786A.11/11–1053: Telegram

No. 1458
The Chargé in Saudi Arabia (Jones) to the Department of State1


218. Delivered President’s message to King Saud2 1300 local time today (approximately 1000 GMT). Text message identical that contained Department’s Instruction 12 June 23.3 King expressed appreciation and indicated reply would be forthcoming soon.

King asked me inform US Government he was determined continue his father’s policies including maintenance close friendship with US. After referring anxiety in past about possible unrest following King Ibn Saud’s death, he said he has assured support Saudi people in whole kingdom and US need have no concern in this regard. He has allegiance of every Saudi, both high and low, “from man in street to Emir Feisal.” To commemorate his accession he was pardoning all persons exiled from Saudi Arabia and permitting their return to country. He was also proclaiming amnesty for persons convicted offenses against state and paying their fines himself. People jailed for civil offenses against private rights would enjoy amnesty only if wronged persons agreed waive rights. (Embassy has discreetly initiated inquiry determine whether amnesty applicable to three Americans imprisoned for entering Mecca.)4

King had no objection publication President’s message and said both message and his reply would be published Saudi newspapers.5

Taif quiet and most shops closed. Crown Prince Feisal and other members Royal Family returned Taif from Riyadh this afternoon. King expects return Jidda tomorrow and receive Diplomatic Corps at 1100 local time.

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Requested see Crown Prince Feisal express condolences but was informed he ill and, in fact, had left his bed in order accompany father’s remains to Riyadh. Consequently did not press for interview.

Embassy informed by Foreign Office chiefs several other diplomatic missions Jidda requested permission visit Taif express condolences to King but were refused.

  1. Repeated to Dhahran and Beirut.
  2. Telegram 212 from Jidda, Nov. 9, reported the death of King Ibn Saud, and the accession to the throne of Crown Prince Saud. Prince Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, had been designated the new Crown Prince. (786A.11/11–953)
  3. Not printed; it transmitted the text of a message from the President for the Ambassador to give the new King in case of the death of King Ibn Saud. The Ambassador was instructed, in the event of Ibn Saud’s death, to proceed immediately to Riyadh with the message; and to leave no doubt about U.S. support and recognition of the new King. (786A.11/6–2353) This plan had been formulated in March 1952 by the Truman Administration and reviewed and approved by President Eisenhower in March 1953.
  4. See footnote 6, supra.
  5. Telegram 228 from Jidda, Nov. 13, transmitted the translation of King Saud’s reply to the President’s message. It reported that both notes had been broadcast over the Mecca radio and published in Al Bilad Al Saudiya on Nov. 12. (Lot 66 D 204, Presidential Correspondence, King Saud/Eisenhower)