241. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Battle) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


  • Status of Matters Flowing From Meeting Between the President and King Saud at White House on February 131
Economic Assistance for Saudi Arabia: On the basis of recommendations received from our Embassy in Jidda and after close consultation with AID we have agreed on an approach which includes the following ingredients:
The early dispatch of a two-man economic mission to Saudi Arabia to consult with the Saudi Supreme Planning Board and the Saudi Government concerning areas of economic need and;
The early dispatch to Saudi Arabia of three five-kilowatt radio transmitters for use in Saudi Arabia’s domestic service as a gift to King Saud. We regard this as an earnest of our desire to be responsive to the King following the White House meeting and to maintain the momentum in the development of our relations which King Saud’s visit here has produced.
Credit Terms for Latest Saudi Arms Purchase Request: We are still exploring the possibility of extending credit terms to the Saudis with respect to their latest request for purchase of approximately $16 million worth of arms. We have informed the Saudis that we are not sanguine of success and that we shall provide them with a definite reply within the coming weeks. It is almost certain that in order to service this request we must deprive other more exigent programs of an equivalent amount of funds. We believe that our favorable response with regard to the King’s personal request for radio transmitters will cushion the effect of a negative response with regard to the arms credit.
Relinquishment of U.S.G. Operation of the Dhahran Airfield: On April 2 we officially turned over the operation of the Dhahran Airfield to the Saudi Arabian Government and have left behind sufficient equipment for the Saudis to operate the airfield in accordance with our 1957 agreement. We have also offered for sale to the Saudis other types of equipment which the Saudis have requested to purchase. An American [Page 586] contracting firm has been sub-contracted by the Saudi Arabian Government to operate the airfield services and is being assisted by ICAO communications technicians.
Negotiations on the U.S. Military Training Mission: Our Ambassador in Jidda is now undertaking negotiations with the Saudi Arabian Government on this subject. The revised agreement which he proposes to submit to the Saudis has now been amended and approved by State in close consultation with Defense. We expect negotiations to be completed within the next two or three months.
Irritants in U.S.-Saudi Relations: In response to the President’s comments to the King during the White House meeting on February 13, the King has released from customs the backlog of equipment consigned to the Consulate General at Dhahran and has promised to expedite further customs clearances. In addition, the King has been cordially responsive with regard to problems which our Ambassador has called to his personal attention involving the phase-out of our operations at Dhahran Airfield and negotiations on the new military training mission agreement.
N.A. Veliotes2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/4–1162. Secret. Drafted by Seelye on April 9 and cleared by Talbot, Gaud, Duncan (NE/E), Colonel Kettlehut (NR), and Strong.
  2. See Document 191.
  3. Veliotes signed for Battle above Battle’s typed signature.