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

188. Joint State/Defense Message. Should Saudi arms evaluation team, currently in US, raise question of surface-to-air missiles, DOD and State plan reply as follows. (Similar statement contained Deptel 516 to Jidda of December 31.)2 If SAG officials broach subject, you should use same approach.

“Surface-to-air (SAM) missiles were seriously considered by Air Defense Survey Team for inclusion in report. Although they have not been recommended for initial stages of development of an air defense capability in Saudi Arabia, SAM’s are logical future addition which might be added after the proposed defense system is operational. Complexity and sophistication of SAM acquisition and control systems, dearth of sufficient trainable personnel even for operation of system presently proposed, adverse impact on development program of absorption large number skilled men into static defense set-up, and the [Page 451]considerable expense of a SAM system are main barriers to recommending such a system for Saudi Arabia. The air defense program presently proposed consists of the basic steps which must be taken towards establishing an adequate air defense. These are the communications nets, the early warning and control radar nets, and the fighterinterceptors required for identification, interception, and destruction, if required.

“In view our continued interest in assisting in developing a viable air defense for SAG, US will of course be willing consider Saudi request for purchase SAM’s at appropriate future time.”

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 1-4 SAUD. Secret. Drafted by Moore; cleared by Stoddart, Padelford, and Warren; and approved by Davies. Also sent to Dhahran and CHUSMTM Dhahran and repeated to London and CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA for Ramsey.
  2. Not found.