261. Memorandum of a Conversation, Blair House, Washington, January 31, 1957, 10:30 a.m.1
- 1. U.S. Policy Aims in the Middle East
- 2. Arms for Saudi Arabia
- 3. Dhahran Airfield
- 4. Economic Projects for Saudi Arabia
- 5. Territorial Disputes—Buraimi
- 6. Territorial Disputes—Farsi and Arabi Islands
- 7. Israeli Occupation of Tiran and Sanafir Islands
- 8. Dangers of Communism and the “Imperialist” Powers
- 9. Baghdad Pact and Saudi Relations with Iraq
- 10. U.S. Relations with Egypt and Syria
- 11. Meeting of Arab Chiefs of State in Cairo
- 12. UN Resolutions on Israeli Troop Withdrawal and the Gaza Strip
- Saudi Arabia
- His Majesty King Saud
- Prince Musaad
- Prince Fahad (Minister of Defense)
- Yusuf Yassin (Acting Foreign Minister)
- Jamal Bey Al-Hussaini
- Khalid Bey Al-Walid
- Mohammad Surur
- United States
- Secretary Dulles
- Mr. Hoover
- Mr. Rountree
- Ambassador Wadsworth
- Ambassador Richards
- Mr. Stoltzfus
- Abdul Aziz Majid (S.S)
- Mohammad Massoud (U.S.)
1. U.S. Policy Aims in the Middle East
The Secretary asked His Majesty if he would like to discuss the memorandum that he left with the President at yesterday’s meeting.
His Majesty said “Yes with pleasure”.
The Secretary said that there had not been sufficient time to study this paper in full but in general it confirmed His Majesty’s views as expressed to the President yesterday. The Secretary gave the opinion that it formed a good foundation and structure upon which to build stronger relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. It was difficult to evaluate the dangers and perils that were ahead, but, given mutual confidence, there was every hope that the two [Page 432]sides would be substantially in agreement after an exchange of views.
The Secretary said that most important was the fact that the U.S. recognized the pre-eminent position of His Majesty in the Arab world and that the U.S. was prepared to base its policy on extending and protecting that position. The Secretary said it was also a fact that the U.S. has demonstrably stood for the independence of nations. The U.S. had many opportunities, especially during World Wars I and II to extend its domain in the world, but it had consistently rejected such temptations and instead had supported the independence of countries formerly under our jurisdiction, such as the Philippines and Puerto Rico. The U.S. also demonstrated recently its willingness to oppose two countries with which it had always had long and good relations because we could not support the action which they had taken. This was convincing evidence of our wish to maintain the independence of the Arab states. The Secretary said that he had been interested in an article he read in a London newspaper which said that Britain now conceded that one of the most important factors bringing about a cease fire in Egypt was the attitude of the U.S.
His Majesty said that he also recognized that fact.
The Secretary said that on the foundations of these two great cornerstones—(1) U.S. support of His Majesty as King of Saudi Arabia and as the custodian of the Holy places of Islam and (2) U.S. dedication to the freedom of nations—there lay the basis for a long enduring friendship between the two countries.
The Secretary continued by saying that the Saudi memorandum mentioned oil as the main resource of Saudi Arabia. The Secretary said that the U.S. gladly recognized the mutually advantageous arrangement that had developed between Saudi Arabia and the American oil companies for the development of oil resources. The U.S. hoped that this relationship would continue and increase to mutual advantage. The Secretary added that there was always the problem of maintaining adequate markets for this oil, and he believed that the American companies could be most helpful in this regard.
His Majesty said that on this occasion he wished to emphasize that the cooperation between his government and the American oil companies had always been good.
The Secretary commented that oil in the ground was not very valuable and that it must come out of the ground in order to be of benefit.[Page 433]
2. Arms for Saudi Arabia
The Secretary said that the memorandum next took up the subject of the Saudi Arabian army. He said that there had perhaps been undue delay in assisting His Majesty in this regard and that some deficiencies were evident. The Secretary said he recalled that when he had visited Saudi Arabia four years ago he had encountered the legitimate complaint that the Saudi army had received certain American vehicles the tires on which were unusable and the vehicles therefore could not be moved from the port. On his return to Washington he had reported the complaint to American Army authorities who had then arranged to fly out some tires, at considerable expense, to meet the needs of the Saudi Arabian army. The Secretary said he hoped that this action had covered the deficiency.
