Page images

Mr. Twitchell stated that all of these officials had informed him without hesitation that the men were to be had to send to Saudi Arabia and that they would gladly be made available. Mr. McCall, in particular, said that quite apart from the question of helping King Ibn Saud, the information and experience which an agricultural expert obtained in Saudi Arabia would be very valuable to the Department of Agriculture.

890F.51/29 : Telegram

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

WASHINGTON, September 26, 1941–5 p. m. 507. Department's 399, August 22, 8 p. m.4 We of course desire to do anything that can be done to lessen King Ibn Saud's inevitable disappointment over this Government's decision not to extend financial assistance to Saudi Arabia. In this connection, upon the occasion of your forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, you may desire to state informally that, in case the Saudi Arabian Government would welcome a mission as described in the Department's 231, June 20, 8 p. m., you

8 would be glad to inquire of your Government whether one could be sent.

For your information, officials of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture state informally that official experts on ground water resources, irrigation and agriculture are to be had for such a mission and would be made available if desired. It appears that the salaries and traveling expenses of the experts could not be paid from ordinary appropriations, but a request could be made for a grant from the "Emergency Fund for the President” the purpose of which is in part “to provide for emergencies affecting the national security and defense and for each and every purpose connected therewith.”

We have been informed by the British Embassy here that the British Minister at Jidda strongly supports the project.

Mr. K. S. Twitchell, who is doubtless well known to the Legation, and who represents Ibn Saud informally in this country on various matters, states that the King's decision to defer employing American road engineers until after the war was not unexpected in view of the expense involved and Twitchell's own recommendation that no actual construction be undertaken until after the war because of the difficulty of obtaining machinery.

It is understood that Twitchell, in submitting a telegraphic report of his activities on behalf of the King, is suggesting that, if the King

[blocks in formation]

approves of the idea, the Saudi Arabian Government inform the Legation that an official mission of experts would be welcomed if it can be sent.


[In telegram No. 1963, December 15, 4 p. m., the Minister in Egypt transmitted a summary of the Saudi Arabian Government's request for experts (890 F. 51/44).]



890D.927/124 : Telegram

The Consul General at Beirut (Palmer) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, August 9, 1940—1 p. m.

[Received 2:58 p. m.] 73. Reference my despatch No. 440, dated January 3, 1940. Annulment of Oriental Institute concession has been demanded by German Government. This demand was first formulated in note verbale addressed on June 19, 1940, by German Legation at Bern to Swiss Political Department, Division of Foreign Interests, and presented on July 25 to the French High Commission by the Swiss Consul representing German interests here. It has now been brought again to the attention of the High Commission by a telegram received from Vichy on August 7. This telegram cites article 10 [sic] of Convention De Rethondes 2 as basis for German claim that rights of Baron Oppenheim antedating Oriental Institute concession be protected and orders cessation of excavation under this later concession.

I have discussed the situation with Field Director McEwan of the Oriental Institute Expedition, Director General of Antiquities Seyrig, and the High Commissioner.2a McEwan holds an export permit issued by Seyrig under date of July 25 for objects found before that date and is taking them immediately to Baghdad for shipment to the United States when opportunity offers. Seyrig and the High Commissioner both feel that there is little chance of maintaining the Oriental Institute concession in opposition to German insistence on rights derived from Oppenheim's Turkish Firman the validity of which was recognized by the High Commission in 1927 and confirmed in a letter to the

a German Consul General here in 1930 and again as late as June 2, 1939, in a letter addressed to Oppenheim by Seyrig at the direction of the High Commissioner with specific reference to Tell Fakhariyah as well as to Tell Halaf.

* Not printed

Armistice agreement between France and Germany, signed June 22, 1940, Doouments on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. ix, p. 671. 2a Gabriel Puaux.


The Commissioner who originally considered this German concession forfeited upon the outbreak of war is now holding to the argument that Oppenheim's rights to the Tell Fakhariyah site have lapsed because of his failure to develop this site. He tells me that he has advanced this argument in his reply to Vichy, but that he fears that the French Government will instruct him to cancel the Oriental Institute concession and order McEwan to cease work immediately while removing any objects [apparent omission] found. He considers that in the event of cancellation of the concession the Oriental Institute might properly claim from the High Commission reimbursement of expenses incurred prior to receipt of the German protest; and he has agreed that pending an order to cease work McEwan may continue excavation with the understanding that no claim for reimbursement of expenses incurred since the receipt of the German protest will be considered and that no objects found during this period will be removed from the site. Please inform the Oriental Institute.


890D.927/124: Telegram The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Beirut (Palmer)

WASHINGTON, August 31, 1940. 57. Your 73, August 9, 1 p. m. If you have not already done so you should forward to the Department by air mail a detailed report containing all pertinent facts with reference to the contemplated action in respect to the Oriental Institute concession, including the text of the German concession, the text of the reported confirmations of that concession by the French authorities, as well as any available information concerning the grounds on which the German concession was declared forfeited.

Please keep the Department informed by telegraph of pertinent developments.


890D.927/126 : Telegram The Consul General at Beirut (Palmer) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, September 6, 1940—10 a. m.

[Received September 7–7:56 a. m.] 87. Reference Department's 57, August 31. High Commission copy of Turkish firman granting Oppenheim archaeological concession for general area in which Tell Fakhariyah is situated has not been found for several years past but I have been promised copies of correspondence in which High Commission recognizes concession.


Am informed General Huntziger 3 has been instructed to maintain that German failure to develop this site justified withdrawal of High Commission recognition; but situation remains essentially as reported in my telegram of August 9. While the High Commissioner has little hope that final decision will be favorable for Oriental Institute he has not yet been instructed to cancel its concession and does not seem to consider it inadvisable for expedition to continue work already

under way.

Objects found up to July 25 have been taken to Baghdad for shipment to Chicago. High Commissioner's previously reported suggestion that expenses incurred prior to receipt of German protest might properly be claimed if the concession should be canceled would seem to offer reasonable guarantee in such an eventuality for recovery of greater part of expenses for this season. Accordingly field director desires to resume and complete work stopped 2 weeks ago under instruction from Chicago which appeared to indicate that Oriental Institute considered its concession already canceled.

As matters now stand and in view of attitude of High Commissioner and opinion of the Department of Antiquities that expedition's program for current season should be completed, if possible the Oriental Institute may wish to reconsider its recent instructions to expedition and authorize continuation of work throughout September. Since urgent action is necessary it is suggested that any telegram in this regard be addressed to the Consulate General for immediate communication to expedition and information of the High Commissioner who assures me that he does not anticipate that American members of the expedition will suffer any serious inconvenience if they remain until next month.


890D.927/144 Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division

of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

[WASHINGTON ?] December 26, 1940. While I was in Chicago over the Christmas holidays I saw Dr. John Wilson at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Dr. Wilson mentioned the difficulties the Institute had had in regard to its Syrian expedition, particularly the proposed withdrawal of the concession by the French authorities. This action was taken on the ground that a prior concession had been granted to the German

3 Gen. Charles Huntziger, French Minister for National Defense. Telegram No. 73, p. 660. * Director of the Oriental Institute.

« PreviousContinue »