First Speech of King Saud to the Council of Ministers

Author: King Saud

The Council of Ministers convened its first meeting during the reign of King Saud on 2 Rajab 1373 H. (1954). The late King, may God rest his soul in peace, delivered the following political address which reflected the broadlines of his policy.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

"Praise be to God by whose Grace good deeds are done and by whose Help and Omnipotence endeavours materialize and hopes are fulfiled. Our prayers be upon our Prophet, the seal (i.e. the last) of the Prophets whose message has oriented us towards the right path in this life and in the Hereafter. We all feel the magnitude of the calamity which has befallen us with the demise of our father King Abdel Aziz Ibn Abdel Rahman Al Faisal, founder of our nation, may God rest his soul in peace. By God's Grace, he restored to us the glory of our forefathers, founded our nation and secured to it a choice place among the countries of the world. The legacy and the great reputation he left us in world fora are achievements of which we shall always feel proud.

"Amidst such distress, our sole consolation is the patience and forbearance God the Almighty has granted us at the time of the calamity. Although overwhelmed by the shock, we did not turn away from the course he, may God rest his soul in peace, had set for us. Your rallying behind us, the support you have offered us, the pledge of your allegiance and obedience as ordained by God and the Tradition of His Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, have helped to soothe the agony and anguish of our hearts. This reminds us of the attitude of the Companions of the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him. Your support and presence was a relief and has prompted us to continue work day and night for the progress of our country and the well-being of our people. Since our accession to the throne, our main preoccupation was to adhere to the Book of God, follow the Tradition of His Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, and the example of his wise successors, and follow in the footsteps of our great father in the fields of politics and administration as well as any field of reform which is called for. He opened before us the road to follow, complete the work he has started and do everything possible in the interest of our country and people.

"Islam has prescribed consultation as a means for Muslims to reach decisions
among themselves. That is why we look upon you as brothers, sons and ministers, trust and consult you in order to shoulder together the burdens of governance in this country. Accordingly, we have formed a Council of Ministers to become the competent authority for all the work we carry out in the interest of this country. You will be the source and reference for any work carried out in the country, in accordance with the applied laws and regulations. We avail ourselves of the opportunity of inaugurating that august council to explain to you the methodology which we shall follow in the future, God willing. 

1. The first thing which is of utmost importance to us all is to hold fast to the teachings of our religion and strengthen the adhesion of monotheism in the hearts of our people in order to be dedicated to the worship of God. In this respect, we shall be guided by the Holy Book in championing the cause of religion through wisdom and preaching in all fields, especially in schools. We shall monitor this action and urge people to observe all Islamic teachings and refrain from doing acts prohibited by Islam for this is salvation in earthly life and in the Hereafter because Islam only urges Muslims to goodness and to refrain from evil.

2. In the area of our foreign policy, we shall follow in the footsteps of our great father. What is of prime importance to us is to work for the unity of the Arabs and promote their interests within their League in accordance with its Charter and the Joint Co-operation Treaty. We have asked the delegation who represented us at the Arab League, at its first meeting, following our assuming the responsibility of governance to declare our firm determination to support the Arabs, co-operate with them in all fields to repel any aggression in the interest of us all. We shall call, God willing, for the unity of all Arabs and the pooling of their potentials to enable them maintain their independence and repel any possible aggression. Delegations from most sister Arab countries have come to offer condolences, as well as congratulate us on our accession to the throne of our Kingdom and convey sentiments of fraternity and cordiality. We feel gratified at the cordial relations we share with the friendly Islamic countries, especially Pakistan whose great President Mr. Gholam Muhammad visited our country to offer his condolences as well as his congratulations on our accession to the throne of this kingdom. We have assured him of our friendship and sincere desire to co-operate with the friendly government of Pakistan, to unify the ranks of Muslims worldwide. We are aware of that cancerous entity planted in the body of Arab countries. It has perpetrated the most horrible atrocities every known in the history of mankind, killing or dispersing more than one million Arabs from Palestine. The Zionist Jews are that cancerous entity whose criminal acts are recorded throughout history. They did not stop at criminal acts, but went further to wage a new aggression against the Arab countries. Their repeated aggressions along the borders do not constitute a threat to the Arab countries alone, but to the entire world as well. Moreover, it can be said that they constitute a threat to Islam and Muslims anywhere in the world. We shall work together with the Arab and Muslim countries that concluded agreements with us to defend ourselves against that aggression and surely we shall emerge victorious, God willing.