The Secretary said that the U.S. was now prepared to pursue actively the military talks that have been under way for some time, and suggested that discussions begin soon on this subject as raised in His Majesty’s memorandum. The Secretary asked His Majesty if he agreed to this.
His Majesty said he accepted the suggestion but wished to raise one question which was: Did the U.S. really intend to arm Saudi Arabia?
The Secretary replied in the affirmative but stated it was a matter of how much arms could be supplied.
His Majesty said that his Minister of Defense and his military mission were ready to discuss arms whenever the U.S. was prepared to do so and that he had included a list of the Saudi arms requirements in his memorandum of yesterday. Discussions could take place on the basis of those requirements.
His Majesty said he wished to emphasize that the subject of arms was a delicate and sensitive matter with him. Saudi Arabia had already started to construct an army and it now had the MAAG mission. However, Saudi Arabia would not have an effective army without arms. This point, His Majesty said, was embodied in his memorandum and therefore would not need repeating here, but the fact was that he was unable to wait any longer for arms. He had been waiting twelve years for arms because he had not wished to extend his hand to anyone but his friends. His Majesty said that frankness on both sides was essential if an effective policy was to be built and results obtained. His people were inquiring where the arms were to defend the country. His Majesty said that while he had emphasized this many times to the American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, it was something he wished to reiterate because he had such a feeling of sorrow on this score. When he was in Syria, for example, the Syrians had demonstrated their modern armaments to [Page 434]him. While he was far wealthier and thus should be able to do much more and have better arms, still it was the Syrians, not he, who had obtained all the arms, and this was painful to him. He said that all he had at present were four anti-aircraft guns. His Excellency the Secretary surely could imagine his feelings when he found out that Iran, Greece, Turkey and Iraq had been furnished arms from the U.S. His Majesty asked whether the Secretary did not agree that he deserved something more than he has received to date for his strong friendship for the U.S. His Majesty said that he was only explaining the pain he felt. His people have no confidence in the army, and, in the recent attack by Israel on Saudi Arabia, the army was unable to reply. His Majesty said the Secretary would understand the great pressure that he was under to get arms from elsewhere. It was surely well known that he had no intention of attacking anyone and only desired to defend his country and maintain the vital interests that were common to both his country and the U.S.
The Secretary replied by saying that the U.S. was sympathetic to the desire of His Majesty to have a better equipped and better trained military establishment but he asked His Majesty to appreciate the fact that every friendly nation, which wanted to maintain a defense force, was asking for armed aid from the U.S. The U.S. had to take somewhat into account the degree of danger in each place. The northern tier countries mentioned by His Majesty were very close to the greatest military force outside the U.S. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fortunately was not in the front line of this danger. This did not mean that there should not be a good and well-organized force in Saudi Arabia but only that Saudi Arabia was fortunate in not being in the front lines. The Secretary said he wished to say also that the receipt of Russian arms was not necessarily a guarantee of freedom and independence. He said he thought it certain that in the long run nations with friendly assurances from the U.S. would be happier and more prosperous than those who had taken arms from the USSR.
His Majesty said this was undoubtedly true but that Saudi Arabia wanted something with which to defend itself against its own dangers. Israel was on one boundary and Britain was threatening other boundaries, and Saudi Arabia was in constant danger.
The Secretary said that the U.S. understood that Saudi Arabia felt that these dangers existed, and that it was prepared to discuss an increased military program for Saudi Arabia. He wished to point out, however, that there are some forces more powerful than military forces that afford protection to a country’s boundaries. Egypt had received large military supplies but this had not protected it. Egypt’s real protection came from the fact that the U.S. took the leadership in opposing the aggression. Thus the force of the U.S. was more [Page 435]effective in aiding Egypt than the Russian arms that Egypt had. The Secretary reiterated that his argument was not intended to dispute in any way His Majesty’s contention that Saudi Arabia needed appropriate quantities of arms.
His Majesty said that Saudi Arabia’s only aim was that it be armed by the U.S.
The Secretary suggested that the respective experts and counselors work on this as fast as possible and he also suggested that His Majesty provide a list of those of the Saudi delegation who were to work on military matters. The U.S. for its part would provide a list of its experts in this field.
His Majesty agreed to provide a list as soon as possible.
The Secretary said that the military section of the memorandum would be examined with the Saudi Minister of Defense and his team in order to see to what extent His Majesty’s request could be met by the U.S.
