Asaad Al Faqih

Asaad Al Faqih

Diplomat

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Asaad Mansour Al Faqih was born in Aley in January 1910, the son of Mansour Al Faqih and Yaqout (Ruby) Abi-Mershed.

Asaad Al Faqih graduated with remarkable success from secondary school in his hometown of Aley.

As a result, he moved to Beirut to join the Jesuit University (established 1875, and later known as Saint Joseph University).

In the mid 1920s, he graduated with a Bachelor of Law and soon commenced working, but did not practice law for long.

He soon found himself travelling to Jeddah, accompanied by his wife Yaqout, and eldest daughter Selma. He was appointed, starting 10 November 1930, to the position of second assistant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On 3 March, 1933, a royal order was issued to transfer him to Baghdad to fill the position of second secretary in the Saudi legation present in Iraq during the Hashemite monarchy.

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In 1943, he was promoted and appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of Saudi Arabia to the Kingdom of Iraq, invested with the full power of independent action on behalf of the government.

It seems that Prince Faisal was confident of Asaad Al Faqih’s sincerity and his legal and scientific talents, so he approached him and then chose him as a member of the delegation that accompanied him to the US city of San Francisco on 26 June 1945 to participate in the inaugural meeting of the United Nations (replacing the League of Nations).

Al Faqih was among those who witnessed the historic signing of the Charter of the United Nations on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

Asad Al Faqih served as Saudi Arabia’s delegate to the United Nations from 1946 to 1955.

During his term he was also Saudi Arabia’s non-resident ambassador to Canada and Mexico.

ASAAD AL FAQIH (FAR RIGHT) ATTENDS THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS - SAN FRANCISCO, 26 JUNE 1945
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Saudi Arabia opened its diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., in 1946 and Asaad Al Faqih headed it first as Envoy Extraordinary and then as Minister Plenipotentiary – he was the first representative of Saudi Arabia to the United States.

Assad Al Faqih became very close to Prince Faisal and tutored him in French language, further gaining his trust and reassurance.

During his work in Washington, specifically in 1947, Al Faqih, in his functional capacity, joined the Saudi delegation accompanying Crown Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz (later King), who made the first official visit by a senior Saudi official to the United States on 14 January, 1947, at the invitation of President Harry Truman.

The delegation accompanying His Highness the Crown Prince also included Fouad Hamzah, of Abey.

Asad Al Faqih was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in 1948 when the Saudi Arabian diplomatic mission was redesigned as Embassy.

THE CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA AND MEMBERS OF HIS PARTY ARE LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE AFTER THEIR FIRST VISIT WITH PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN. ALSO PRESENT ARE TWO OF PRESIDENT TRUMAN'S MILITARY AIDES. FROM L-R: MAJOR MOHAMMED AL NAMLAH, HE FOUAD HAMZA, MAJOR GENERAL HARVEY H. VAUGHAN, HE SULAIMAN AL HAMAD, HRH CROWN PRINCE SAUD AL SAUD, ADMIRAL JAMES H. FOSKETT, HE ASAAD AL FAQIH AND HE ALI ALIREZA - 14 JANUARY, 1947
CROWN PRINCE AMIR SAUD OF SAUDI ARABIA, HE FOUAD HAMZA, HE ASAAD AL FAQIH, AND HE SULAIMAN AL HAMAD LAY A WREATH AT THE GRAVE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON AT MOUNT VERNON, VIRGINIA - 14 JANUARY, 1947
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Asaad Al Faqih continued his diplomatic work in Washington for only about ten years – he was ambassador during the last period of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency (from 1945 to 1949) and then during the two terms of Harry Truman’s presidency (from 1945 to 1949, then from 1949 to 1953).

He witnessed many important events in modern American and global history – including the American decision to drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in response to the Japanese fighter bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941, the end of the war in Europe with the victory of the Allies, the beginning of the Korean War and the Americans’ involvement in it, the establishment of the Hebrew entity in Palestine and Washington’s rush to recognize it and provide support for it, and the emergence of the first signs of the Cold War. 

In 1955, he asked to be transferred from Washington. In the following years, Asaad Al  Faqih became a roving ambassador and held senior positions in the Saudi Foreign Ministry, perhaps the most important of which was the position of Inspector General of the Ministry for Foreign Embassies and Missions, with the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary Extraordinary. 

In 1960, he became Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, mediating between Prince Faisal and his brother, King Saud bin Abdul Aziz.

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In 1963, Assad Al Faqih requested early retirement to take care of his private and family affairs. Upon his retirement, he chose to reside permanently with his family in his hometown of Aley, before deciding in 1984 to move to live in the picturesque city of Walnut Creek, located east of San Francisco, California.

He passed away on 2 April, 1989, in California, at the age of 79.

On his request, his body was returned to Lebanon. He was buried on his private property –  a serene and tranquil setting – near the shrine of Mir Midad, in Flajien, an area on the outskirts of Aley, bordering Ghaboun.

Asad Al FAqih was buried in Aley, Flajien
ASAD AL FAQIH RESTS IN PEACE ON HIS PROPERTY IN FLAJIEN
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Asaad and Yaqout Al Faqih had seven children – Selma (1932 – Aley), Aida (1935 – Taif, Saudi Arabia), Saniya (1939 – Aley), Khaled (1942 – Aley), Ghida (1944 – Baghdad, Iraq), Zuheir (1946 – Aley), Hoda (1955 – Washington, D.C.).

ASAAD AL FAQIH WITH HIS WIFE YAQOUT & CHILDREN
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