The Commanding General, Dhahran Airfield ( Day ), to the Special Assistant, Secretary of the Air Force ( Shaw )1


Dear Mr. Shaw : I enclose a draft copy of the new Dhahran Airfeld Agreement with comments. I have just returned from fifteen days in Riyadh and a most exasperating and difficult negotiation. We have achieved more than I thought we would be able to. The atmosphere in Riyadh was cordial, but extreme sensitivity on the part of the Saudis made every item of discussion a subject for prolonged argument. We were forced to work from Shaikh Yussuf Yassin’s Saudi draft and the simple problem of getting this into acceptable English was a large one. This … plus lack of understanding made for a hard time.

I suggest that you pave the way for review of the draft, before signature, by our legal people. A broad viewpoint by them is essential for any requirement to go back for changes in the agreement will subject the entire document to renegotiation. There are forces at work within the Saudi Government not favorable to us and the Government itself at the present time is not too stable. Because of this, speed in reviewing is also essential and I hope we can get approval back here within a matter of a few days after receipt in Washington. Perhaps Colonel Malcolm and Maddux can monitor this through as they did my letter of instructions while I was in Washington.

By and large we have what we want in the way of major operating rights and we can live with those things in the agreement we do not particularly like.

The official documents will be forthcoming immediately through the State Department, but I thought this advance copy would help save time in review.

I would appreciate a line from you as to your reaction to the results.


E. M. Day

Brigadier General, USAF Commanding
  1. On June 6 Shaw sent the letter, together with a copy of the draft agreement containing Day’s comments and the letters exchanged by Day and the Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense, to Colonel Malcolm. They were attached to a letter which read, in part: “In view of the importance which both General Day and the Ambassador attach to the expedition in commenting on or approving of this draft, you may wish to start the clearance process with the attached advance copy.” (611.86A94/6–651)