245. Letter From President Johnson to King Faisal 1
The recent visit to Saudi Arabia of Assistant Secretary Talbot was a further indication of our continued great interest in you and your country. The long history of our friendly relations bears witness to the ties between our countries. We are further linked by mutual goals of opposing the spread of Communism through encouraging free peoples to develop their own potentials. Your leadership in guiding the people of Saudi Arabia forward on the road to progress and in ensuring the wise use of resources for development is a most hopeful augury for the future.
Defense of one's country is also an absolute requirement. Unfortunately, diversion of national wealth to this essentially unproductive field is one of the inescapable demands which we all must face so long as the state of the world remains as uncertain as it is. We will seek to be helpful in your effort to modernize your military forces. Secretary McNamara has written to your Minister of Defense, Prince Sultan, giving further recommendations and specific suggestions concerning equipment to meet your security needs. I want you to know that we are greatly interested in the safety and security of Saudi Arabia and sincerely desire to assist you in your defense arrangements, as in your development measures.
Ambassador Hart has reported to me your continuing concern over the presence of large numbers of United Arab Republic troops in Yemen and the threat which you believe they present to your country. This is a concern we share. As you are aware, our goal continues to be to bring about a withdrawal of these troops and a cessation of foreign interference in Yemeni affairs. In pursuing this goal, the security of Saudi Arabia has been uppermost in our mind. We have at no time espoused a policy toward the United Arab Republic which we believed was in any way injurious to the interests of your country. On the contrary, our actions throughout the Near East have continued to be aimed only at promoting harmonious dealings and the reduction of frictions among the countries there.
The statesmanship and patience that you have shown during our long search for a solution by peaceful means in Yemen have been most [Page 474]gratifying. I realize that in seeking to resolve the Yemen dispute, you, as well as we, have frequently met with an uncompromising rigidity. This indeed makes the path of negotiation difficult. But only by our continued joint efforts to follow this path can we hope to develop peaceful relations among all peoples of the Near East. It is in such peaceful relations that Saudi Arabia will find the most lasting assurances for its safety.
I have found exchanges of messages with Your Majesty most valuable. Believe me, your explanations of your position have not fallen on deaf ears. I have welcomed these contacts and hope for the continuation of the spirit of frankness which has marked them. In this spirit I trust we can continue to explore our mutual concerns in the world and deepen the already strong friendship which exists between our two countries.
May God preserve you in good health and grant peace and prosperity to you and your country.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Saudi Arabia, Presidential Correspondence. Secret. Transmitted to Jidda in telegram 559, April 27. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 US/Johnson) The signed original was sent by pouch.↩