106. Editorial Note

On August 20, while en route to have lunch with King Saud, Ambassador Wadsworth was met at the Riyadh airport by Saudi Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Yusuf Yasin, who proceeded to brief Wadsworth on Saud’s reaction to the Suez situation. Yasin emphasized that the King was gravely concerned, as only the Soviet Union had so far benefited from the crisis and would gain from its continuance. The King believed that the United States and Saudi Arabia could profitably exchange views and contribute toward a peaceful settlement of the crisis. According to Yasin, Saudi interests in speaking with the Americans were three-fold:

(1)
to lend all appropriate support to its sister Arab country, Egypt;
(2)
to protect Saudi interests by maintaining oil exports and food imports; and
(3)
to do all that was possible to counter the threat to peace in the area. (Telegram 69 from Dhahran, August 20; Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–2056)

Shortly thereafter Wadsworth met with King Saud and received direct confirmation that Saud would welcome Robert Anderson as President Eisenhower’s emissary. Wadsworth then suggested that, to ensure secrecy, arrangements could be made through Terry Duce, Vice President of Aramco, so that Anderson would appear as a distinguished American traveling as a guest of Aramco. Saud agreed to the arrangements. Also during the discussion, the King informed Wadsworth that Saud’s “aim and purpose [in approaching the Americans] was that our two friendly countries cooperate in contributing [Page 247]to a solution of the problem, the outcome of which none knows but God. We have wanted to find an effective solution, and we wanted our friend, the United States Government, to show a willingness on its part to reach an effective solution. This was my aim when proposing to send a special delegation to Washington with a special message for President Eisenhower.” (Memorandum of audience with His Majesty, King Saud; ibid., NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518, Report of Special Mission to Saudi Arabia August 20–27, 1956. The folder entitled “Report of Special Mission to Saudi Arabia” constitutes the most complete collection of documentation on the Anderson Mission to Saudi Arabia found in Department of State files. It includes a chronology, summary report, list of members of the official party, memoranda of conversation, telegrams sent by the official party, and other related documents.)

That same day, at 4 p.m., Anderson left New York by plane. On August 21, he was in London where he discussed the Suez situation with Dulles and reviewed petroleum problems with Howard Page, Director of Standard Oil of New Jersey. No accounts of these conversations have been found in Department of State files. On August 22, Anderson stopped in Rome and from there proceeded to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where he arrived early in the morning of August 23. (Telegram 48 to Dhahran, August 20; ibid., Central Files, 974.7301/8–2056; and Chronology of Special Mission to King Saud; ibid., Conference Files: Lot 59 D 518, Report of Special Mission to Saudi Arabia August 20–27, 1956)