200. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

3518. From Secretary. You are instructed deliver following message to Kirkpatrick:

Secretary of State valued opportunity discuss Persian Gulf issues with Macmillan in Paris. Secretary has also noted your remarks to Barbour2 and suggests that this question as well as related matters might be taken up when we jointly go into them in January. Department of State looks forward to discussions with Shuckburgh in Washington January 11. Secretary has however concern that events may overtake us.

Azzam Pasha, Saudi Arabian agent in Buraimi matter, announced to press in New York December 19 SAG will take case to SC in January, if present efforts reach other settlement fail. Department understands SAG still considering requesting SC sponsor resumption arbitration or negotiation in some form.

Meanwhile King Saud has returned from India, but has not yet seen Ambassador Wadsworth. Prior his departure he indicated he wished review Buraimi matter further upon return. Department anticipates he will continue emphasize pressures upon him for more vigorous action.

The Saudi Arabian Government has in the past invoked and probably will again invoke in connection with the Buraimi matter the following declaration made by President Truman to King Ibn Saud October 31, 1950: [Page 306]

“I wish to renew to Your Majesty the assurances which have been made to you several times in the past, that the United States is interested in the preservation of the independence and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. No threat to your Kingdom could occur which would not be a matter of immediate concern to the United States.”

We do not cite this to imply that we have prejudged the Buraimi matter but only to show the pressure we are under.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780.022/12–2355. Secret. Drafted by Newsom and Wilkins and approved and signed by Dulles. Repeated to Jidda. On December 21, forwarding the draft telegram to Hoover and Dulles for approval, Allen noted that it was intended to “press the British gently” into taking some action on Buraimi. Although the British did not seem to be willing to resume arbitration, Allen noted, they might consider the prospect of direct talks with the Saudis a better alternative than “acrimonious Security Council consideration.” (Ibid., 780.022/12–2155)

    On December 22, in a note to the Secretary attached to Allen’s December 21 memorandum to Dulles, Gilman of the Executive Secretariat transmitted Hoover’s suggested modifications and additions to the proposed telegram to London. According to Gilman, Hoover recommended that the Department emphasize to the British that the United States was not committed to support the United Kingdom in the Security Council. Hoover further recommended that the United States make the British aware of President Truman’s letter to Ibn Saud of October 31, 1950. On December 23, in a note to Dulles, also attached to Allen’s December 21 memorandum, Allen noted that the British would no doubt point out that at the time the Truman letter was written, Saudi Arabia was not in control of Buraimi. Saudi troops had entered the area only in August 1952 and were ejected by the British in October 1955. Allen questioned whether the Truman letter would be useful in this regard. For text of the Truman letter, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. V, p. 1190.

  2. See Document 146.