History, Ibn Saudís Reign
Arab League, Dhahran, creation of Israel, air base, Aramco
Before 1938, when the first petroleum deposit was discovered in Saudi Arabia, socioeconomic conditions in the country differed little from those prevailing in antiquity. As royalties from the oil industry increased, King Ibn Saud developed an extensive modernization program, particularly in such areas as water supply, agriculture, manufacturing, and public health. Concurrently he strengthened relations with other states of the Middle East and adopted a friendly policy toward the United States and the United Kingdom. A supporter of the Allied cause in World War II (1939-1945), he permitted construction of a U.S. air base in Dhahran but remained officially neutral until March 1945, when he declared war on Germany and Japan.
In 1945 Saudi Arabia joined the United Nations (UN) and the Arab League
. Saudi Arabia opposed the creation of Israel but took only a minor part in the leagueís war against the Jewish state in 1948 and 1949. In December 1950 a new agreement with the Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco) provided that 50 percent of the companyís net earnings should be paid to Saudi Arabia. In June 1951, Saudi Arabia agreed to grant the United States use of the Dhahran air base for another five years in return for U.S. technical aid and permission to purchase arms under the Mutual Defense Assistance Act.
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