US President Joe Biden called Saudi King Salman on Thursday (local time) about human rights and the war in Yemen.
It is unclear whether the murder of
journalist Jamal Khashoggi was also discussed.
It was the first conversation between the two leaders since Biden is president.
The phone call comes shortly before a US intelligence report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is due to appear.
The report is sensitive in Saudi Arabia because it identifies Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as the originator of the murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The intelligence report would not appear before the scheduled phone call between Biden and Salman.
It is now expected that it can appear at any time.
President Biden already confirmed on Wednesday that he had read the report.
It is not clear from the White House statement on the telephone conversation whether Khashoggi was also discussed.
Biden did speak about the release of Saudi American prisoners and emphasized the importance of the rule of law and human rights.
The president called it a good conversation.
Security camera films possible transport of Khashoggi's body
Biden is cracking down on Saudi Arabia
Biden had already promised during his election campaign to take a harder line against Saudi Arabia and regularly lashed out at the royal family.
He said at the time that the crown prince had ordered the murder.
He also stressed that the US will not sell weapons to the country.
At the beginning of this month, the US ceased support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen.
Biden emphasized on Thursday that the two countries will continue to work together on security.
The American lower house may come with a resolution on Friday to hold Saudi Arabia officially responsible for the murder and mutilation of Khashoggi.
It is not yet known whether sanctions will follow.
Khashoggi criticized the Crown Prince
Khashoggi was murdered in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
He was there because he wanted to arrange paperwork to be able to marry his Turkish fiancé.
Khashoggi's body was cut to pieces and smuggled out of the property.
His remains have never been found.
The journalist lived in exile in the United States because he no longer felt safe in Saudi Arabia after criticizing the crown prince.
See also: A year after his disappearance, the anger over Jamal Khashoggi seems to have died down