242. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

541. For Talbot and Hart. Propose following talking points for Assistant Secretary Talbot meeting with Faisal,2 which we hope could be on most informal level with minimum number of people present. Presidential letter (now in clearance process)3 and Deptels 4394 and 4895 perhaps useful as background.

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Assume you first will deliver Presidential letter with appropriate remarks. Further to set broad framework for talk, suggest you then mention you have just come from NE Mission Chiefs conference where broad aspects Near East situation were discussed. King might be interested in summary of these discussions particularly as they pertain to Saudi Arabia. Such initial presentation could then lead to following specific points:

Oft repeated US concern for, and friendship with, Saudi Arabia remains unabated. Thus we disturbed over Saudi fears of UAR aggression from Yemen. Our prime concern Yemen has always related to maintenance security and stability Saudi Arabia. This has dominated our actions there. We aim at peaceful solution area disputes and at same time continue willing assist SAG against unprovoked attack. However, Saudi aid to royalists poses problem. Saudi restraint on border would enable us more easily come to SAG assistance, if need be, without complications posed by Saudi assistance to movement in opposition to government in Yemen which we recognize.
Similarly we continuing urge Nasser exercise restraint and resume discussions with Faisal. (Talbot may wish inform Faisal re his recent meeting with Nasser as appropriate.)
In addition continued efforts our Military Training Mission, we endeavor remain responsive to Saudi defense requirements and have offered supply aircraft and ground environment systems (including Hawk surface-to-air missiles if Saudis desire). In response urgent request MinDef Sultan, we now doing utmost obtain C-130 transport on urgent basis despite limited world-wide availability in view great demand for this plane to support US commitments Vietnam and elsewhere.
We greatly encouraged at positive aspects Saudi international relations as reflected in recent SAG-Iran moves to demarcate median line in Gulf. We currently exploring ways in which USG can be helpful in this effort.
Although we not directly involved in problem, we hope similar peaceful solution will be possible to long-standing Saudi border problems with Gulf states and Muscat. (FYI. Suggest Ambassador Hart’s advice be followed on whether to make foregoing point.)
Saudi development program is particularly bright spot and provides basic strength for long-term maintenance Saudi independence. We pleased to be of assistance through such activities as US Geological Survey project and Corps Engineers television construction work. King’s son Prince Muhammad now in Washington discussing with Department of Interior further steps implementation construction plans for desalting plant Jidda. Understand talks are promising. We impressed [Page 471]by planned integration, as described by him, of desalting plant with new Jidda refinery and steel-rolling mill—petroleum fuel to be obtained for former and electricity to be supplied to latter. Hope SAG will be able proceed rapidly with desalting project with our technical assistance.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, ORG 7 NEA. Secret. Drafted by Moore; cleared by Symmes, Frank M. Tucker (EUR/BNA), Officer in Charge of Iranian Affairs M. Gordon Tiger, and Bunte; and approved by Jernegan. Also sent to Cairo.
  2. Assistant Secretary Talbot met with Faisal on April 21 in the course of visiting several countries in the Middle East; see Document 367.
  3. See Document 245; the President’s letter was sent subsequent to Talbot’s visit.
  4. Dated March 9. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 27 YEMEN)
  5. Dated March 26. (Ibid., DEF 12-5 SAUD)