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

1281. Embtels eyes only 888,1 889,2 891.3 You may inform Tubaishi and King if he should inquire Department considers decision on continuance diplomatic relations with UAR one for King to make in light circumstances as he sees them. For our part, we have considered maintaining [Page 718] relations UAR under present circumstances was wisest course, although we too have fundamental reservations concerning future course UAR policies.

In your discretion, you may add while we appreciate King’s desire maintain firm defense his independence in face propaganda attacks by UAR, we wonder whether dramatic gesture such as break in relations at this time might not feed propaganda fires without appreciably strengthening King’s hand. On the other hand, as indicated Deptel eyes only 12454 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. King might therefore in our view appropriately consider withdrawing his Ambassador Cairo for consultation.

(FYI—We do not at this time wish suggest further measures outlined Embtel eyes only 891 to King. Should King raise question pipeline or Suez guarantees you should indicate that while this raises difficult legal problems for US and US unable make any commitments on basis hypothetical situation, US could of course be prepared take appropriate action designed fulfill previous commitments to King and to protect US interests. End FYI)

Re Embtel eyes only 889 while we have recently obtained copies photostats of checks we do not have any copies other alleged documentary evidence re plot. We appreciate learning of King’s interest in general intelligence this situation and hope to be able provide further report in near future.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/3–1358. Top Secret; Niact; Eyes Only Ambassador. Drafted by Newsom and approved by Rountree.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 309.
  3. Telegram 889, March 13, reported that Tubaishi had asked Heath if the United States had any information on Nasser’s claims of additional “documentary evidence”—other than cancelled checks and tape recordings that Nasser had already produced—on the [text not declassified] plot. (Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/3–1358)
  4. In telegram 891, March 14, Heath reported that he hoped to see the King in the next few days and, if asked, he would suggest that rather than severing diplomatic relations with the UAR, Saudi Arabia should recall its Ambassador from Cairo. If Egypt continued to incite the Saudi people to disaffection, then Heath would suggest that Saud should declare the UAR diplomatic staff in Saudi Arabia “non grata” while retaining Saudi consular officials in Egypt and Syria. Heath expected Saud to limit Saudi trade with and travel to the UAR. Heath also planned to suggest to Saud that he and other moderate Arabs attempt to contest Nasser for the loyalty of Arab youth. In the unlikely event that Nasser closed the Suez Canal or that portion of the pipeline in Syria to transportation Of Saudi oil, Heath recommended pledging U.S. support for restoration of legitimate Saudi commerce and transit rights. (Ibid.)
  5. Document 309.