780.022/4–153

No. 1510
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Arabian Peninsula–Iraq Affairs (Fritzlan)

secret

Subject:

  • Call of Saudi Arabian Ambassador on Under Secretary.

Participants:

  • Under Secretary
  • Saudi Arabian Ambassador
  • Assistant Secretary Byroade
  • Mr. Fritzlan

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador called on April 1 at his request in order to deliver a message from Prince Faisal who is about to return to his country.

The message dealt with two subjects which had been discussed between the Under Secretary and Prince Faisal on March 25.1

1. Buraimi.

The Prince instructed the Ambassador to inform the Under Secretary that King Ibn Saud was greatly perturbed over three new developments reflecting aggressive British intentions:

a.
The intent to establish a general blockade of the Buraimi area,
b.
Interference in the collection by Saudis of the zakat tax which has been collected for some time, and
c.
The establishment of a British post ten kilometers from Buraimi and the interference in communication between Buraimi and the coast and confiscation of food supplies.

It appears that these activities are causing Ibn Saud loss of sleep with detrimental effect upon his health. It is feared that if they [Page 2530]continue he will be forced to take “desperate action. and Prince Faisal wished the Department to be aware of this possibility.

2. Grant Military Aid for Saudi Arabia.

The Ambassador expressed on behalf of Prince Faisal appreciation for the elucidations contained in the Under Secretary’s aide-mémoire of March 26 on this subject.2 While grateful for this new assistance the Prince, reflecting the feelings of his father, could not conceal some disappointment that the program apparently did not include training in Saudi Arabia and the provision of necessary training equipment. It was hoped that as the program developed it would embrace these two aspects. The Prince was especially grateful that the grant aid program for Saudi Arabia was a special program for the country and marked a new departure in United States relations with the Arab States.

The Under Secretary stated in reply that he was grateful for the Prince’s message and would give it all possible consideration. He touched briefly on the fact that it was too early yet to estimate the extent of the grant aid program and that such could be done only after Congress had appropriated money, the necessary agreement had been concluded, and our representatives in Saudi Arabia had joined with the Saudi authorities in elaborating a training program. He added that the United States Government sought as often as possible to give Saudi Arabia preferential treatment.

  1. For a summary of the meeting, see telegram 559 to Jidda, Document 1507.
  2. For the text of the aide-mémoire, see Document 1453.