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

96790. Ref: Jidda’s 2074.2 Subject: Mobility Modernization.

Realize difficulties faced by Sultan if, as probable, Mobility Modernization purchases include items from boycotted firms. However, [Page 539] Saudis must realize boycott issue also of sensitivity in US and recent decision on Ford, Coke, RCA could in fact trigger action in next session Congress seriously damaging to broad USG policies in Near East. In face this situation we particularly desire avoid any appearance acceptance boycott decisions which could arise from, for instance, removing Ford nameplates as suggested reftel. (In any event latter action would be only of marginal usefulness since Ford parts, clearly labeled, present in many US-procured military vehicles even though chassis may be product another firm.)
Believe your best approach under these circumstances continues lie in emphasizing Mobility Modernization equipment being procured from USG and thus is outside boycott framework. In this regard we note from Amman 13483 that Jordan obtained specific Boycott Committee exemption for continued import of Ford military trucks. Similarly Saudis may be able justify their purchases under provisions “public purchase sanctuary” for which there are precedents. (e.g., Various messages sent inter alia to Jidda in spring this year re problem Emb Taiz import Jeep showed Jordan, Syria, UAR and Saudi Arabia all allowed some importation of either Jeeps or Jeep spares for army use.)
Dept/DOD will do all possible eliminate publicity on names of suppliers but obviously USG does not have complete control over question publicity.
Dept Army has cabled in AMC 48720, Dec 2,4 list potential suppliers Mobility Modernization package. Suggest if at all possible you avoid giving Mansouri specific names at this time when boycott taking such prominent place in Arab concerns.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19-4 US-SAUD. Confidential. Drafted by Moore and Korn; cleared by Quinn, Sterner, Fredericks, Warren, Colonel Cochran of the Corps of Engineers, Assistant Legal Adviser for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Donald A. Wehmeyer, and Thieberger in substance; and approved by Brewer. Repeated to Dhahran, CINCSTRIKE, CHUSMTM Dhahran, and DIV ENGR MED Leghorn Italy.
  2. In telegram 2074 from Jidda, November 29, Eilts reported his conversation with Mansouri, a legal adviser to Prince Sultan who had played a key role in negotiating the Mobility Modernization package. Mansouri had been asked by Sultan to seek the Ambassador’s assistance in helping the Saudi Arabian Government to avoid the political stigma arising from purchase of equipment from U.S. firms on the Arab boycott list. Eilts had responded that the U.S. Government too was sensitive to the boycott issue and could not condone or approve it. He stressed that the vehicles were being purchased by the Saudi Arabian Government from the U.S. Government and not directly from U.S. manufacturers. He also emphasized that if the Saudi Government attempted to exclude boycotted firms, delivery schedules would be retarded and prices would rise. (Ibid.) Documentation pertaining to the Arab boycott of Israel is ibid., FT 11-2 ISR-ARAB.
  3. Dated December 1. (Ibid.)
  4. Not found.