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When communicating with the Saudi Arabian Government the Minister may make available a copy of the enclosed letter from Mr. Twitchell.3


The Secretary of the Interior (Ickes) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, May 21, 1941. Sir: Mr. K. S. Twitchell, acting informally on behalf of the King of Saudi Arabia, has recently studied various operations upon Indian reservations and reclamation projects in our Southwestern States, and has made note of various agricultural and engineering techniques which have been developed by the bureaus of this Department, and which he believes to be very applicable to the needs of Arabia. The particular questions which he was asked by the King of Arabia to inquire into seem, in fact, to call for the presence of technical men upon the ground in Arabia. It occurs to me that it might be helpful, even important, especially at the present time, if the United States should send an Agricultural Mission to Arabia. Commissioner Page, of the Bureau of Reclamation, and Commissioner Collier, of the Office of Indian Affairs, would, if you consider that such an undertaking would be helpful, be glad to discuss the subject with your staff.39 Very truly yours,

HAROLD L. ICKES 890F.61A/4 Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

[WASHINGTON,] June 20, 1941. Participants: Mr. Nevile Butler, Minister-Counselor of British

Mr. Murray

Mr. Alling Mr. Butler stated that about two weeks ago Mr. K. S. Twitchell had called on him and had outlined his plan, which he had presented to the Department, to send agricultural and reclamation advisers to King Ibn Saud. Mr. Butler said that he had sent an account of Mr. Twitchell's conversation by telegraph to London and that he was now in receipt of a reply.

The Foreign Office stated in this reply that it had referred the matter to the British Minister at Jedda, who was distinctly in favor of the proposal. The British Government added that it also would welcome the sending of such a mission to King Ibn Saud and proposed that it be headed by Mr. Twitchell and that he be assisted by competent experts.

* Supra. Reply of the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs, dated November 15, 1940, not printed.

** In his reply of May 29, the Secretary of State said that the Department of State would avail itself of the offer to pursue the discussions on the subject with officers of the Department of the Interior.

The instruction from London went on to say that although the British Government favored this agricultural mission, it was obvious that it would bring benefits to King Ibn Saud only over a long term. Meanwhile the King was in desperate need of financial assistance. The instruction added that the payment to Ibn Saud by the British Government had been increased recently, and it was expected that another substantial payment to him would be made in the near future. The British Government expressed the hope, however, that this Government would find it possible also to extend financial assistance to Ibn Saud and in that way to support his régime.40

It was indicated to Mr. Butler that word had come to us that some means was being sought to carry out the plan proposed by the California Arabian Standard Oil Company for the purchase of oil by the United States Government, the money used in payment to go to the King. It was indicated that this matter was now in the hands of Mr. Jesse Jones, 41 who, it was understood, was trying to find some means of carrying it into effect. Mr. Butler indicated his appreciation of the efforts which were being made to find some solution for this problem. 123K632/400 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Kirk)


WASHINGTON, June 20, 1941—8 p. m.

231. .

The suggestion has been made that as a gesture of good will of eventual benefit to Saudi Arabia which would be distinctly appreciated by Ibn Saud, we might, at his request, place a small group of Government experts on agriculture, irrigation and roads at Ibn Saud's disposal for so long as would be necessary to investigate possibilities along the lines of their specialties and to make recommendations to the Saudi Arabian Government. During the period of this mission's work, its head might be designated as Agricultural Attaché to your Legation. Such a project would constitute a gesture without the establishment of an office in Jeddah which political considerations might make it difficult to withdraw if the reasons for its establishment should cease to be of importance. Should you think well ** For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 624 ff. " Federal Loan Administrator.

of this suggestion, the Department will investigate its feasibility from the legal and financial viewpoints so that you may be in a position to discuss the matter with the King in a concrete manner.


890F.154A/2: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, June 27, 1941–5 p. m.

[Received July 1–12:30 a. m.] 837. Department's mail instruction 510, November 15, 1940. The Legation is in receipt of a note, dated April 10, from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveying King Ibn Saud's appreciation of the offer of the American Government to cooperate in obtaining the services of American road engineers but stating that the Saudi Arabian Government deems it advisable to hold the matter in abeyance for the duration of the present international crisis.


890F.51/25 : Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, July 3, 1941–10 p. m.

