780.022/10–852: Telegram

No. 1483
The Secretary of State to the Consulate General at Dhahran1

priority niact

90. For Amb. Brit Emb conveyed Dept Oct 82 very disturbing unconfirmed report from Bahrain via Kuwait Saudis concentrating 80 vehicles 700 troops armed rifles machine guns at Al Kharj, and some have reached Ain Haradh. If confirmed and if force to be sent Buraimi, suggest you reiterate firmly King line contained Deptel 88, Jidda 181, Lon 2469.3

FYI Brit intend make aerial reconnaissance Al Kharj in attempt confirm report. This will be direct violation Saudi sovereignty.4 End FYI.

Brit Emb also informed Dept FonOff instructed Riches tell King (1) Eden most concerned this difference opinion between old friends [Page 2486] being recklessly enlarged, (2) RAF flights suspended, (3) Saudi “engineer” released, (4) Eden genuinely anxious settle dispute amicably and equitably and ready withdraw levies Buraimi simultaneously withdrawal Turki, (5) UK will propose reopening frontier discussions soon as possible but King must allow time for preparation, meantime King shld demonstrate sincerity by putting end to present incident.5 Garbled story Buraimi today reached US press corres. Brit Emb asked by Newsweek in preparation article appearing Oct 9 whether US asked mediate Buraimi incident. Emb replied had no knowledge such request and played down affair. Source not yet known.

  1. Repeated as 182 to Jidda and 2500 to London. Drafted by Sturgill and cleared by BNA and NEA.
  2. No memorandum of an Oct. 8 conversation with the British has been found in Department of State files. But telegrams 2034, Oct. 7, and 2042 and 2057, Oct. 8, from London, reported the following information from the Foreign Office: the British were urging restraint on the Sultan of Muscat, who had assembled forces reportedly large enough to oust Turki; the British had stopped RAF flights in the area; the Saudis had reportedly landed oil supplies at Dubai for Turki at Hamasa; and Saudi vehicles and troops were concentrated at Al Kharj. Documentation is in Department of State file 780.022.
  3. Dated Oct. 7, not printed; it said the British Embassy had informed the Department of State of the reported arrival of the Saudi vehicles and guards. The Department suggested the Ambassador advise the Saudi Arabian Government that Saudi reinforcements could only aggravate the situation in Buraimi and make it more difficult, or even impossible, for the United States to carry on informal mediation. The Department continued to believe mutual withdrawal, to which the British said they would agree, would be the wisest course for Saudi Arabia and would not prejudice their territorial claims. (780.022/10–752)
  4. Telegram 2091 from London, Oct. 9, reported the RAF had been ordered not to make aerial reconnaissance flights because of the adverse effects the action would have on efforts to secure Saudi Arabian agreement to mutual withdrawal. (780.022/10–952)
  5. Telegram 97 from Dhahran, Oct. 9, reported Yassin acknowledged that a supply expedition sent to Buraimi had passed through Abu Dhabi territory in error, but when the King heard of it he gave peremptory orders that there was to be no recurrence of such a violation of Abu Dhabi territory. When the Ambassador brought up the substance of the source text, however, Yassin and Gargoni immediately and categorically denied the entire report. (780.022/10–952)