786A.5 MSP/3–2653

No. 1453
The Under Secretary of State (Smith) to the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister (Faisal)1



The Under Secretary of State refers to his meeting with His Royal Highness the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister on March 252 and to the discussion which took place concerning the military grant aid program being prepared for Saudi Arabia.

During the discussion the Under Secretary confirmed to Prince Faisal that for some time consideration had been given to the possibility of undertaking a special program of grant military assistance for Saudi Arabia under the terms of the Mutual Security Act of 1951, as amended. The approval of military grant aid had been recommended to the President by the Secretary of State and the Director of Mutual Security, and had been authorized by the President on March 12, 1953. The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia had been informed of the offer on March 16.3

This program of military grant assistance, which marks a new departure in the relations of the United States with the Arab Nations, is intended to provide for military training of members of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces outside of Saudi Arabia and under United States auspices. The Under Secretary elaborated from his own military experience on the necessity for sound basic training as a prerequisite to effective use of modern military equipment.

The Under Secretary stated further that steps could be taken to give the program definite shape after the conclusion of the usual agreement covering the subject of grant aid for training, pursuant to the Mutual Security Act. The draft text of this agreement is being sent to Ambassador Hare.4 After conclusion of the agreement, the Under Secretary stated, it will be incumbent upon Ambassador Hare and General Grover to work out with the Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense a grant aid training program suited to the [Page 2442] needs of Saudi Arabia. Naturally, such a program would have to come within the scope of United States legislation and Congressional appropriations. The Under Secretary stated that the extent of aid which might be available for Saudi Arabia could not be determined until Saudi requirements had been studied and until the availability of funds had been determined.

In clarification of a question raised by the Foreign Minister, the Under Secretary emphasized that the offer of grant military aid for training purposes had never been and was not now intended to be considered as applicable to, or limited by, the expenses of training those Saudi military students now in the United States and whose tuition had already been paid by the Saudi Arabian Government.

  1. This aide-mémoire was drafted by Fritzlan and Hart, and cleared by S/MSA and NEA.
  2. See footnote 5, supra. For a discussion of the source text between the Under Secretary and the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, see part 2 of the memorandum of conversation of Apr. 1 by Fritzlan, Document 1510.
  3. For a memorandum of the conversation of Mar. 16, see Document 1506. For information on the approval of the program by the President, see the memorandum by the President to the Director for Mutual Security, Document 1451.
  4. See footnote 2, ibid.