177. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

149. Embtel 119.2 Department believes it would be good policy to defer raising clear issue with King at this stage. Complete review US-Saudi relations would inject question Dhahran Air Base agreement into current discussion. Notice by either Saudi Arabians or ourselves of desire re-open negotiation of agreement not necessary before December 18. Meanwhile you have made clear to King and his advisers US views re Soviet-Saudi relations and Soviet arms for SA.

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If Saudis initiate further discussions re latter two subjects you should continue rely on substance Deptels 56 and 141.3 If you are further questioned on grant aid Department suggests you continue to comment as you did to Gargoni (Embtel 119). Saudis should receive no encouragement that we can, in year of substantially reduced aid budget, consider any provision economic or military grant aid, nor that we can, under any circumstances, consider aid to SAG without agreement required by USG legislation. You may also wish to frame your further conversations with comments first paragraph Deptel 3874 in mind. Actual discussions with Saudis regarding aid at this stage however should avoid categorical statements in order not prejudice eventual avenues of approach when final decision is made regarding value Dhahran Air Base.

With regard benefits Dhahran Air Base agreement, we suggest addition of following to paragraph 3 of Deptel 387: “Air Force has given unofficial value Dhahran base installation, $46,700,000; under 1951 agreements, all installation and construction property Saudi Arabian Government. Other services provided for Saudis estimated in excess $1,000,000 per year.” You may use the above paragraph at your discretion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/9–1655. Secret. Drafted by Newsom and Wilkins and approved by Allen.
  2. Document 175.
  3. Documents 170 and 174, respectively.
  4. Document 166.