History, Cold War Period
Bandung Conference, absolute powers, French attack, Gulf of Aqaba, King Saud
King Ibn Saud died on November 9, 1953. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Saud. Advocating Arab neutrality in the Cold War, Saudi Arabia opposed the Middle Eastern Treaty Organization (METO), formed in 1955 by Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. Representatives from Saudi Arabia attended the Bandung Conference held April 18 to 24, 1955, in Bandung, Indonesia. In October 1955 it signed a mutual-defense pact with Egypt. In the same month British-led forces from the sultanate of Masqat and Oman (now Oman) recaptured an oasis in a disputed area that had been occupied in 1952 by Saudi Arabian police. Saudi Arabia appealed vainly to the United Nations for support against the British. In November King Saud agreed to lend Syria $10 million for economic and military purposes. A loan of $10 million was made to Egypt in August 1956, after Egypt’s funds in foreign banks were frozen following the nationalization of the Suez Canal on July 26. After the joint Israeli, British, and French attack on Egypt in October and November, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom and France, and cut off oil supplies to their tankers.
King Saud visited the United States in January 1957; shortly afterward it was announced that the United States would sell arms and supply other aid to Saudi Arabia in exchange for permission to use the Dhahran air base. In April of that year Saudi Arabia declared the Gulf of Aqaba to be territorial waters and announced that Israeli ships would be denied passage through the gulf. Despite the declaration, no attempts were made to interfere with the passage of Israeli ships. In February 1958 Saudi Arabian territorial waters were extended to 19 km (12 mi).
In March 1958 King Saud transferred legislative and executive powers, formerly included among his own absolute powers, to the prime minister, his brother Crown Prince Faisal; Saud reserved for himself the right of veto. In May a royal decree established a cabinet system.
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