189. Paper Prepared by Samuel Hoskinson and Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff1


Arabian Penninsula Affairs: Kamal Adham, the highly regarded Saudi intelligence chief, has informed us about the most recent developments in the budding security arrangements between the Saudis, Jordanians, and Iranians. His main points were:

  • —He was going to Iran to discuss joint Saudi-Iranian military aid to northern Yemen. The idea was that the Iranians would start off by providing an alternate source of military supply since they had Soviet equipment and spares needed by the Soviet-oriented Yemen military machine. Then after the Iranians had reoriented the Yemenis toward Western arms the Saudis would join in an assistance role. He asked that the U.S. cooperate in the release of equipment of U.S. origin.2
  • Adham also intends to discuss with the Shah the possibility of a coordinated area policy between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt aimed at the “neutralization” of the entire area through the elimination of all foreign military presence. The Arab and Iranian forces would then maintain regional security themselves.
  • Adham said that Saudi-Omani relations were developing extremely well. With the full knowledge and backing of the Saudis, the Jordanians were sending “500 Army commandos” to fight in Dhofar, and the Saudis had told Sultan Qaboos not to worry about the costs of this operation.
  • —The Saudis, according to Adham, also support defense and security assistance to the Persian Gulf states by Jordan, particularly in [Page 581] the form of expertise. They would take a dim view, however, of the Jordanians providing any surplus arms at this particular stage.

Some of this may well be reflected in the President’s talk with the Shah3 since the latter thinks very highly of Adham who has been one of the prime behind-the-scenes movers of the security relationship beginning to develop between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran. Adham, interestingly enough, also has a close personal relationship with Sadat and has been instrumental in the considerable improvement in relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt since Nasser’s death.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1287, Saunders Files, Saudi Arabia. Secret. A typed notation reads: “For HAK.” This paper was not included in the President’s Friday (May 12) briefing. (Ibid., Box 41, President’s Daily Briefing Files, May 1–May 16, 1972)
  2. The Department notified the Embassy in Jidda that it was investigating the legal problems involved in the transfer of U.S. military equipment to Yemen by Saudi Arabia or Iran. (Telegram 82456 to Jidda and Tehran, May 11; ibid., Box 630, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Vol. III) In telegram 89421 to Jidda, Tehran, Kuwait, and Sanaa, May 20, the Department noted that it was willing to review on a case-by-case basis requests from Iran or Saudi Arabia to transfer FMS items to Yemen, but the absence of diplomatic relations with Yemen meant only weaponry purchased by Saudi Arabia or Iran on a cash basis could be legally transferred to Yemen. Thus no MAP items or items bought on credit under FMS could be transferred. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19 IRAN–YEMEN)
  3. Nixon visited Tehran May 30 and 31 on his return from the Moscow Summit. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–4, Documents on Iran and Iraq, 1969–1972, Documents 200 and 201.
  4. Attached but not printed is telegram 839 from Kuwait, May 10. The Yemeni intention to shift its entire military procurement from Soviet to Western sources, with the help of Saudi Arabia and Iran, had been affirmed as early as March 30. Maswari had met with Iranian officials as had the Saudis who broached the topic of surplus Iranian F–5s replacing Yemen’s obsolescent MiG–17s. (Letter from Helms to Kissinger, Rogers, and Laird, April 7; Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Files, Job 80–B01086A, Box 3)