3. Dhahran Airfield
The Secretary then turned to the Dhahran Airfield Agreement and noted that the Saudi Arabian Government had stated its willingness to extend the agreement if some of the other outstanding matters could be dealt with satisfactorily. He said it was perhaps not appropriate to discuss it fully now but one point he had in mind was that, quite apart from other matters, he believed that it was useful to Saudi Arabia to continue to have an airfield that had communications with, and methods of transit to, all parts of the world. He hoped that His Majesty agreed that the airfield was in itself a good thing. The Secretary said that the airfield was an example of the U.S. working in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. The airfield thus had important symbolic value and demonstrated to the world that it would be a mistake to attack Saudi Arabia, friend of the U.S.
His Majesty said he welcomed a renewal of the Dhahran Agreement if the other points he had mentioned in his memorandum could be met.
The Secretary said that he had noted this point in His Majesty’s memorandum.
4. Economic Projects for Saudi Arabia
The Secretary then turned to the economic projects that had been suggested in His Majesty’s memorandum and said that they seemed to be interesting, revenue-producing projects which should probably be discussed with the International Bank. The U.S. believed that some of these projects should be undertaken, and this task [Page 436]would be rendered easier if the technical assistance program could be renewed in Saudi Arabia.
His Majesty replied that in his memorandum he had explained the operation of Point 4 in Saudi Arabia and had pointed out how expensive this program had been to the Saudi Arabian Government.
The Secretary said the matter would be studied further since there had not been time up to now to consider it fully.
His Majesty said he welcomed further study of this subject and suggested that his Minister of Finance meet with the American financial experts. He added, however, that since dealing with the International Bank meant acquiring new loans, he did not feel this would be in the interest of Saudi Arabia, which already had heavy debts on it.
The Secretary said that it was the U.S. view that where a project is revenue-producing, the International Bank was a good source of assistance. Revenue-producing projects could not be considered a burden on the budget because the revenue from these projects could be used to repay the loan. The Secretary added in any event the experts from both sides should get together on this matter.
5. Territorial Dispute—Buraimi
The Secretary then turned to the second part of the memorandum entitled “Territorial Disputes”, the first item of which was the British action in Buraimi. He said he recalled that this subject was being actively discussed when he visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia four years ago, and he recalled discussing it fully with His Majesty when he was Crown Prince. The Secretary said that he had just re-read his notes of that conversation and saw that he had promised U.S. assistance to solve the problem. The results since had not been as good as he had hoped, but some positive accomplishments had been attained. The Secretary added that there were two possible ways the controversy might have gone: First, it might be confined to border incidents, the boundaries not being clearly marked.
His Majesty interjected to say that if there were no boundaries, there were certainly documents in existence to prove Saudi Arabia’s case.
The Secretary replied that this was perhaps true but that a second and more serious possibility would have been an attack on Saudi Arabia itself. Fortunately, the controversy had not developed along the latter lines and had been kept within the confines of limited boundary disputes. While the U.S. regretted that there had not been a full solution of the problem, it believed it had had an influence in minimizing the nature of the problem.[Page 437]
His Majesty said he did not understand how the controversy could be considered anything but aggression in view of the fact that Britain had taken over Buraimi, killed a number of his people, violated its agreement with Saudi Arabia and had withdrawn from the arbitration tribunal. His Majesty said if Britain would withdraw from proven Saudi Arabian territory, he was prepared to negotiate either a bilateral agreement demarcating the boundaries or re-submit the question to arbitration. His Majesty added that even within the boundary of the concession area given to Aramco, aggression had taken place by Britain from the East and by Iran in the Arab Gulf. He said he attached great importance to friendly U.S. support for the just position of Saudi Arabia.
The Secretary said he was not attempting to defend the British position or to say that aggression had not taken place but only that he believed the situation would have been much worse had the U.S. not entered the scene. The U.S. had not ceased to urge its British friends to settle this matter. The Secretary said that when Prime Minister Eden was here two years ago, Buraimi had been one of the main topics of conversation and the U.S. had been prepared then, as it was now, to continue to seek a fair solution, and he hoped some progress could be made on the basis of the conversations now taking place during this visit.
His Majesty said that this is what he wanted also.
6. Territorial Disputes—Farsi and Arabi Islands
The Secretary said he noted also the point about Farsi and Arabi which had been taken over by Iran. This, to the U.S., was a new topic.
His Majesty replied that he had informed the American Ambassador two months ago about the Iranian aggression.
