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

326. For Ambassador. Following guidance for your August 29 audience with King:


Syria. FYI We find very disappointing indications you have received of King’s attitude toward developments in Syria. … In interests Saudi Arabia and in those of all NE states we are anxious that King use his political and moral authority to rally opposition in area to present Syrian regime and to facilitate generating of pressures designed to isolate Syria and to work toward an improvement of situation in that country. End FYI.

You should tell King that in our view as result accepting economic, financial and military dependence upon USSR and vast arms shipments from it, there has gradually taken place in Syria elimination of true patriots and concentration of power in hands those who accept guidance from Moscow. Time approaching, if indeed it not already arrived, when Syria will cease be effectively an independent nation but will have been taken over as was Czechoslovakia in 1948 and made into Soviet satellite having independence only in name and not in substance. We also convinced that once present group now in control Damascus has consolidated its position in Syria it will reach out in efforts subvert surrounding countries, thus propagating Communist virus and paving way for control by elements subservient to Moscow.

As President has already conveyed to King, it is our hope that King as Guardian Holy Places and bearer special responsibility in Moslem world will direct his political and moral influence against this alien influence which small group now in control in Damascus introducing into ME. We believe that such action imperative in interest security of Saudi Arabia and ME. Warning regarding Communism which King authorized Jamal al-Hussaini convey to Imam of Yemen shows King’s understanding insidious nature Communism.

We have noted King’s view that USSR is disinterested giant which can only colonize Arabs as Turkey did or dominate them as did West, and that if this happens result will be temporary blackout for Arabs, while if Israeli aggression not checked Arabs will be eradicated. Our wide experience with International Communism convinces us that USSR is working everywhere to extend control of [Page 501] Communism. Should Communism take over in ME, nations there would find primary objective of this creed is to stamp out distinctive values held dear by Arabs, and it would be impossible for ME to free itself from this control without outside assistance. There would be no question of domination—it would be complete and cruel subjugation. Best way to avoid this is to take measures in advance to prevent spread of Communism.

We are aware there is strong feeling among Arab leaders that Israel represents danger to them exceeding that of Communism. We do not share this view but we do not wish debate it. We strongly opposed to aggression by Israel against any ME state, as was proved at time of Sinai invasion when the US took lead in getting Israeli troops out of Egypt and Gaza when all other efforts had failed. We went to extent of indicating willingness impose sanctions against Israel if these forces not withdrawn. This was done in face of very strong US domestic political opposition. Through Tripartite Declaration and Joint Congressional Resolution on ME we have indicated our deep interest in preservation security and independence all states in area and our willingness take steps to support integrity these nations. King and other Arab leaders should have no doubt that if Israel should embark upon a program of military expansion and conquest in Arab world, US would take strong action to prevent. Preventing Israel from carrying out conquest would present far less difficulties than preventing assumption Communist control of ME should one or more state in area become captives of Communism. Make special point emphasize King that US has never been important supplier arms to Israel and since Sinai has permitted no arms whatsoever go forward Israel but has assisted Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon acquire arms.


Arms. You should reiterate in most effective manner possible that there is no intentional delay in connection with supply of arms which Saudi Arabia acquiring in US. You may inform King that President has issued special directive that program of deliveries to Saudi Arabia be completed in shortest possible time. You should mention that USG does not have sole responsibility for completion delivery schedule since under procedure of letters of offer items are made available at US Supply Depots. It is responsibility of Saudi representatives to arrange for shipping from these depots, some of which are located interior US.

FYI We concerned that unfavorable impression apparently received by King regarding arms deliveries may arise from fact full information concerning progress may not have been made available to him by his own people. End FYI. You should give King following information: [Page 502]

The 18 M47 tanks are loaded aboard vessel Hellenic Sailor, expected arrive Jidda 15 September, where 5 tanks will be offloaded and Dammam 23 September, where balance will be offloaded.
We expect the 18 M41 tanks will be available in September or not later than mid-October.
The 32 40-mm guns will be available in October or perhaps sooner.
Small arms in which the Saudi Ambassador has expressed particular interest will be available in September.
We expect bulk of equipment ordered by Saudis will be made available to Saudi officials in the US before December, and possibly sooner.


Relations with UK. You should inform King that it our view in interest facilitating progress toward resolution UK-Saudi differences reestablishment relations between UK and Saudi Arabia, without prior conditions, would be desirable. Add that USG prepared to use its good offices to bring this about should King desire proceed on above basis.

FYI UK has told us that although it was Saudis who broke off relations and although would be proper for them make first overture for their renewal, British would now agree, if Saud is willing, to resume relations without prior conditions. UK emphasized that these steps should be presented so as to avoid any definition of where initiative came from. If it could be said that an intermediary, having first ascertained that both governments were prepared resume diplomatic relations, had obtained agreement of both to reopening their embassies on certain date, UK would undertake not be drawn into further comment on this statement provided Saudis on their part maintained equal silence. UK asked that US use its good offices to this end. End FYI.

Yemen. Later message will contain guidance for meeting with Imam of Yemen. If Saud raises Yemen we believe you should offer general comments and receive comments of King… .

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783.00/8–2757. Top Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Rockwell and approved by Dulles. Repeated to London.