780.022/10–1052: Telegram

No. 1484
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1


2565. Saudi Amb acting on instrs from King called on Bruce today.2 Made fol pts: (1) Sit Buraimi now very precarious. Drastic Saudi reaction can be expected to Brit move to cut Saudi supply line between Buraimi and Al Hasa. (2) King’s request for mediation is for formal mediation if US desires consider it that way; but if US believes sit better handled by informal mediation then King agreeable. In other words up to US to decide, but results are what is now important. (3) Plane flights have ceased over Saudi occupied areas Buraimi but now believed continuing over Brit occupied areas. (4) Brit forces now being replaced by Muscati forces. This illustration Brit not adhering promise not to take aggressive actions. (Amb was [Page 2487] reminded of historical friendship US and Sultan and of US knowledge since 1949 of Sultan’s claims to part of Buraimi.)

Bruce informed Amb there appeared to be fol alternatives for settlement (1) Direct negot (2) mediation (3) arbitration, all to be preceded by one of two prelim steps, either mutual simultaneous withdrawal or standstill, both without prejudice claims either side. Said in view info provided by Amb Dept wld consider and talk him again perhaps with an answer early next week.

Dept has stated fol to Brit: (1) US for all practical purposes has recd request for formal mediation. (2) Dept wld like avoid mediation if at all poss. (3) Dept also wld like avoid reference Buraimi dispute to SC. (4) Therefore Dept suggests UK may wish propose immed to SAG that dispute be submitted to arbitration. (5) Dept wld appreciate ans soonest.3

  1. Drafted by Sturgill and repeated as telegram 197 to Jidda and 100 to Dhahran for the Ambassador.
  2. No memorandum of this conversation was found in Department of State files. The files do contain a memorandum by Sturgill to Hart, dated Oct. 10, on matters to be discussed by Hart at an oral briefing for Bruce prior to the meeting. (641.86A/10–1052)
  3. Telegram 2130 from London, Oct. 11, reported the British Foreign office had instructed Riches to agree to a standstill at Buraimi, provided it would not prejudice the claims of either party. Neither side would provide reinforcements, although the British could only make guarantees for themselves and not for the Sultan of Muscat. The Foreign Office added that it would agree to resume negotiations with Saudi Arabia, and if the negotiations did not show agreement was possible, the British would suggest arbitration. (780.022/10–1152) Despatch 105 from Jidda, Oct. 20, transmitted copies of two British notes delivered by Riches to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Oct. 12, and a reply by the Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs which was understood to have been delivered the following day. (641.86A/10–2052)