171. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen) to the Under Secretary of State (Hoover)1


  • Saudi Arabia’s Attempt to Apply the Boycott to Socony Mobil


Messrs. Nickerson and Case of Socony Mobil, one of the four parent companies of Aramco, called to discuss Socony’s problem growing out of the Saudi demands that it either withdraw its interests from Israel or get out of Saudi Arabia. (Memorandum of Conversation attached.2) The company’s interest in Israel is looked upon as of marginal significance, and I think it would like to withdraw from Israel rather than face up to the possible dangers of defying King Saud. On the other hand, it is believed that withdrawing from Israel poses for Socony serious dangers; it fears a Zionist campaign against it in this country in retaliation to withdrawal.

The King’s demands are most unreasonable. To my knowledge there has been no case involving a secondary boycott against Israel quite like this one. It can be argued that Socony, as a minor stockholder of Aramco, does not itself actually do business in Saudi Arabia.

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Socony has not yet decided what it will do, but agrees to keep the Department informed. If it decides to challenge the demands of the Saudi Government by refusing to withdraw from Israel, thus shoving the problem into Aramco’s lap, I think the Department should give strong support. I can hardly believe that King Saud will … follow through with extreme measures against Aramco.

While it is for the company to decide its course, I should not, unless you disagree, propose to discourage it from taking a position of resistance.


That we make clear to the company that it must make its own decision but at the same time let it be known that if the decision is to resist the boycott action the Department will provide diplomatic support.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 886A.2553/8–3155. Confidential. Drafted by Gay; sent through S/S.
  2. Not found attached. Reference is apparently to a memorandum of a conversation on August 23 between Allen and Austin T. Foster and John Case, General Counsel and Vice President, respectively, of Socony Mobil Company, Inc. (Ibid., 886A.2553/8–2355)
  3. According to a notation on the source text, Hoover approved the memorandum, “subject to caveat discussed personally with Mr. Allen.” No record of Hoover’s discussion with Allen has been found.