[Received July 6–8:20 a. m.] 878. Department's 231, June 20, 8 p. m. I thoroughly endorse the suggestion that some practical gesture of good will towards Saudi Arabia be made by our Government but in view of the King's apparent reluctance to use the services of American road engineers as stated in my telegram 837, June 27, 5 p. m., I have no assurance that he would appreciate an offer to place Government agricultural experts at his disposal. Furthermore even if such experts should be found acceptable I doubt whether their purposes could be fully accomplished without assistance of a Foreign Service Officer established near Saudi Arabian Government at Jedda and I therefore revert to my previous recommendation that a consular officer be sent there even before I may have an opportunity to present my letters. In this connection I personally do not foresee the difficulties envisaged by the Department in an eventual withdrawal of such an officer in view of fact that Jedda is not a place where foreign officials can be expected to remain for a long time without leave of absence and in the case of an American consular officer such leave might at any time be availed of and protracted to such a length that to all intents and purposes the office might be regarded as having closed itself. The real difficulty as I see it is in the choice of a suitable officer for he should

a have a knowledge of this part of the world as well as of Arabic, should possess sound judgment and must have no family ties.

I wish to add that I consider that the best manner in which good will might be shown to Saudi Arabia would be a favorable reply to the request contained in my 825, June 26, 4 p. m., 42 and to this might well be joined an offer of the services of a financial adviser. I repeat however that in the event that the presence of a consular officer in Jedda would seem essential as a condition precedent.


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890F.00/66 Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Gordon P. Merriam of the

Division of Near Eastern Affairs

[WASHINGTON,] September 18, 1941. Participants: Mr. K. S. Twitchell, Consultant, American Smelting

and Refining Company Mr. Alling

Mr. Merriam Mr. Twitchell called to discuss the Department's letter to him of September 11, 1941.43 He expressed his disappointment that it had been decided not to grant financial aid to the Saudi Arabian Government and his opinion that it would have been wise to have done so. He intimated that he hoped it was yet possible to take favorable action. It was explained to him, however, that the decision had been taken by the President, and that full opportunity had been given to all those interested to express their views. As matters stood, there appeared to be nothing more that could be done as to that particular matter.

Mr. Twitchell conceded that this was the case, and then reverted to his proposal that a mission of experts be sent to Saudi Arabia. He was told that it would be difficult for us to press this matter actively in view of the President's decision and the view of the Legation at Cairo that there seemed to be no use in pursuing it because Ibn Saud would probably not be interested. It was explained that we could not lead Ibn Saud to have any definite hopes or expectations regarding the project, because in the end an adverse decision might be taken similar to that reached on the question of financial assistance. Moreover, the Legation's view had to be taken into account.

42 See footnote 23a, p. 638. * Not printed.

It was suggested to Mr. Twitchell that he again call at the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to ascertain whether some of their experts could still be made available for such a mission. If so, we would telegraph to the Legation at Cairo a suggestion that when the Minister made his visit to Saudi Arabia he ascertain whether the Saudi Arabian Government would welcome a mission provided we should find it possible to send one. If so, and particularly if the Minister should recommend that one be sent, we would have a good basis on which to go to work.

Mr. Twitchell gave it as his opinion that the mission would be most welcome to Ibn Saud, and that it would be a fine and much appreciated gesture if one could be offered to him forthwith. He emphasized the great difference between merely offering to help find engineers, all of whose expenses would have to be met by the King, and an offer of Government experts whose services would be a free gift, except to a minor extent.

890F.00/67 Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Gordon P. Merriam of the

Division of Near Eastern Affairs

[WASHINGTON,] September 19, 1941. Mr. Twitchell said that yesterday he had talked with Mr. John Collier, Commissioner of the Office of. Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, with Mr. Donald F. Christy, Assistant Director of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, Department of Agriculture, and with Mr. M. A. McCall, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture, regarding the proposed mission to Saudi Arabia of United States Government experts on water resources, agriculture, and roads.

According to Mr. Twitchell, all of these gentlemen considered it improbable that any of the regular Departments of the Government have ordinary appropriations which could be used to finance such a mission. On the other hand, they stated that appropriations were available to the President under the title of "Emergency Funds for the President” which, under the circumstances, it would be proper to allocate for the mission to Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Twitchell was informed that an appropriate procedure would be for the Secretary of State to address a memorandum to the President requesting that the necessary funds be allocated to the State Department, for the purpose of reimbursing necessary expenditures incurred by the various Federal agencies which would furnish personnel.

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