Page images

provided the objection of the British Government thereto is withdrawn.

American military authorities consider that the construction of an airfield near Dhahran at the earliest possible moment is necessary for the prosecution of the war in the Pacific. The specific issue involved is whether the British Government will inform the Saudi Arabian Government immediately that it withdraws its objection to the granting of such permission.

890F.248/11--1144 Jemorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Director of the Office

of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Murray) 25

[WASHINGTON,] November 11, 1944. Mr. Michael Wright of the British Embassy telephoned me this morning in connection with our most recent conference with him regarding our desire that the British Government give its consent to the construction of the military airfield at Dhahran in Saudi Arabia and to the erection of a radio-telegraph broadcasting station at Dhahran to be owned and operated by the Saudi Arabian Government.26

Mr. Wright said he had already telegraphed his Government regarding the question of the landing field and suggested that it would be most helpful in pushing this matter through speedily if we would suggest to the War Department that it get in touch with the competent British military officials here urging those officials to support the War Department's request for the landing field at Dhahran.

I immediately called General Howard A. Craig 27 and conveyed this information to him requesting that he take the necessary steps with the competent military authorities. General Craig said he thought the idea was an excellent one and that he would immediately get in touch with the Army Air Forces, urging them to contact the RAF delegation with a request for the assistance of the delegation in the establishment of the Dhahran airfield.

I told General Craig that Mr. Wright had strongly urged that in handling this matter at this stage we make no mention of any post-war civil aviation rights since that would be sure to cause endless delay in London. Any mention of desired post-war uses of the Dhahran airfield would be sure to bring a reply from London that since an international aviation conference was going on in Chicago the matter would

25 The substance of this memorandum was conveyed on November 14 to Col. John W. Bowen of the War Department General Staff in an undated memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Alling).

26 28 For correspondence regarding the proposed establishment of a direct radiotelegraph circuit between the United States and Saudi Arabia, see pp. 760 ff.

Maj. Gen. Howard A. Craig of the War Department General Staff.


have to await the outcome of that conference before a decision could be given affecting the post-war use of the field. General Craig said he fully agreed with this and that in taking it up with the RAF authorities the Army Air Forces would confine their recommendations solely to the military use of the field in question.

890F.248/11-2244 Memorandum by Colonel John W. Bowen of the War Department

General Staff 28

WASHINGTON, 22 November 1944. Subject: Air Field at Dhahran

Reference is made to your undated memorandum 29 on the above subject addressed to Colonel Bowen, Chief of the Mediterranean Theater Section, Operations Division. Your memorandum was submitted to the Army Air Forces for their comment and a reply has now been received from them stating that the acquisition of a military airfield at Dhahran is considered to be a military necessity.

For your information, the following is quoted from the memorandum from the Army Air Forces:

“Should the British be concerned about possible desires for Saudi Arabian interests on the part of nations other than Great Britain and the United States, it seems reasonable to expect that they would be willing to aid in securing the King's approval for an entirely American military air field at Dhahran which could be used by British aircraft, if necessary. Any mention of post war civil aviation rights in this matter certainly would meet with British delay, if not active opposition. Therefore, it should be considered on a purely military basis. The acquisition of an American military air field at Dhahran, for use in redeployment of our forces to the Far East and to increase the efficiency of present military air transport operations, is considered an immediate necessity.

"The Army Air Forces considers that joint tenancy of the Dhahran air field with British forces would be most undesirable. In the event that rights for construction and use of the airdrome can be obtained only on the condition of joint tenancy, however, such an arrangement would be accepted, provided command and operational control of the field would be vested in American forces."

After due consideration, it is believed inadvisable to approach the Royal Air Force on this matter through informal channels. The acquisition of this airport therefore should be considered with the other matters concerning Saudi Arabia as set forth in the letter from


Sent to the Department for the attention of the Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs.

29 See footnote 25, p. 668.

the Secretary of War to the Secretary of State dated 27 October 1944.30




800.24/1160 : Airgram The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom


WASHINGTON, January 1, 1944–6 p. m. A-5. In replying to the Foreign Office's communication set forth in your A-766, August 3, 9:15 a. m.,32 you should make the following statements after appropriate introductory phrases of acknowledgment and reference:

"As the Foreign Office is doubtless aware, the question of furnishing military supplies to the Government of Saudi Arabia has been considered by the Munitions Assignments Board in London, which is understood to have agreed in principle that such supplies should be provided in substantially equal measure by the Government of the United States and by the British Government. The Government of the United States is in accord with the view of the British Government that types and quantities thereof shall be determined upon the basis of needs for the maintenance of law and order in Saudi Arabia. In order to determine the nature and extent of these needs, an American military mission 33 has proceeded from Cairo to Saudi Arabia and upon completion of its investigation will report to the War Department. It is believed that the findings of this mission will contribute to the establishment of a basis upon which the appropriate American and British munitions assignments authorities can act.

