786A.00/9–1752: Telegram

No. 1476
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1


149. SA Amb informed Dept Sept 172 receipt cable from King objecting UK activity in Buraimi and requesting US stand on President’s Oct 1950 ltr3 re “US interest preservation independence territorial integrity SA” and any “threat to Kingdom matter immed concern US.” Amb asked US be ready aid SA in case UK took “necessary steps protect its position” (Embtel 156, rptd London 24). Amb also stated position King that people Buraimi independent and settlement their status shld be in accordance principle self-determination and SA considering taking matter to UN.

Amb informed Dept’s serious concern re incidents Buraimi, belief that UN not best way settle matter, hope that SA wld avoid any impediments to amicable solution and wld attempt settle in friendly and statesmanlike manner. Amb left Dept having recd no aid or comfort.

UK Emb rep also discussed matter with Dept Sep 17 [18,]5 saying Fonoff intended send plane drop leaflets Hamasa behalf Sultan Muscat and if no satis ans recd from SAG re Brit protest (Embtel 156 rptd London 2) UK wld take action indicated London Embtel 1527 rptd Jidda 10.6

UK rep informed that Dept unaware Buraimi events until after had occurred, had then discussed orally with SA Emb and had [Page 2474] given Saudis no aid or comfort, expressed hope UK wld avoid any action leading to conflict opposing forces Buraimi, suggested SAG action in moving people into Buraimi possibly based SAG concern UK activity there (final para London Embtel 1458 rptd Jidda 97) and SAG belief UK not intending resume boundary conf (para 5 London Embtel 1458). Dept expressed hope UK FonOff might see way clear inform SAG now its willingness resume conf as measure soften Saudi attitude.

  1. Repeated as 2031 to London and 142 to Dhahran. Drafted by Sturgill and cleared by NEA and BNA.
  2. The memorandum of conversation of Sept. 17 between the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and Assistant Secretary Byroade has not been found in Department of State files.
  3. For the letter from President Truman to the King, dated Oct. 31, 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. V, p. 1190.
  4. Not printed; it informed the Department of State that a British note had been delivered to the Saudi Arabian Government at Riyadh expressing concern regarding Saudi Arabian actions in Buraimi, and ending with a request that the Saudi Arabian Government arrange the immediate withdrawal of Turki bin Ataishan and all his followers. After delivering the note, the British Chargé stated that unless an immediate reply was received the British Government would be obliged to take necessary steps to protect its position. (786A.00/9–1752)
  5. For the memorandum of the Sept. 18 conversation, see supra.
  6. Not printed; it indicated the “necessary action” involved the entry of Trucial levies to protect approximately 5 forts in the area controlled by Abu Dhabi. The Embassy informed the Department of State that the Foreign Office was not unduly disturbed by the situation, but felt it had to follow this course of action if the Saudis were to be kept in bounds. (786A.00/9–1652)
  7. supra.