The Secretary said that he had asked the geographic and historical division of the Department to prepare a study of the Islands and the various claims to them. This report was not yet in hand but he wished again to assure His Majesty that the U.S. would continue to use its good offices to obtain an amicable solution. The U.S. had not to date come to an independent decision on the merits of the various claims to these Islands and he asked His Majesty whether his counselors had any documents or evidence that would be useful in the present American study of these Islands.
His Majesty said that such evidence was available and in the hands of his counselors and he would be happy to deliver them to the Secretary.
The Secretary said he wished to observe that the value of these Islands may be significant due to the possibility that they were in an [Page 438]area of oil deposits. He said he believed it possible that these Islands, which were merely little areas of sand appearing above the level of the water, would not be too valuable in themselves and that perhaps an agreement between the countries concerning the respective rights of interested countries to subsurface resources throughout the Gulf would reduce the problem. The Secretary said the U.S. was in the throes of a similar dispute between the Federal Government and the individual states as to who owned the oil under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He said the U.S. had not yet solved its own problem and therefore it was perhaps presumptuous of it to try to solve someone else’s similar problem so far away.
His Majesty said that the map of the “Arab Gulf” was well known and that for hundreds of years Iran had never laid claim to these Islands. Then suddenly and without warning Iran used its armed forces for an attack on the Saudi Arabian police guards who had been stationed on these Islands. Furthermore these forces were equipped with American arms which they had received after having promised not to use them for aggressive purposes.
The Secretary said he wished to restate his main point which was that the value of the Islands did not derive from the land area itself but rather from their location in a possible oil field. If the bigger problem of oil in the Gulf could be solved between the interested countries, the solution of the problem of the Islands would be easier.
7. Israeli Occupation of Tiran and Sanafir Islands
The Secretary then turned to the subject of Tiran and Sanafir Islands and stated it was the U.S. position that the Israeli forces ought to be withdrawn from the area and that the UN should see to it that no further aggression takes place between Israel and Egypt. The matter was now being actively discussed in the UN and it was to be hoped that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia could take similar positions.
8. Dangers of Communism and the “Imperialist” Powers
The Secretary said that the Saudi memorandum then dealt with Communism and the dangers of Communism and also the danger from the so-called imperialist powers. He said the U.S. was strongly convinced that the danger from Communism was much greater than that from the others. The U.S. deplored the recent action of its friends, but, as events have proved, as long as the U.S. was opposed to this action it would not be pursued. On the other hand the U.S. had found no way to help countries like Hungary which had fallen under Communism. The Secretary added that he hoped there would [Page 439]be further opportunity to discuss the dangers to the Middle East area from international Communism or from any source.
His Majesty said he shared the Secretary’s view but he wished to add that dangers to the area would not be overcome until the Arab peoples as well as the governments came to understand and have confidence in the U.S. and its policies in the area.
The Secretary said he agreed and he would be glad to discuss this point further. The U.S. knew that His Majesty was against Communism and that he could help the U.S. in this regard.
His Majesty said he was always ready to help.
The Secretary said that there was no desire on the part of the U.S. to substitute its judgment for the judgment of Arab leaders on how to combat Communism in their countries. When the U.S. found a strong leader like His Majesty it wanted to enlist his aid.
His Majesty said that, as he had already indicated to President Eisenhower, he was ready to cooperate but he needed something concrete in order to be of real strength and help to the U.S.
The Secretary remarked that with His Majesty’s permission he wished to use the presence of His Majesty and his Counselors in the U.S. to obtain all the help and guidance possible now, and later to use the Richards’ Mission to round out a study of the methods to effectively combat the dangers in the area.
His Majesty expressed his agreement with the Secretary.
9. Baghdad Pad and Saudi Relations with Iraq
The Secretary said that the memorandum went on to mention the Baghdad Pact. The U.S. was aware that His Majesty did not think highly of the Pact. The Secretary added that he could say that it was primarily in deference to His Majesty’s views that the U.S. had not joined the Pact. The U.S. would continue to support certain aspects and aims of the Pact and it hoped that the activities of Baghdad Pact members would become such that the Pact would not seem unfriendly to Saudi Arabia. If that should happen, the U.S. might take a different attitude toward the Pact.
While the U.S. highly respected His Majesty’s views regarding the Pact, the U.S. hoped very much that there would be improved relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and, in fact, the U.S. had the impression that relations were already better. It would be happy if this were to continue.
