309. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia0

1245. Department desires you urgently convey orally preferably to King if not to Tubaishi following comments:

USG has followed closely recent events in area and is deeply disturbed at attacks by UAR against His Majesty. USG, recognizing important role of HM throughout Moslem world and reiterating its support independence Saudi Arabia, is confident His Majesty will continue meet such attacks with courage and fortitude.

US, as King knows, has preserved correct attitude toward UAR. We have consistently stipulated to Nasser, however, that our attitude would in part be governed by degree to which Nasser might seek undermine other states in area. Nasser it would now appear has decided to extend his attacks on other independent Arab states to SA. Both radio attacks and reports of withdrawal Egyptian advisers bear this out.

During this period we believe it important King stand firm. If UAR turns out not be in best interests Arabs and, particularly Syrians, naturally divisive forces may well work restore independence Syria. Firm attitude on part King and other like-minded states in area will thwart attempts to subvert independence these states during critical days ahead. Demonstration of weakness in face these insulting attacks or efforts to appease Nasser thru personal contacts or otherwise would be widely interpreted as capitulation to him. Such capitulation in any form could mean ultimate end independence peoples and dynasties in area.

In this same spirit we have firmly encouraged Iraq-Jordan Federation and are now hoping present constitutional consultations will result in genuine unity these states. We would, of course, welcome King’s full support this Federation and Federation, itself, has not been unmindful possibility King might ultimately affiliate. We do not wish urge King contemplate any action which he would consider contrary his traditional policies or best interests his country, but we inclined believe time may have come when strong close association like-minded states of area may be best method preserving their identities and true independence.1

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FYI. Department has grave apprehensions concerning possible results to Saud and in area of failure [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] coup in Syria.2 We fear desperation which may have led to attempt instigate coup as planned may lead other rash measures which would pose additional danger Saud’s continued reign. Not unlikely Saud [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] might seek meeting with Nasser. We believe every effort should be made strengthen Saud’s resolution against any inclination capitulate to Nasser at this point. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/3–1058. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution; Eyes Only Ambassador. Drafted by Dorman and Newsom, cleared in substance with Acting Secretary Herter, and approved by Rountree.
  2. According to telegram 888 from Jidda, March 13, Heath communicated the above points to Tubaishi that day. Tubaishi had not discussed the issue with King Saud, but he informed Heath that he favored breaking diplomatic relations with Egypt. Before he recommended this to the King, Tubaishi asked for Washington’s advice. (Ibid., 786A.11/3–1358)
  3. In a subsequent message to Jidda, telegram 1270, March 13, the Department of State informed Heath of the concern in Washington [text not declassified] over Saud’s position. (Ibid.)