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

303. Embtels 260,2 261,3 262.4 Agree (Embtel 260) starting point and basis for DAF negotiations should be establishment firm foundation for future Saudi–US relations. Believe, nevertheless, no formula should be proposed by either US or SAG at this time. Negotiations during early stages will thus be freer. Note December 12 should suffice indicate US interest for moment. At same time, we continue willing include in present studies any suggestions King may put forward. Ultimate US role in any formula should of course be in accord with current US legislation regarding military assistance and in general harmony with US military aid in other areas of NE.

FYI, USG not prepared retain DAF at any price. Discussions any formula requiring commitment on order of $200 million in grant aid or otherwise even for favorable long–term extension would be entirely out of question. Furthermore, we would seek avoid any formula which would publicly couple commitments military or economic aid with military rights agreement.

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During past four and one–half years US has already spent in Saudi Arabia in excess $54 million on airport facilities and training. AF is providing [provided] for out of the $44 million cash subsidy to Libya where Wheelus Field is located. Grant is labelled economic aid and will be made over twenty–year period. This special arrangement accepted with great reluctance by Defense and Congressional committees in order acquire far broader military operating rights in Libya than we enjoy at DAF. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/12–1355. Secret. Drafted by Newsom and approved by Allen. Sent to Dhahran and repeated to London.
  2. Document 196.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 195.
  4. In telegram 262, December 13, Wadsworth informed Allen that in accordance with the Department’s instructions, he had avoided creating the impression that the United States had taken a formal position on the Dhahran Airfield. The Ambassador also noted that he had avoided asking the King for a “clear–cut” statement or written draft of the “formula” on which he might base future negotiations. (Department of State, Central Files, 711.56386A/12–1355)