786A.00/9–1252: Telegram

No. 1474
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Department of State 1

secret

1458. FonOff informs us Saudi movements into Buraimi somewhat less extensive than first reports had indicated, approximately 80 armed Saudis being involved.2 However FonOff has now decided protest to SAG on grounds:

(1)
Saudis traversed territory subject standstill agreement in order reach their destination;
(2)
Presence armed Saudis in Buraimi also violation agreement which merely permitted both sides undertake normal administrative actions in disputed areas; and
(3)
Sultan Muscat has requested British protest his behalf as well.

FonOff also states that it has recently talked to Pelham and that it is now planned that he will indicate to King upon his return to Jidda in mid-October that UK prepared resume negotiations through him (Pelham). FonOff hopes negotiations will be conducted on Saudi side by Feisal and that they will get underway end of November.

Embassy off expressed doubts SAG would agree this procedure in view importance it has attached in past to participation Sheikhs. FonOff however, expressed confidence Saudis would be willing negotiation through diplomatic channels, . . . .

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FonOff further indicates that it is re-studying its position with respect to various boundary problems prior to preparing instructions for Pelham. In particular FonOff will wish consider carefully findings of Buckmaster, assistant political officer Trucial coast, who has recently made trip through Liwa area. FonOff also indicates that among new ideas it has in mind is suggestion that any boundary delineations agreed to between UK and SAG should not affect allegiance of inhabitants. FonOff thinks this suggestion might have some appeal to Ibn Saud, who insists he is more interested in individuals who acknowledge him than in lands involved.

Gifford
  1. Repeated to Jidda.
  2. Telegram 1254 from London, Sept. 3, advised the Department of State the Shaikh of Abu Dhabi had sent a message to the British Foreign Office informing it that Saudi Arabian troops had occupied several villages at Buraimi claimed by the Sultan of Muscat. The Foreign Office feared the Saudis might intend to move into all of Buraimi. (786A.00/9–352)