Saudi Minister Tells US State Department It Will Never Recognize Israel

March 25, 1950

In travelling to Saudi Arabia, US Assistant Secretary of State George C. McGhee told Shaikh Yusuf Yassin, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, that as a sign of its impartiality between Israel and the Arab states, the US “refrained from any pressure on Arab states for settlement of Arab differences with Israel, but also wondered if Arab states could normalize their relations with Israel and achieve some kind of working relations with Israel,” pointing out that present Arab policies would likely produce aggressive Israeli reaction most feared by Arab states.

Yassin responded that “Arab states would never agree to any working relationship with Israel, that Arabs considered Israel a great menace without any limits to territorial ambitions. Arabs believed that Israel had every intention of expanding beyond Israel to include Syria, Jordan, et cetera.” Yassin continued, “Arabs have no aggressive designs against Israel, but intended to treat that state as if a wall surrounded it. Saudi Arabia has no basis for trade with Israel ….We shall never admit a Jew in Saudi Arabia and we shall never admit anyone travelling on an Israeli visa.”

Since at least the seventies, some Jews have travelled to Saudi Arabia. Since the nineties, Israel has built a wall around an eastern perimeter and is considering doing the same along the Jordan River in shaping security understandings in a framework agreement with the Palestinians. As for the degree of Saudi-Israeli cooperation over Iran as a common foe, that remains in the realm of active speculation.

The photo shows Truman presenting Saudi Prince Ibn Saud a medal for Saudi’s assistance during World War II at the White House in 1947.