786A.5 MSP/1–1854: Telegram

No. 1461
The Consul at Dhahran (Hackler) to the Department of State1


109. From Ambassador Wadsworth. Regarding draft military grant aid agreement,2 Acting Foreign Minister Yusuf Yassin, acting under King’s instructions, informed me January 15, that after thoroughly studying draft, His Majesty decided he cannot accept it “because of new obligations Saudi Arabia would have to assume”. These “could not be put on shoulders of new regime; they would reflect badly on Saudi Arabian standing in all Arab States”. King had added, however, that Saudi Arabia would be grateful all aid and assistance possible within framework existing agreements.

According Shaikh Yusuf, King also said US would receive “every cooperation, every friendship, whether or not US helped Saudi Arabia. and “regretted necessity informing me his inability sign agreement”.

As I had already in earlier discussion argued that all really important commitments in proposed agreement were already included in existing agreements and that it was furthest from our thoughts suggest any relationship infringing Saudi sovereignty, I asked Shaikh Yusuf explain real reason King did not wish sign. His answer was: “Because it would mean anything we have, both [Page 2451] in economic and military fields, would be under US control and dictation; all country would be under control US”.

My impression is that King, unfamiliar with practices Western States [garble] influenced by advice his strongly Arab nationalist councillors, sincerely believes acceptance agreement would entail assumption obligations infringing Saudi sovereignty and, not possessing prestige his late father, believes it wiser take no action this nature which would subject him strong criticism other Arab States. I suspect contributing consideration was that negotiations came to head at time when reports regarding formation pact Muslim States under aegis US appearing Arab press (Consulate General’s 106, January 15).3 Feel certain King eager develop his defense forces with our continuing help and truly regrets what he considers necessity rejecting assistance which would flow from agreement.

Full details by early airpouch.4

  1. Repeated to Jidda.
  2. Regarding the grant aid agreement, see Documents 1455 and 1456.
  3. Not printed; it reported the Deputy Foreign Minister had asked the Ambassador if there was any truth to reports from Washington of an early conclusion of military grant aid agreements with Iran and Pakistan, and a mutual defense pact between those two countries and Turkey. (780.5 MSP/1–1554)
  4. Despatches 285 and 286, Feb. 8, neither printed. (786A.5 MSP/2–854)