Our general policy, beyond the scope of Arab countries, is based on sustained endeavours to improve our political relations with all countries. We seek to promote such cordial ties with countries that express their desire to have friendly relations with us. We do regret that there is a problem between us and the friendly government of the United Kingdom which we have not been able to solve up till now. We shall also be exerting our utmost efforts to safeguard our entity, sovereignty and vested rights, through negotiations with the British government to solve the problem by peaceful means. We earnestly hope to beable to solve that problem amicably, God willing.

3. Our concern has been to strengthen our army being the mainstay of our nation and on which, after God, the protection of our entity and independence depends, both within and without the Kingdom. Hence, a large part of the budget shall be allocated to the army. We shall also enlarge our army and provide it with the required high-level technical training and weapons. 

4. We pay special attention to anything conducive to the well-being of our people and, to this end, we launched war on hunger, poverty and disease. Some regions of our country suffered from economic difficulties due to drought. Accordingly, we had to move quit e a large number of Bedouins to urban centres and ensure for them means of livelihood. Praise be to God Who enabled us to solve that problem, as by His Grace, rainfall shall help us surmount that crisis. We have also taken adequate measures to help the poor secure their livelihood. We do hope that the construction projects that we shall carry out throughout the country will create further job opportunities and contribute to the well-being of the people. 

5. We have also sought to raise the standard of health in the country. The Ministry of Health has established public hospitals and clinics which will endeavour at best to treat patients and raise the standard of health. Hospitals and clinics will also be built throughout the kingdom.

6. We have established the Ministry of Education to promote and develop the education of people firstly in matters of religion and secondly in matters that will benefit them in their earthly life. Large allocations will be earmarked in the budget for the spreading of education throughout the country. 

7. We have also established the Ministry of Agriculture to develop agriculture in the country. We have, praise be to God, rich agricultural areas which only need co-operation and organization in order to become productive. They can contribute to providing food for our country as well as for other countries.

8. We have established the Ministry of Transport which is pursuing its work with the objective of connecting the country by a transportation network covering our vast kingdom. A study has been completed to establish a railway line starting from Riyadh to Mecca via Al Washm and Al Qasim in Al Madinah and [eddah. All the necessary measures have been taken for the implementation of that project. Work on that project shall start as soon as possible in view of its vital importance. Our prime concern was to ensure an effective transportation network to link us to other Arab countries. We have had contacts with the governments of both Jordan and Syria for the reopening of the Hijaz railway line. The two governments responded favourably to our call and a conference was held subsequently in Riyadh whereby an agreement was reached on the reoperation of the railway line. A technical mission was fielded for the study of the line and submitted a report on the cost of the line repairs which will be borne jointly with the two sister countries. A phase programme will be worked out toextend the line to various parts of the country.

9. Money is the backbone of the state on which both public and private life depends. Without securing adequate resources for the state and planning the expenditure of such resources, we won't be able to succeed in any activity be it constructional, commercial, or economic. We all know how the Ministry of Finance has been established and the tasks it had had to carry out. There was a time when the Ministry of Finance had to bear the financing of all projects be they constructional, economic, agricultural, industrial or even military. This was, of course, a very huge burden which could exhaust a large entity, let alone the limited manpower of the Ministry. Hence, we sought to alleviate that burden, and the work of the Ministry has been limited to the collection of state revenues and apportion them in the state budget. What was feasible in the past, due to scarce resources and the small number of projects we undertook, is no longer feasible today due to the widening scope of resources and growing number of construction projects ready for implementation. We have therefore decided to draw up a State budget to be discussed and approved by your council. That budget shall consist of three chapters: the first relating to the allocations of the State departments; the second, to the construction projects which will be referred to you for approval and the third to the Reserve Fund.

