The United States in Jeddah: 80 Years of Shared History and Strong Partnership

الثلاثاء - 17 مايو 2022

Tue - 17 May 2022

This year, the United States of America is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its diplomatic presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This milestone marks the opening of the first U.S. diplomatic mission in the Kingdom, on May 1, 1942, in Jeddah. Since then, the relationship between the two countries and our two peoples has grown to encompass a multitude of areas including business, security, education, science, culture, tourism, and sports.

On May 1, 1942, the United States opened its first Legation (a historic term for a diplomatic representative office) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah, with James S. Moose as the Chargé d’Affaires. Three years later, on February 14, 1945, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz Al Saud launched the strategic U.S.-Saudi partnership during their historic meeting aboard the USS Quincy.

Soon after opening, the U.S. Legation took up residence in the historic Batterjee House in al-Balad, where it remained until 1953, when it moved to the newly constructed United States Embassy on Falasteen Street. In 1984, as part of a general relocation of foreign missions, the Embassy moved to Riyadh and the compound on Falasteen Street was reborn as the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah. It continued in service to the people of the Kingdom’s Western Region until the 2019 move to the new Consulate compound in north Jeddah’s Muhammadiyah District.

Throughout the eight decades of close partnership and friendship, the United States and Saudi Arabia have shared a common vision. Early on, the countries allied against global and regional threats. On June 18, 1951, the two countries established their first formal defense partnership: the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement. As the relationship grew, the United States and the Kingdom partnered to address other challenges through education and exchange programs, the perfect bridge between our people. At the same time, the commercial partnership flourished, with Saudi and American businesses partnering in a variety of sectors including infrastructure development, energy, logistics, transportation, healthcare, and tourism.

Even as the U.S. Embassy moved to Riyadh, the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah has continued to play a key role in strengthening and deepening ties. Over the years, American companies have established operations in the Western Region and launched many joint ventures with Saudi partners. Tens of thousands of Saudi students from across the region have studied at U.S. universities and returned to help build the Kingdom. Thousands of American citizens have come to perform the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. Many Americans live and work in the region, from Tabuk to Jizan.

As Saudi Arabia works to realize the social and economic transformation outlined in Vision 2030, the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah will build on our shared history to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, provide services to U.S. citizens in the Western Region, and facilitate innovative partnerships that support the growing and dynamic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.