His Majesty replied that his position was the same as it had been before. It was his view that there was harm in the Pact. Especially unfortunate was the fact that one member of the Pact had attacked the Arabs, and the impression has been gained that since one member had aggressed, and no other member had condemned its [Page 440]action, it must be that all Baghdad Pact members were against the Arabs. The fact that the U.S. had not joined the Pact had given the U.S. a good position with the Arabs. But how could one expect the Arabs to work with Turkey which itself worked with Israel and had economic relations with it? This was His Majesty’s frank and, he believed, realistic view.
His Majesty continued by saying Pakistan had its own justification for being a member of the Pact. It was threatened by India and needed friends. It was also threatened by the USSR and this applied also to Iran and Turkey. But Iraq was a truly Arab state, and the singular position it was taking had caused a rift in the Arab front. His Majesty posed the question that if the people of Iraq themselves were against the Pact, as they were known to be, how could Iraq be an effective member? If anyone attacked Iraq, how could Iraq send an army against it since the people themselves would rise against their own government. He also said he believed that the way in which Iraq joined the Pact was not wise. If, before joining the Pact, Iraq had consulted with the other Arab states, some understanding might have been worked out.
His Majesty said that this was his position on Iraq as a Baghdad Pact member but, regarding relations with Iraq as an Arab state, he was ready to cooperate with it. After all Iraq had an Arab King, was an Arab state, and the people were Arab, and Saudi Arabia was always ready to help the Arabs. His Majesty said that he had expressed this same thought to King Faisal and had told him that he was ready to be a friend of Iraq: First, because both his country and Iraq were against Communism, and second, because they had common interests, some of which were outside purely Arab aims. So he was ready to cooperate with Iraq as an Arab state and in the interest of Arab nationalism.
His Majesty said he wished to say a further word about the Islamic countries. Turkey, for example, insisted it was a lay country, not an Islamic one. While it was known that when the U.S. said it opposed Communism it was sincere, others use the same excuse for nefarious ends.
The Secretary said that he considered this an important statement by His Majesty and that he was particularly happy about the statement that His Majesty would cooperate with Iraq as an Arab state. The U.S. believed that the Baghdad Pact was an effective instrument in opposing Communism, but it would regret any Baghdad Pact members interfering in the political affairs of the Arab states, as had been claimed.
His Majesty said this was true. Furthermore, he wished to assure the Secretary that Saudi Arabia was also ready to cooperate with Iran and Pakistan as Islamic states.[Page 441]
10. U.S. Relations with Egypt and Syria
The Secretary continued by saying that the Saudi memorandum dealt next with relations between the U.S. and Egypt and Syria. He said that the U.S. believed that one reason why Egypt has fallen on evil ways is because the President of Egypt sought to play the U.S. and Russia against each other. Nasser would say to the U.S. that if it did not do something for Egypt he would have to go to the USSR, and the U.S. did not consider that friendship. The attitude of Egypt contrasted sharply with that of His Majesty who, no doubt, had had many tempting offers from Russia but he had not taken them.
The Secretary expressed the opinion that Egypt in trying to be too smart would lose its friends. The U.S. desired to have the friendship of the government and people of Egypt and had proved this in the past in various ways. But when Egypt lashed out against the U.S., the U.S. did not consider that friendly relations could be maintained as before. This did not mean, however, that the U.S. did not want to be entirely correct in its relations with Egypt. This desire of the U.S. to be correct was proved when it came to the assistance of Egypt when it was attacked. It was one thing to be correct and quite another to be friendly, and unfortunately in present U.S.-Egyptian relations there was very little of the latter.
The Secretary said that the U.S. was ready to forget the past and make a fresh start if Egypt so desired. There was still a great deal of abuse of the U.S. being heard over the Egyptian radio, and the U.S. felt that it was up to Egypt to take the next step. For example, Egypt could give assurances regarding the Suez Canal. Egypt should also stop treating the U.S. as a country to be reviled.
His Majesty said he was sorry about what had taken place but he now asked the U.S. Government what it specifically wanted from Egypt.
The Secretary replied that there were a few specific things that could be mentioned. One thing was the conclusion or settlement of the Suez Canal dispute, based on the resolutions of the Security Council. The Secretary said that there was reason to believe that Egypt might agree to that.
The Secretary said that furthermore, the U.S. did not think it was compatible with the Armistice Agreement of 1949 that raids were continuing to take place between Egypt and Israel. The U.S. was not pressing for a signed peace at this time but it felt that attacks from both sides should cease.
