641.86A/3–1052: Telegram

No. 1469
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1


4691. Dept disappointed results Damman conference and from knowledge SA affairs has concern that boundary problem fast becoming emotional cause célèbre injurious to UK (Jidda’s Embtels 474 and 477, Mar 10 and 11 rptd London 61 and 622). Dept has wanted remain aloof this problem and has for four years met SAG importunities our intervention with counsel for moderation, patience and direct substantive talk UKG, which still advocated. US can not remain aloof however if non-solution problem might needlessly jeopardize Brit position to which we attach great importance NE area.

Dept believes, therefore, that interests both US and UK lie not in further delay (London Embtel 4030, Mar 143) but in prompt resumption UK-SAG talks along constructive lines and offers suggestions to fol. Dept hopes FonOff will not misconstrue purpose as supporting [Page 2463] SAG position. Such not intention but Dept has genuine anxiety time is running out and unless determined effort made soon with maximum flexibility to solve problem, SA may be seriously alienated from UK. Dept suggests:

Resume promptly with firm intention reach agreement Damman conversations now recessed over month.
Precede meeting with frank and friendly statement from Churchill to King along lines Jidda’s Embtel 477 rptd London 62, Mar 11 expressing PriMin’s warm personal sentiments towards King who is always receptive such approach and giving firm assurances Brit NE policy not inimical SA. Such overture cld go a long way toward creating good atmosphere for resumption talks.
Take advantage declaration Sheikh Qatar (Jidda Embtel 402, Feb 3 rptd London 524) which so gratifying SA sensibilities and desire direct negots yet places responsibility on King for making generous settlement he so often promised thus probably benefitting UK–Qatar position with maximum goodwill all around.
Give early evidence in meeting of willingness compromise:
Concede principle SA opening on PG east of Qatar and negotiate extent.
Concede or divide Manasir tribal area bearing in mind however that division delicate unless excellent atmosphere already created by 2, 3, and 4a above.
Seek prompt agreement in order to:
Derive maximum goodwill benefit.
Avoid arbitration if possible since it wld cause long delay in settlement and diminish goodwill impact of friendly negots. Failing latter, however, Dept strongly supports arbitration as best possible second course.
Avoid reference problem by SAG to UN where Soviet wld utilize it as subj polit propaganda against UK and West generally.

Of above suggestions we attach particular importance to para no. 2 which is emphasized by para no. 5 Jidda Embtel 493, Mar 18 rptd London 64.5

Timing of ur approach to FonOff is left to ur discretion, but should not be too long delayed.

  1. Repeated as 350 to Jidda. Drafted by Awalt and cleared by NEA, EUR, and BNA.
  2. Document 1467 and supra .
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 3, supra .
  4. Not printed; it reported that the Shaikh of Abu Dhabi was very subdued and only participated in the discussions through the British, but the Shaikh of Qatar began by making a speech on his own, saying that King Ibn Saud was his “father” and he would accept whatever the King said. (786A.022/2–352)
  5. Not printed; paragraph 5 suggested some sort of British gesture to conciliate the Saudis. It added that the basic problem of power positions in the Persian Gulf area should be clarified in the interest of U.S. cooperation with the British in the area. (641.86A/3–1852)