176. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

143. Jennings, Case and Foster of Socony Mobil will proceed Saudi Arabia September 21.2 Appointment with King set for September [Page 272] 25. Primary purpose of visit is to discuss Saudi request that Socony choose between Aramco interest and Israeli operations. (Deptel 1213) Socony has decided it has no alternative but to accede King’s request. It will retain its participation in Aramco and seek to dispose of its operations in Israel.

Socony will attempt: (1) have King cancel request in order prepare way for voluntary disposal; (2) to explain to King that disposal will require reasonable time, perhaps year or more.

Department feels unable to raise objection to Socony’s decision. Department also recognizes practical difficulties of disposal and that it may take some time. FYI, there is possibility of sale to another American oil company. End FYI.

Socony representative will call on you and keep you fully informed. You may, in your discretion, give them all necessary and appropriate support in their relations with SAG.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 886A.2553/9–1755. Confidential. Drafted by Newsom and approved by Wilkins. Repeated to Dhahran and Tel Aviv and pouched to London.
  2. On September 15, in a meeting at the Department, Brewster Jennings, President and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Socony-Mobil, informed Hoover and Wilkins that the company had no choice but to accede to Saud’s request to close down operations in Israel. Jennings added that Standard Oil of Ohio might be interested in taking over Socony-Mobil’s interest in Israel. Hoover replied that the Department “felt unable to raise objection to the decision which Socony had made.” (Memorandum of conversation by Wilkins, September 15; ibid., 886A.2553/9–1555)
  3. Document 173.
  4. Jennings called on Hoover on October 20 to report that his meeting with King Saud on September 27 had been unavailing and that as there seemed to be no alternative, he had agreed to Socony’s withdrawal from its operations in Israel. A memorandum of the conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, 886A.2553/ 10–2055.