His Majesty inquired whether the Secretary had read the pas- sage in the memorandum about the Egyptian commandos where it was mentioned that Egypt did not deny that raids had taken place.[Page 442]
The Secretary remarked that there was evidence that these raids were in fact officially sanctioned.
His Majesty replied that it was true that before the attack on Gaza by Israel there was official Egyptian knowledge of these raids.
The Secretary said that there might be other things that Egypt could do to improve its relations with the U.S. but that he did not think that any catalogue of things to do would in itself produce that intangible spirit called friendship, such as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia enjoyed.
His Majesty replied that specific action, while not necessarily producing complete friendship, would certainly be of help in improving relations.
The Secretary said there was great confidence on the part of the U.S. in His Majesty but that it would be very difficult to describe all the reasons for this confidence, since confidence and friendship were intangible concepts based on more than mere material facts. In any event, the Secretary said, he would try to set forth to His Majesty views of the U.S. on some of the ways in which it believes American-Egyptian relations could be improved.
His Majesty said that, frankly, Nasser was willing to improve relations with the U.S. but he needed some time.
The Secretary continued by saying that in Syria Communist influence was apparently very strong. In Egypt, nationalism, which the U.S. does not oppose, was the guiding principle in the action taken, and we were displeased only that Egypt had used this nationalism in the wrong way. But in Syria, the U.S. felt there was definite Communist influence and that this influence was particularly dangerous to institutions which were tending to bring stability to the area. And it was dangerous also to Saudi Arabia.
His Majesty said that in the present circumstances in Syria the good had been mixed with the bad. Both nationalist principles and Communist principles were involved. It had to be admitted that the Communists had never failed to try to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Arab nationalism. The extremists had also taken this line. But the U.S. should not believe that the Syrian creed was a Communist one. Syrian nationalism was an extremist form of nationalism, and one should never forget the difference between nationalism and Communism.
His Majesty went on to say that there was no doubt that the supplying by Russia of arms to Syria had produced a favorable feeling on the part of the Syrian people toward Russia. Syria might also wrongly have thought that they could play the big powers against each other. However, as Syrian leaders had assured the American Ambassador in Riyadh recently, Syria is not Communist. His Majesty added that there might also be some distortion in the [Page 443]information coming from Syria. In any case, just as with Egypt, it would be good to find ways in which Syria could act to improve its relations with the U.S.
His Majesty said one could not blame a whole country because of the evil doings of a few. God willing, and with good will, the summer clouds would be dispersed. His Majesty had told the Syrians that he was against Communism and against all verbal attacks of one country on another and that he was against all forms of extremism. His Majesty said that he felt strongly that with mutual good will among the nations the problems could be solved amicably.
11. Meeting of Arab Chiefs of State in Cairo
The Secretary noted in conclusion that the memorandum signed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Egypt would be studied by the American Government and would be answered by a memorandum.
12. UN Resolutions on Israeli Troop Withdrawal and the Gaza Strip
His Majesty said that he wished to mention one final matter of great urgency. He had heard that a resolution was to be submitted to the UN regarding the Gaza strip. He wished strongly to advise the American Government that discussion of the future disposition of Gaza, before the settlement of the question of the withdrawal of Israeli troops, would serve no good purpose. It would raise a tumult in the Arab world. His Majesty therefore felt that the question of the disposition of Gaza should be discussed only after the withdrawal of all aggressor Israeli forces.
The Secretary said that the United States understood that there should be complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli forces as a first step, but it would be the task of United Nations to protect and take care of 200,000 refugees in Gaza. The UN Secretary General was in touch with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and there was reason to believe that Egypt would be acquiescent on what was done by the UN.
His Majesty said he wished to re-emphasize that the raising of the question of the disposition of Gaza before the withdrawal of Israeli troops would create a very bad reaction in the Arab countries.
The Secretary replied that the problem was that if there were no discussions on Gaza before the withdrawal of Israeli troops, there would be no program for Gaza and there would be chaos in the interim between Israeli withdrawal and the time the UN could assume jurisdiction. The two UN resolutions, the one on Israeli withdrawal and the other on disposition of Gaza, were separate and should be dovetailed.[Page 444]
His Majesty asked whether Israel had also been ordered to withdraw from Tiran and Sanafir.
The Secretary assured His Majesty that it had.
- Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 833. Confidential. Drafted by Stoltzfus who was assigned to serve as an interpreter during the King’s visit.↩