120. National Security Decision Memorandum 1861


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • Chairman of the NSC Under Secretaries’ Committee


  • US Military Supply Policy for the Lower Persian Gulf States and Oman

The President has considered the report of the Under Secretaries Committee forwarded with the memorandum of April 24 from the Acting Chairman of the NSC Under Secretaries’ Committee, “Sale of Defense Articles and Services to Lower Persian Gulf Shaykhdoms and Oman.”2

The President has directed that our policy on this subject should be based on the principles that the primary responsibility for the stability of the Gulf region should fall upon the states of the region, that the US should encourage cooperation among them for that purpose, that a continuing British role should be encouraged and that, within that overall context, the US should play an active and imaginative direct role. Maintaining this US posture will require continuing close consultation with the British and with the friendly states primarily involved in promoting stability in the Gulf area.

The President has approved the provision of military equipment to the states of the Lower Persian Gulf and Oman on a selective basis as described in the memorandum of the Under Secretaries’ Committee. Specifically the following position is approved:

  • —American private firms should be supported in selling to these states reasonable amounts of defense articles and services of a type which will meet their security needs.
  • —In cases where commercial channels are inadequate, these states should be made eligible to receive United States military equipment and services under the Foreign Military Sales Act when that is consistent with the objective of furthering cooperation among the regional states.
  • —As a general rule, the sale of equipment should be arranged in such a way as not to require the presence of United States military [Page 380] personnel in these states on other than a temporary basis for providing advice or maintenance. Private American companies should not be discouraged from providing, in connection with the supply of United States equipment, administrative and training personnel to the region, but every effort should be made not to undermine the ongoing British advisory role there.
  • —The sale of weapons and other types of equipment which could be destabilizing will be carefully reviewed in the light of broader U.S. interests in the area.

The NSC Under Secretaries’ Committee should oversee the implementation of this policy and should provide for review of major requests for sale before licensing or credit is approved.

Haig 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–236, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 186. Secret. Copies were sent to Helms and George Shultz, Director, Office of Management and Budget.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 119.
  3. Haig signed for Kissinger above Kissinger’s typed signature.