"In the interests of uniformity of procedure it is considered highly desirable that such military supplies as the British Government may furnish to the Government of Saudi Arabia be provided under terms of settlement analogous to conditions under which similar supplies are furnished by the Government of the United States. The British Government, therefore, may wish to inform the Saudi Arabian Government that questions of reimbursement will be deferred for consideration until after the termination of hostilities.

“With respect to procedural questions raised in the Foreign Office's communication regarding requests for and assignments of munitions, it is confirmed that it is the policy of the Government of the United States to receive direct inquiries from officials of independent countries (except Turkey for which a special exception has been made)

30 Post, p. 748. 31. Continued from Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. 1v, pp. 854–920. 32 Ibid., p. 885. 33 For correspondence regarding this mission, see ibid., pp. 903 ff., passim.

regarding the availability of American military supplies to meet their needs and to furnish such supplies to them if it is feasible to do so.34 It follows, therefore, that the Government of the United States considers that the above policy is incompatible with the establishment of exclusive channels through which requests for and allocation of military supplies with respect to such independent countries are made."


102.1/9829: Telegram The Minister Resident in Saudi Arabia (Moose) to the Secretary

of State

JIDDA, January 7, 1944—2 p. m.

[Received 9:51 p. m.] 5. For Treasury. Plan for conversion of dollars into Saudi riyals described in Department's 111, December 15, 9 p. m., 35 has been informally discussed with responsible local officials on whose advice King 36 will rely and it will be presented formally to Foreign Ministry today.

Discussions indicate that King will approve plan, provided LendLease silver over and above other Saudi requirements is supplied for sale to Legation and commercial enterprises. It has been pointed out both orally and in writing once plan is in operation sale of gold in Jiddah market at or near existing sovereign-riyal rate should give local government substantial benefit over and above recovery of riyal sums sold. Nevertheless it is likely that Saudi Government will wish to increase its request for Lend-Lease silver by full amount of expected sales of riyal for dollars.

Best guess now is that total demand from Legation, Casoc 37 and same in 1944 would be about 10 million riyals.37a Reasonably accurate estimate may be available in a few days. Attention is called to the fact that insofar as Legation is concerned suggested plan is more complicated and less economical than that of supplying sovereigns as recommended in Gunter's letter to White dated September 24.38 A formal reply cannot be expected for more than a week.





3* For correspondence regarding this policy, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. IV, pp. 1 ff. 35 Ibid., p. 916. Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.

California Arabian Standard Oil Company, American oil company operating a concession in Saudi Arabia ; the Standard Oil Company of California and the Texas Company owned the stock of this company. On January 28, 1944, the Minister Resident was informed that the name of the company had been changed to Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco).

37a Sentence apparently garbled.

38 Letter not found in Department files. Harry Dexter White was Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury (Morgenthau), and Director of the Division of Monetary Research, and John W. Gunter was Treasury Attaché assigned to Ankara, temporarily in Saudi Arabia ; for correspondence regarding the Gunter Mission to Saudi Arabia, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. IV, pp. 854 ff., passim.

890F.515/76 : Telegram The Minister Resident in Saudi Arabia (Moose) to the Secretary

of State

JIDDA, January 7, 1944—3 p. m.

[Received 10:51 p. m.] 6. The second 2 million riyals minted in England mentioned in Department's 113, December 20, 10 p. m.,39 arrived here January 5, and were delivered to Finance Minister 40 against temporary receipt. Preparation of final receipts awaits Treasury certification of quantity of silver used. Legation already has such certification from London and Bombay mints.

Responsible officials indicate that further quantities of Lend-Lease silver will be requested in 1944 but that accurate determination of requirements awaits agreement between local and British authorities about disposition of pilgrimage “tariff items” now on deposit in sterling funds outside Saudi Arabia. See also my 5, January 7, 2 p. m. Any developments will be promptly reported.


890F.515/78: Telegram

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

CAIRO, January 13, 19449 p. m.

[Received January 14-11:56 a. m.] 83. Jordan, British Minister to Saudi Arabia, has requested that we rush shipment of the 7 million riyals minted in the United States. Saudi Arabian Government has deficit of 30 million riyals carried over from 1943 and British expect immediate call for advance of gold sovereigns. Jordan believes he can hold off their demand for a few months if the riyals arrive within a month.

British want to withhold further gold subsidies until a program of fiscal reform has been developed.41 Saudi Arabian 1944 budget calls for expenditures of 109 million riyals, revenue of 37 [million] riyals, leaving deficit of 72 million riyals in addition to 1943 deficit. British believe program for fiscal reform should be introduced in order to avoid payment of large subsidies and expect this question



Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. IV, p. 919. Abdullah Suleiman. 41 In his telegram 22, January 16, 4 p. m., the Minister Resident in Saudi Arabia repeated a telegram which he sent to the Minister in Egypt (Kirk) in which he stated: “I agree with Jordan as to desirability of fiscal reforms but foresee difficulty in effecting them even if King concurs and possible danger to our interests if he does not.” (890F.515/82)

« PreviousContinue »