234. Memorandum for the Record1
- Minutes of the Meeting of the Special Group (CI); 2 p.m., Thursday, December 3, 1964
- Governor Harriman, General Wheeler, Mr. McCone, Mr. Rowan, Mr. Solbert vice Mr. Vance, Mr. Gaud vice Mr. Bell, Mr. Brubeck
Mr. McElhiney was present for Item 1.b
Ambassador Hart and Mr. Davies were present for Item 2
Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting
[Here follows discussion of the counterinsurgence intelligence summary.]
2. Saudi Arabia
Ambassador Hart informed the Group that Saudi Arabia/United States relations are good and that the present government is attempting to build for the future from a good base rather than pointing its program towards an immediate threat. He said that the danger comes more from forces within Saudi Arabia, rather than externally. He pointed out that the present plan of the Government of Saudi Arabia is “for the people,” and there is no evidence that the people oppose the plan at this time. He said that for all practical purposes Saudi Arabia runs a welfare state, though the government is anti-Socialist, anti-Ba’athist, and certainly anti-Communist; they do not maintain relations with any Communist nation. He reminded the group that Nasser’s failure to achieve upheaval in Saudi Arabia in ’62 and ’63 has given the government renewed confidence in its own ability.
Ambassador Hart continued by saying that Faisal’s image abroad has suffered because of his recent deposed brother’s reputation, but that his image at home is definitely improving.2 He suggested that correspondents visiting the country can assist in improving his image by observing and reporting progress and giving credit where it is due. He commented also on the sensitivity of the Saudis to absence of public support by the United States and requested that any visiting US dignitaries to the Near East who go to Cairo not by-pass Saudi Arabia.[Page 455]
Ambassador Hart strongly recommended that a high-ranking labor advisor be assigned to assist in the organization of emerging labor forces. He suggested that we look favorably on such requests for technical assistance as managerial, administrative, and technical advisors. He informed the Group that we have been asked to assist in the English language training program and to provide advisors for the new University of Jidda, which they will finance. He pointed out that the Country Team wishes to expand its cultural center in Jidda in order to provide our own English language training facilities and hoped that the necessary $5,000 can be found for this purpose. He recommended continued US military assistance for the regular armed forces and that the British continue to advise the National Guard (White Army) and provide police training. He suggested that we consider assistance for some proposed engineering projects, which in the long run might stimulate US-Saudi trade.
General Wheeler observed that Saudi Arabia could prove to be the key to the entire peninsula, that this new Arab approach in developing free enterprise will be a good example to the others if it succeeds.
Mr. McCone pointed out that we should consider Saudi Arabia in its true perspective, recognizing that enormous progress has been accomplished in the last 25 years both physically and culturally. Ambassador Hart agreed, but emphasized that progress must proceed slowly because the elder generation is very conservative; the young people are coming along fine and being trained for the future.
The Chairman thanked Ambassador Hart for appearing before the Group, requesting that he leave a list of his requests and stating that they would receive sympathetic consideration.
Special Group (CI)