786A. 11/5–2353

No. 1452
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Arabian Peninsula–Iraq Affairs (Fritzlan)

secret

Subject:

  • Call of Prince Faisal, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister, on Secretary.

Participants:

  • Prince Faisal
  • The Secretary
  • Sheikh Asad Al Faqih, Saudi Arabian Ambassador
  • Sheikh Ibrahim Suleiman, Prince Faisal’s Chief of Cabinet
  • Sheikh Ali Alireza, Prince Faisal’s Personal
  • Assistant
  • Mr. A. David Fritzlan,NE

Prince Faisal called by prearrangement in order to say goodbye to the Secretary prior to his departure for Saudi Arabia and to leave some presents with him.

After appropriate complimentary remarks Prince Faisal informed the Secretary that a report of the conversation between General Smith and the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on March 162 had been made to him and he had immediately informed his father King Ibn Saud concerning it. He had now received word from the King and had been instructed to inform the Secretary as follows concerning the King’s reactions:

1.
His Majesty was very grateful for the reaffirmation made of the policy stated in President Truman’s letter to him of October 31, 1950.3
2.
On the question of border disputes with the British,4 the King was disappointed at our position and did not feel it to be consistent with the special status which the United States has in the past accorded to Saudi Arabia. He felt that the unusually close ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia called for active United States intervention in the Buraimi dispute in such a way as to protect and advance Saudi interests. Prince Faisal stated that, as was well known, his Government had only peaceful intentions toward [Page 2440]its neighbors and had no aggressive designs whatsoever. However, his Government could not be expected to lose sight of its rights.
3.
As had often been stated in the past, Prince Faisal remarked, the United States could count on Saudi Arabian support in the event of war. While King Ibn Saud was grateful for the news that grant military aid for training had been approved for Saudi Arabia he felt that this step went only a short way to satisfy the requirements of the situation and to meet expectations which had been raised. Prince Faisal especially wished to know the extent of the proposed grant aid program, and in this connection he complained concerning alleged high costs of material and training which had been obtained under the cash-reimbursable military assistance agreement signed June 18, 1951. He made the statement that in a number of cases equivalent material could have been obtained from European sources at approximately half the cost.

Finally, Prince Faisal stated that he did not feel he could return to his father without evidence of greater goodwill on our part and that he would be in Washington several days and would be available in case the Secretary wished to convey any further information concerning our attitudes on the questions he had raised.

The Secretary stated he would give the matter his prompt attention and would inform Prince Faisal in the next day or two.5

Before departing, Prince Faisal left with the Secretary on behalf of his father several presents as tokens of appreciation.

On leaving the Secretary’s office Prince Faisal encountered two newspaper representatives who inquired concerning the nature of his visit. He stated that he had come to say goodbye to the Secretary, to express appreciation for the very friendly reception he had encountered during his visit in the United States, and to discuss certain matters of mutual interest. He refused to elucidate concerning these questions.

  1. This memorandum of conversation was prepared on Mar. 24.
  2. For a memorandum of the conversation of Mar. 16, see Document 1506.
  3. For text of President Truman’s letter, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. V, p. 1190.
  4. For documentation on U.S. interest in border disputes between the British and Saudi Arabians, in particular that of the Buraimi oasis, see Documents 1466 ff.
  5. The Under Secretary of State met with Prince Faisal and the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on Mar. 25. For an account of the meeting, see telegram 559 to Jidda, Document 1507.