711.56386A/12–1653: Telegram

No. 1459
The Chargé in Saudi Arabia (Jones) to the Department of State 1


275. Deptels 180, December 142 and 182, December 15.3 Discussed question inspection mail and cargo for base with Prince Feisal today. Shaikh Yusuf Yassin who recently returned Jidda from Europe present at conversation.

After expressing appreciation consideration given question Prince Feisal other high Saudi officials stated Gargoni formula4 not acceptable giving as explanation various points contained Deptel 180. Also referred personal parcel post packages now impounded and asked these packages as well as official cargo shipments now impounded be released without inspection pending further discussion question after arrival Ambassador Wadsworth.

Prince Feisal replied SAG not willing renounce sovereign right of inspection but had no intention hindering operation base at Dhahran. He still thought simplest solution was have American official [Page 2449] be present at opening of “few packages”. After my negative reply this suggestion Prince Feisal said he would refer to King my request release imports now impounded pending discussion Ambassador Wadsworth with SAG authorities. He said Yusuf who planned leave Riyadh tomorrow would submit question to King.

According Dunlop, acting commander US forces Dhahran following is status various categories imports and mail for base:

Since release impounded mail October 13 Saudis have not as yet impounded nor attempted inspect official mail including packages.
All intransit mail including packages released for shipment without inspection.
Saudis have refused release official cargo received Dammam without inspection but at present official cargo received via MATS or bases own aircraft not impounded.
Personal parcel post still impounded.

With reference last point Feisal stated there is possibility securing release without inspection all impounded packages in next few days by action local customs official.

Embassy will inform Department soon as information received regarding King’s reaction to request presently impounded imports be released pending discussions Ambassador Wadsworth.

  1. Repeated to Dhahran.
  2. Not printed; it informed the Ambassador that the failure of the Saudi Arabian Government to accept without question official documents describing the contents of official parcel post received at Dhahran Airfield could only be regarded as questioning the good faith of the U.S. Government. No such question had arisen in any other country, and the U.S. Government could not acquiesce. (711.56386A/12–1353)
  3. Not printed; it advised the Ambassador to inform Prince Faisal that if personal packages for Dhahran were still impounded a serious problem of morale would arise at Christmas time. (711.56386A/11–1953)
  4. The so-called Gargoni formula refers to a proposal by Khalid Bey Gargoni, reported to the Department of State in telegram 265 from Jidda, Dec. 7. Gargoni implied that the Saudis did not intend to inspect official parcel post mail for Dhahran Airfield, but reserved the right to do so. He said the Saudi Arabian Government intended to be tolerant and not make a general inspection, but would inspect any package about which there was any doubt. Before inspecting a package, the Government would inform American authorities to send an observer to be present during the inspection; but if the observer were delayed the Government would carry out the inspection by itself. (711.56386A/12–753)