MIN 1/1
Secretary Dulles suggested that the meeting turn to the subject of Buraimi.2 He noted that “we seem to be allies of opposing forces”.
Lord Salisbury said that they had recently put forward the suggestion that the President should suggest mutual withdrawal with supervision. He noted that it was their thought that the supervisory group should consist of one Saudi, one British nominee and one American, if possible, or alternatively, a Scandinavian of neutral character. He said that they would like to see a supervisory body set up to keep the peace.
Secretary Dulles asked whether it would not be possible to have a supervisory body without the necessity for withdrawal. He suggested that it should be possible to have a standstill with supervision. He said that it was his impression that Ibn Saud is in good faith disturbed because of the reports he receives. He commented that it was doubtless easy for untrained observers to draw the conclusion, when mortars and an observation plane were used, that there had been bombings.
Lord Salisbury said that they felt strongly that Turki has no right to be where he is.
Secretary Dulles pointed out that the Saudis claim he does have, and General Smith observed that there appeared to be a certain difference of opinion.
Lord Salisbury said that he thought withdrawal on both sides was the best way out, and if that was not possible, they would have to give the matter further thought.
Secretary Dulles hoped they would do that.
Mr. Byroade said that he felt almost certain that the King would [Page 1641] not accept withdrawal. He pointed out that Turki is a “real vote-getter”. He also noted that Turki would have to withdraw some 500–600 miles to Ridayh or Dammam and such a withdrawal would involve serious loss of face for the Saudis. He expressed the view that it was better to get rid of the problem and to start arbitration as quickly as possible.
Mr. Beeley asked for a restatement of the United States position.
Mr. Byroade explained that the United States proposal was as follows: (1) Both sides agree arbitration should take place with present strength Saudi and British forces remaining in the area on the understanding that the blockade would be lifted and that the Saudis would engage in no further suborning activities. (2) Observation commission consisting of one Saudi, one British and one neutral representative to be set up immediately to proceed to the area to insure adherence to the foregoing. The commission is to remain as long as the situation required and is to have freedom of movement and the right of access to Saudi, British and other authorities in the region. (3) Both sides to conclude arrangements without delay for arbitration.
Lord Salisbury said that he would like to think the United States proposal over. He pointed out that the fact that Turki would have to withdraw 600 miles showed how far outside his own territory he was.
General Smith said that he had sensed a modest pride on the part of the British in the fact that strong measures had induced the Saudis to accept arbitration. He said that he wished to point out that the Saudis had not reached that conclusion until after many hours of discussion in which he had participated and after they had failed to receive any encouragement on the proposal for a plebiscite as opposed to the idea of arbitration. If they had received such encouragement they would not have accepted arbitration.
- In the records of the Department of State the discussions on Egypt and Buraimi were designated STB MIN 1 and STB MIN 1/1, respectively, and were filed as separate documents. Attendance at the latter discussion was the same as at the former with the following exceptions: Ambassador Aldrich was not present for the discussion of Buraimi and Fritzlan was. A summary of this second part of the meeting was transmitted to London on July 16 in telegram 283 (repeated to Jidda), 786A.00/7–1653.↩
- Further documentation on the United States interest in the Anglo-Saudi dispute over Buraimi is presented in volume ix .↩