288. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) 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:2 The members of the economic mission to Saudi Arabia have been selected and are expected to arrive in Jidda on June 15. The mission will include an economist who is a Middle Eastern specialist, an agricultural-water expert, and a transportation specialist.
Gift of Three 5-Kilowatt Radio Transmitters:3 In order to expedite shipment of the transmitters, which were urgently requested by King Saud, AID secured a waiver of the bidding procedure and placed an order directly with a firm which displayed special competence, quoted a reasonable price and indicated a desire to service the order rapidly. The three transmitters are scheduled for shipment from the United States on July 1, August 1 and September 1, respectively.
Credit Terms for Latest Saudi Arms Purchase Request:4 The Department has officially requested AID to arrange with the Department of Defense a $16 million credit for the latest Saudi request for purchase of arms. Although we have indicated to the Saudis our pessimism about obtaining credit, the prospects now appear more favorable than before.
Saudi Concern with British Role in Southern Arabia:5 During the White House conversation King Saud referred to the British policy of “colonialism” in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, including Buraimi, and asked the President to seek to modify British policies in the area. The President promised to look into the matter and said that Department officials would be in touch with him further. Acting Assistant Secretary Grant gave the Saudi Ambassador a run-down of the U.S. [Page 707] position (Department telegram 285 to Jidda, enclosed)6 on February 21 and our Ambassador in Jidda was requested to do the same with the Saudi Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry’s reply was submitted in an aide-mémoire dated April 15, which the Embassy has forwarded under the cover of a despatch (Jidda Despatch No. 301, enclosed).7 The essence of the Saudi Arabian Government’s reply is to reiterate that it will not resume diplomatic relations with the U.K. until the Buraimi dispute (now being explored by a special UN representative) is settled.
Saudi Apprehensions About U.S. Aid to the U.A.R.:8 The King’s apprehensions about U.S. economic aid to the United Arab Republic, which were communicated to the President in February, have increased. The Saudis now appear to feel our aid to the U.A.R. implies a lessening of U.S. concern for Saudi Arabia. In their bitter propaganda exchange with Cairo they are claiming that Nasser, by accepting large amounts of U.S. aid, has betrayed the Arab position vis-à-vis the Israelis. Ambassador Hart has recently sought to reassure the King that U.S. aid to Nasser does not imply any lessening of American regard for Saudi Arabia.
C.K. Johnson9
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/6–462. Secret. Drafted by Killgore (NEA/NE) and Seelye on May 31 and cleared by Strong, Wright (AID), and Padelford (NR).
  2. See Document 191.
  3. Documentation is in Department of State, Central File 811.0086A.
  4. Documentation is ibid., 986A.40.
  5. Documentation is ibid., 786A.5, 785A.5–MSP, and 886A.10.
  6. Documentation on U.K.-Saudi differences over Buraimi is ibid., 780.022 and 641.86A.
  7. Dated February 24, not printed. (Ibid., 811.0086A/2–2462)
  8. Dated May 2, not printed. (Ibid., 641.86A/5–262)
  9. Documentation on U.S.-Saudi discussions on this topic is ibid., 611.86A. See also Supplement, the compilation on Saudi Arabia.
  10. Johnson signed for Brubeck above Brubeck’s typed signature.