The Ambassador in Saudi Arabia
(Hare) to the
Department of State
474. Long talk yesterday with Prince Faisal who said sent here by King from Riyadh especially discuss with me King’s apprehensions re Brit. King had originally considered sending Faisal Wash but decided more discreet handle here. For same reason had deemed preferable have Faisal come here ostensibly for medical treatment rather than asking me come Riyadh.
According Faisal King increasingly concerned by what he regards as Brit political maneuvers contrary interests SA. King’s own intentions entirely pacific but he definitely will not submit to measures directed against him even by Brit. Back of it all, he convinced, is Brit irritation because increasingly close Saudi-American relations recent years, but for policy reasons Brit ire cannot be directed at US, and SA therefore made objection their own pleasure. . . . Although situation perhaps not such warrant basing case on any one point, indices taken together clearly show disturbing pattern Brit anti-Saudi policy. Situation cld easily get out of control by accident or design and King feels strongly Brit shld be curbed before critical point reached. Why can’t Brit leave well enough alone? That is all King asks.
In past King had approached us this regard and we had used good offices in endeavor narrow area difficulty but this neutral policy had not been effective and King now desired make serious plea for our taking matter up with Brit very firmly and seeking clear cut assurances they wld forego political machinations to disturb present political balance. I replied most this familiar ground and correct we had consistently followed policy not taking sides but trying promote agreement between our Brit and Saudi friends.[Page 2460]
Now Saudis asking us change and bear down on Brit. That wld be serious decision in any circumstances but especially difficult now since King desired keep approach to us secret while at same time there wld not seem to have been any outstanding recent developments in situation to serve as basis our approach Brit with degree seriousness King desired. Faisal confirmed unable authorize reference to this approach without resubmitting to King, which wld be difficult, and he suggested that as alternative we might take up as matter of our own observation of Saudi concern. Re facts they not so important as Brit motivating attitude and important to change this attitude before facts become major concern. King wants take time by forelock and prevent degeneration situation to detriment not only SA and Brit but area as whole. Faisal then renewed appeal for our intervention and said instructed remain here until cld return Riyadh with our reply.
I said wld of course consider King’s request but felt matter as presented did not afford much to get one’s teeth into. Faisal replied that exactly the point. what King wanted was arrest present ominous drift events before it became overt dispute. Indicated, however, that particularly troubling King at present is indications Brit seeking promote unification Kuwait with Iraq. This King cld not countenance.
Comment and recommendations in fol tel.2 Request all offices to which rptd treat as confidential and that London not mention FonOff at this time.