10. Due to our desire to have our people participate in promoting our interests, we have decided to establish an administrative council in each town. It shall be headed by the Emir (Prince) of that town and its membership shall comprise the judges, the heads of regional departments and the dignitaries of the town. The council shall consider matters of interest to the town itself according to a law enacted for this purpose. We have also decided to establish municipalities for the development of each town. Moreover, we decided to lay down a five-year programme for the major reconstruction projects. Upon its finalization, it shall be referred to you for discussion and approval, God willing.

"To ensure the smooth running of work, we have established an Audit Office as a subsidiary organ of the Council of Ministers and we shall be the highest authority of that Office. That Office shall be headed by a general auditor who will be vested with powers to be provided for in the rules of procedure of the Council of Ministers. This official shall audit the State revenues and expenditures. We have also decided to establish a bureau to be called the Petition Bureau, affiliated to the Council of Ministers. It shall look into any complaint we shall refer thereto or any misdeed we hear of and notify the Bureau thereof. Such complaints or misdeeds shall be examined by the Bureau in order to ensure that every member of our people gets his rights. Our door is open to anyone who has a complaint and we shall see that justice is done. We have also decided to establish, within the Council of Ministers, an Expert Group. It shall assist the Council of Ministers in the technical areas of State activities. We beseech Almighty God to help us and provide us with His Grace and Guidance to ensure a good life in this world and in the Hereafter. God is the Hearer and the Responsive, the best Protector and the best Help. God's peace and mercy be upon you."

"There is between the ruler and the ruled a strong bond based on religion and adherence to the covenant with God." - Saud

"My dear people, 

"Praise be to God the Almighty and may He accept our fasting and prayers and bless the days when we break our fast and all the days of our life. God has enabled us to spend these blessed ten days at the Ka'ba, enjoying its proximity and circumambulating it, imploring God's forgiveness for our sins and yours and acceptance of our sacrifices. "On this occasion, I wished to share your happiness on Bairarn Day, beseeching God to render the feast bountiful for this country in particular and for all Muslims in general.

"My dear people, 

"The bond between the ruler and the ruled is a strong one based on religion and adherence to the covenant with God to the Holy Quran and the Tradition of the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him. God has enjoined us to mete justice to each and everyone, disregarding the power of the mighty or the weakness of the meek until the rights of each one is secured. This has been ordained by God and we shall abide by it, God willing.

"My dear people,

"You know how keen I am to promote your interests and well-being as well as enhance your prestige and raise high the banners of your country. I shall endeavour at best to achieve this end. I share your aspirations and sufferings, consider your eldest a father, your middle-aged a brother and your youngster a son. I work diligently to promote your interest in this life and in the Hereafter. I shall remain awake so that you may sleep soundly and work hard to ensure your comfort. Three things prompt me to do so. They are:

"First: My duty towards you since you are my subjects.

"Second: Your warm sentiments, cordial feelings and dedicated allegiance manifested on various occasions.

"Third: My keen desire to raise you to the height of glory and might so that you may stand on equal footing with the developed countries in terms of progress and standards of living. This will be fulfilled in accordance with our noble Shari'a whose bases we endeavour to strengthen. In this respect, we abide by God's saying: 'Say: who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of God which He hath produced for His servants and the thillgs, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance,' * discarding false and trivial matters rejected by Islamic ethics. 

"As one of the Arab poets said: 

all morals and ethics, Nations stand [irm and fast, Should morals and ethics go, tvuitions crumble into a thing of the past! "We should not forget that eyes are focused on this country as it is the cradle of the Islamic call, the seat of the Ka'ba, and the birthplace of the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him.

"My dear people,

"Praise be to God for having endowed the people of this Holy city and of the entire Kingdom with a co-operative spirit and blessed them with the safety, stability and security. This is guidance and favour from God and the outcome of our adhering to His Book and the Tradition of the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, in any minor or major decision and our good intentions which are known to God, be they be private or public. (Deeds are judged by intentions and everybody is judged according to his intention).

"May God Almighty fulfil all your wishes, guide us to the way of righteousness and help us contribute to the well-being of our country and people."