History of the Consulate
In 1944, Foreign Service Officer Parker T. Hart was dispatched from the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, where he was stationed, to the eastern shores of Saudi Arabia to set up a consulate to take care of American interests in the oil town of Dhahran and the small American community there. He did so on September 2 of that year and worked from an office within Aramco campus and later moved to an office where the old airport is.
Mr. Hart returned to Saudi Arabia in the late 1940’s to oversee construction work of a new consulate. With the blessing of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud, Mr. Hart selected a site close to where the monarch and his party had set up camp during an earlier visit to the province. This is the same site where the consulate is now located.
The present compound and chancery were built in August 1949, followed by the Consul General’s residence in 1951. The construction workers comprised mostly of Italian POW’s from nearby Eritrea.
From 1944 to 1971, the Consulate General, with responsibilities covering half of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Trucial States (Qatar, UAE and Oman), served mostly as a regional embassy.
George Bush, Sr., then Vice President of the United States, visited the consulate on April 5, 1986 to meet with American and Foreign Service Staff and members of the American community.
As for Mr. Hart, he was promoted to Consul General in 1951, and went on to serve as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Prior to retirement, he also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). On October 25, 1994, the Consulate celebrated its 50th anniversary and Ambassador Hart was the guest of honor during the dinner that Ambassador Ray Mabus and Consul General David Winn hosted at the Consulate.