225. Telegram From the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to the Department of State 1
One of strongest aspects our position Saudi Arabia has been relationship personal trust and confidence developed between President and Prince Faysal. During Kennedy administration this stemmed from highly satisfactory personal contact of President with Crown Prince in October 1962 which was maintained and strengthened through letters exchanged in ensuing months. Similar Johnson-Faysal relationship commenced by President’s cordial letter December 19, though since then we have not had another appropriate occasion for full length exchange views through letter and there has, of course, been no opportunity for face to face meeting.
Saqqaf’s visit Washington seems offer chance which should not be missed for further building kind of personal ties and friendship to which Faysal attaches great importance and which could stand us in particularly good stead during weeks ahead. Call on President by Saqqaf, who is probably Faysal’s closest and most influential advisor, would provide excellent substitute for President-Crown Prince meeting and would be more effective than Presidential letter for which in fact we see at moment no appropriate peg. Saqqaf would be immensely complimented by being granted brief interview, his confidence and friendship for US would be doubly reinforced, and his influence with Faysal as spokesman for strong ties with US and policy of restraint and cooperation with other Arab countries would be materially strengthened.
Should Department, White House find possible work brief Saqqaf interview into President’s schedule suggest President Johnson might wish take opportunity send to Faysal through Saqqaf expression warmest personal regards and admiration for Faysal’s leadership and determination carry Saudi Arabia on road social, political, economic progress. Faysal’s endeavors adapt hallowed values, traditions and principals of ancient society to evolving needs and challenges modern times attracting increasing public sympathy and interest in US. President [Page 433]hopes CP will feel free communicate with him directly on matters mutual interest. In closing President might express to Saqqaf his appreciation Saqqaf’s own role in aiding evolution statesmanlike Saudi policy toward Yemen problem. US sincerely believes CP took wisest step in withdrawing from involvement Yemen civil war and in providing active support to UN instrumentalities seeking resolution difficult Yemen problem. We realize from our own experience value of inexhaustible patience and ingenuity in dealing thorny seemingly insoluble situations. We confidently hope Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated these qualities in such large measure with regard Yemen problem, will not be deflected from present policy of disengagement from Yemen struggle to return to role active support for Royalists. This would distress USC which for its part is loyal to disengagement principle and has recently renewed its representations to UAR on this subject. It is confident that disengagement will eventually be completed.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL SAUD. Confidential; Priority.↩
- Dated May 7. (Ibid., POL SAUD-UAR)↩
- In telegram 1030 from Jidda, May 6, Ambassador Hart reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf would arrive in Washington on Stay 12 and transmitted his recommendations for the visit. Ibid., POL 7 SAUD)↩