The Clarence J. McIntosh Papers consists of the correspondence sent by Mr. McIntosh to his family while stationed with the U.S. State Department in Saudi Arabia together with two photograph albums that contain the photographs taken while on diplomatic assignment in Ecuador and Saudi Arabia.
Clarence J. McIntosh (1915 - ) was born in Savannah, Georgia, and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. After graduating from business school in 1936, McIntosh found employment as a stenographer. In 1940 he was appointed as a clerk with the U.S. State Department and assigned to the American Consulate in Quito, Ecuador, where he remained for the next two years. In 1942, McIntosh was transferred to the newly established American Legation in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. He served as a clerk there until he was appointed to the rank of vice-consul and transferred to the American Consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in mid 1944.
The correspondence McIntosh wrote to his family details the diplomatic duties and physical environs encountered in Sauid Arabia during the World War II era. Reference to audiences with the Saudi royal family, including the king, Ibn Saud, and his son, Prince Faisal, attendance at state functions, and the relationships of the American Legation with the other members of the diplomatic corps, as well as with American oil companies provide a rare insight into the early years of Saudi Arabian-U.S. relations.
The U.S. did not have a permanent diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia until 1942. The American Minister at Cairo, Egypt, had been delegated all diplomatic responsibilities for this country until the decision was made to establish an American Legation in Jidda. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia had only been created in 1926 under the leadership of Ibn Saud, a member of the puritanical Wahhabbis sect. At that time, the country had was little more than a desert kingdom, its oil reserves having yet to be discovered. When King Saud sought international recognition for his new state, the U.S. expressed little interest in furthering diplomatic relations, and it would not be until 1931 that the U.S. would extend full diplomatic recognition to the nation. Despite the initial reluctance shown by the U.S. government, American business interests, specifically, American oil companies, sought oil concessions from the Saudi government and initiated exploratory mining expeditions. The Standard Oil Company of California, which had already located oil in its concession on the island emirate of Bahrain located off the coast of Saudi Arabia, gained a concession from the Saudi government in 1933. Referred to by its acronym Casoc (California Arabian Standard Oil Company) in McIntosh's correspondence, the concession brokered by Standard Oil stands as one of the largest ever granted by a foreign government, at some 360,000 square miles. Casoc's presence in Saudi Arabia would play a decisive role in the U.S. government's later decision to establish a permanent diplomatic presence in the country. Casoc, it should be noted, was the predecessor of the Arab-American Oil Company, or Aramco.
The U.S. decision to enter World War II would determine the future of U.S.-Saudi Arabian relations. Although the Saudi nation remained neutral during the war, the U.S. viewed the region with increasing interest for establishing an American military presence, as well as for its access to the country's oil reserves. After favorable preliminary negotiations with King Ibn Saud, James S. Moose, a career foreign service officer, was sent by the State Department to open an American Legation at Jidda in April 1942. Mr. McIntosh would arrive later that fall to serve as clerk on the Legation's first staff.
The experience McIntosh gained while stationed at Jidda led to his appointment as a vice-consul for the American delegation in Saudi Arabia, receiving the assignment to establish a consulate in the coastal city of Dhahran. The close relationship that existed between the American diplomatic corps and Casoc, now Aramco, during this period is clearly detailed in the correspondence sent by McIntosh to his family.
BULK DATES: 1943 - 1945
SPAN DATES: 1942 - 1945
EXTENT: 4 boxes