Editorial Note

The United States Mutual Defense Assistance Program Survey Team to Saudi Arabia arrived in Dhahran on July 17. Telegram 38 from Dhahran, July 19, reported that the size of the mission and its prompt arrival had greatly impressed Saudi Arabian officials (786A.5 MAP/7–1951). The day after their arrival the members went to Riyadh, where they had an audience with the King, and General Day met with the Minister of Defense. Negotiations were carried on at [Page 1065] Dhahran and Taif between the Survey Team and Saudi Arabian representatives under the direction of the Minister of Defense. (“Composition and Activities of the Survey Team,” Enclosure A to Report by the Military Group, Joint United States Mutual Defense Assistance Program Survey Team to Saudi Arabia on Reimbursable Aid Agreement with the Government of Saudi Arabia, 786A.5 MAP/9–1051)

A copy of the basic agreements was submitted as a report by General Day to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense on August 15. Provision was made in the agreements for Saudi Arabian construction of a base installation at El Kharj, or another suitable location, with facilities necessary for the Headquarters of the Saudi Arabian Army, the United States Permanent Mission, and one class of Saudi Arabian trainees. The exact scope of construction was to be determined later by a joint group of United States and Saudi Arabian officers. Recommendations were included in the report for the selection, indoctrination, and support of the United States Mutual Defense Assistance Mission. (Enclosure F, ibid.) The report also contained a military assistance program (Enclosure G, ibid.) listing basic concepts for reorganizing and training the Saudi Arabian military forces and four annexes setting forth a proposed organization for and disposition of the Saudi Arabian Army; a training program to be accomplished over a five-year period; cost estimates for Army facilities and equipment; and plans for the creation of a Saudi Arabian Air Force, with training and major equipment to be provided over a three-year period, and for supporting installations. In general, the program provided for a Saudi Arabian Army of three regimental combat teams and a general headquarters; an Air Force of one composite tactical squadron, one airbase squadron, and a headquarters; no naval forces; and a military training mission. The Minister of Defense approved the proposals in a letter to General Day dated August 20. (Enclosure H, ibid.)

A copy of the Survey Team Report, dated September 10, was received from the Department of Defense by the Department of State on September 12. A Department of State memorandum with comments on the report, drafted between October 2 and October 11, suggested some minor changes, but concluded by saying it considered the work of the Survey Group as depicted in the report “an impressive and outstanding accomplishment,” and hoped the final report would be considered and approved by the Department of Defense at the earliest possible time (786A.58/10–1151).

A Department of State memorandum, dated December 11, reported that the first part of the advance group of officers who would advise the Saudi Arabian Government on construction facilities required for the United States Military Training Team were to leave for Saudi [Page 1066] Arabia in early January 1952. The Department of State told members of the group that for political reasons it would be glad to see the earliest action possible in fulfilling the training commitment to Saudi Arabia. (786A.58/12–1151)

The Director, Office of Military Assistance, Office of the Secretary of Defense, on December 15, 1951, informed the Director for Mutual Security, and Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs, Department of State, that the Department of Defense had reviewed the Survey Team Report; found the recommendations with respect to selection, indoctrination, and support of the United States Mutual Defense Assistance Mission (Enclosure F) acceptable; and approved the military assistance program (in Enclosure G). He also informed him that, when the chief of the mission, expected to be a United States Air Force major general, had been designated, the Department of State would be advised.