JEDDAH — This year, the United States of America celebrates the 80th anniversary of its diplomatic presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This step marks the opening of the first American 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) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah, with James S. Moose as charge d’affaires. Three years later, on February 14, 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz Al Saud launched the US-Saudi strategic partnership during their historic meeting aboard the USS Quincy.
Shortly after opening, the American Legation took up residence in the historic Batterjee House in al-Balad, where it remained until 1953, when it moved to the new United States Embassy on Falasteen Street. In 1984, as part of a general relocation of foreign missions, the Embassy moved to Riyadh and the Falasteen Street compound was reborn as the United States Consulate General in Jeddah. It continued to serve the people of the western region of the Kingdom until the move in 2019 to the new consulate complex in Muhammadiyah district in northern Jeddah.
Throughout eight decades of close partnership and friendship, the United States and Saudi Arabia have shared a common vision. Early on, countries joined forces 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 peoples. At the same time, the business partnership has blossomed, with Saudi and American companies joining forces in various sectors, including infrastructure development, energy, logistics, transport, health and tourism.
Even when the US Embassy moved to Riyadh, the US Consulate in Jeddah 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 numerous joint ventures with Saudi partners. Tens of thousands of Saudi students from across the region have studied at American universities and returned to help build the Kingdom. Thousands of American citizens came to perform Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. Many Americans live and work in the region, from Tabuk to Jizan.
As Saudi Arabia strives to achieve the social and economic transformation outlined in Vision 2030, the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah will draw on our shared history to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, provide services to U.S. citizens in western region and facilitate innovative partnerships. that support the growing and dynamic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.