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

1396. Embtels Eyes Only 926, 927, 976.1FYI—As indicated our Eyes Only 13482 we had not anticipated that we would make full reply King’s comments Eyes Only Embtels 926, 927 at this time. We had in mind not only situation created by March 22 decree but also fact we have little of [Page 725] substance to pass King at present. In event you believe we are obligated speak further to King these matters and you consider following helpful, you may convey to King. End FYI

Secretary most appreciative privilege King accorded us in form recent private audiences Ambassador and Stoltzfus. Substance King’s comments these audiences closely studied by top levels USG. We also pleased King had consented receive special mission from Ambassador with messages particular importance and sensitivity.

Re Syria: We continue believe course of events in Syria matter primarily for Arabs to determine in accordance desires of Syrian people. Arab states seeking maintain their independence against international communism can increase their ability do so by close cooperation among themselves. US has provided assistance to strengthen independence certain Arab states, and is continuing do so.

Re Jordan: In interests assisting Arab cooperation for defense independence Arab World we have informed Iraq and Jordan of our willingness continue our assistance to Jordan. We believe new Arab Union constitution is constructive step. In this connection, while we appreciate SAG financial situation, we hope any moves made in withdrawing from commitments to Jordan might take place in such manner that withdrawal gradual and thus less subject exploitation by detractors of Union. Naturally we would prefer see SAG continue contribute financial support Jordan.

Re Aqaba: On this and on Buraimi issue, Department in close touch with King’s representatives in the United States. We hope forthcoming talks between UK and Saudi representatives may reveal means for making progress re Buraimi.

Re Yemen: As in Syrian case, we believe solution must be Arab solution. We will pass on to King any significant information which we may obtain re developments in Yemen.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/3–2158. Top Secret; Eyes Only Ambassador. Drafted by Newsom and approved by Rountree.
  2. In these telegrams, dated March 21 and 27, the Embassy reported on private talks between King Saud and Heath on March 19 and Stoltzfus on March 25. In the first conversation Saud stated that Syria represented the greatest danger in the Middle East [text not declassified]. Saud and Heath also discussed events in Yemen, the Arab Federation, and the requirement of not appeasing Nasser. In the second conversation, Stoltzfus, who acted as Heath’s intermediary, asked Saud specific questions about his delegation of powers to Faisal, whether this would change the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States, the Arab Union (Iraq and Jordan), and Nasser, and whether the King perceived an internal threat to the kingdom. Saud replied that he still retained final authority, Saudi foreign policy would remain unchanged, and there was no serious internal threat to his rule. The King agreed to keep open the private channel through Stoltzfus. (Ibid., 786A.11/3–2158 and 786A.11/3–2758)
  3. In telegram 1348, March 25, the Department approved the Stoltzfus visits to Riyadh, found the private audiences with the King interesting, but suggested awaiting further clarification of the internal situation before getting in touch with him again. (Ibid., 611.86A/3–2558)
  4. On April 7, Stoltzfus received a message from Saud to Dulles that “served notice” to the United States that if something was not done in Syria and Yemen, Saud could not be responsible for the consequences. If the Syrian and Yemeni regimes continued under Nasser’s influence, Saud feared that Saudi Arabia would have to “go along” with the federation of Egypt, Syria and Yemen (United Arab States). Saud expressed disappointment with the substance of telegram 1396, which he saw as procrastination rather than action. (Ibid., 786A.00/4–858)

    Telegram 1453 to Jidda, April 10, drafted by Newsom and Rockwell, cleared by Rountree, and approved by Dulles, transmitted the following message to be conveyed to Saud: “While we continue believe possibilities of constructive action surrounded by great difficulties, in view of His Majesty’s request, USG is reconsidering matter. In meantime, we believe every effort should be made to strengthen Kingdom internally and we are prepared discuss with His Majesty or other appropriate authorities various means by which USG might assist to this end.” (Ibid., 786A.11/4–1058)