181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia 1

177. Embtel 142;2 Deptel 161.3 You may in your discretion approach King regarding Egypt-Czech arms deal using substance Deptel 160 and in general approach outlined Embtel 142. Efforts encourage Arab leaders dissuade Nasser might have reverse effect however and for this reason do not consider it advisable ask Saudis dissuade Nasser at this time. We feel best approach is merely to inform King our position in view his importance in Arab and Islamic worlds and as you suggest by indirection argue in more palatable form against SAG following similar course.

You may further in manner you feel most effective wish state following:

US cannot agree with Nasser’s statement that West unwilling supply arms. Recent Egyptian request purchase US arms was under active discussion at time Czech deal announced.
Department aware Saudis have received similar offer and is appreciative opportunity King has given us present our views.
US following policy non-intervention affairs of sovereign nations has given no ultimatum to Nasser nor have we asked anyone intervene with him. We have stated our position (Deptel 160) and fact we believe extension such deals other nations not in interests ultimate security Arab world and Islam.
In recalling Gargoni statement (Embdes 314) we wish stress fact that Communism is particularly dangerous in nations of Near East where it can exploit tensions arising from impact new development with consequent serious threats internal subversion. Kruschev on September 17 told East German delegation “Geneva spirit” had not altered basic Communist aims. Soviets, although they have revised other parts Soviet Encyclopedia to conform to “new line” have not revised highly critical articles on Islam.
US has received SAG’s note regarding Dhahran Air Base and will, following receipt of full text, be in communication with SAG concerning it. (Embtel 1545).
US will shortly advise SAG regarding exact cost M–41 tanks and hopes arrange delivery roughly within three months after completion financial arrangements. SAG request M–47 tanks will receive prompt consideration. Telegram follows regarding Ambassador’s talk with Secretary October 5 in which Ambassador requests grant economic and military assistance.6

Soviet Foreign Office and Bulganin statements were pouched September 23.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 774.56/10–255. Secret. Drafted by Newsom and approved by Allen. Repeated to Cairo and Tel Aviv and pouched to Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus, Amman, London, and Paris.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 161, October 2, authorized Wadsworth to follow the guidelines conveyed in telegram 160 if he found them appropriate. (Department of State, Central Files, 774.56/10–255) Telegram 160, October 2, sent to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Jidda, instructed the Embassies in the presentation of U.S. views on the Soviet arms deal with Egypt. (Ibid.)
  4. See footnote 3, Document 175.
  5. In telegram 154, October 7, Wadsworth informed the Department that the Saudi Arabian Government, in a note dated October 4, had informed the Embassy of its intention to modify the Dhahran Airfield agreement and to terminate the agreement if no accord on the modifications were reached before June 18, 1956. The note indicated that the reasons for the action were the existence of the difficulties and misunderstandings in applying the agreement and the failure of the agreement to achieve its intended aim. The note concluded, however, that the Saudi Arabian Government was prepared to enter into immediate discussions to reach an agreement on the desired modifications. (Department of State, Central Files, 711.56386A/10–655) Wadsworth transmitted the full text of the Saudi note in despatch 44 from Jidda, October 11. (Ibid., 711.56386A/10–1155)
  6. See supra.