7. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya1
Washington, April 23, 1969, 0008Z.
62432. Subject: Arab Governments Financial Support for Fedayeen.
- Department remains very concerned about continued Arab financial support for fedayeen organizations, notably Fatah, sanctioned by Arab governments, particularly Kuwait, Libya and Saudi Arabia.2 We aware of numerous arguments put forth by these governments disclaiming that they contribute directly as governments to fedayeen and of allegedly non-official devices for contributions. It is clear, however, that funds flowing to fedayeen are at least officially sanctioned through withholdings from salaries and similar “voluntary” arrangements.
- Department and concerned posts have repeatedly cautioned Arab governments that financial support to fedayeen who have failed to observe cease-fire and have consistently opposed Security Council Resolution 2423 makes more difficult attainment of peaceful settlement [Page 27] of Middle East crisis, goal endorsed by Arab Summit at Khartoum.4 Equally important, we have made point that fedayeen pose serious threat to internal stability of moderate Arab regimes. Jordan and increasingly Lebanon are prime examples of deleterious effect of fedayeen activities on internal security. Counter argument that Fatah in particular is apolitical and not interested in interfering in internal affairs of Arab countries is becoming increasingly thin in light of recent PLO–Fatah merger.
- We expect that efforts to achieve peaceful Middle East settlement will be entering critical phase over next few months. US-Soviet talks and Four Power discussions are proceeding and, although there have as yet been no major breakthroughs, we do see modicum of progress. We view fedayeen as clear obstacle to peace in the area. Arab argument that there is no alternative to fedayeen struggle in Arab-Israel conflict can be rebutted with argument that an acceptable peace settlement, which would of course include withdrawal which Arabs seek, is a viable alternative to which US has committed its full efforts. As evidence of US active commitment to peace, continuing US–USSR talks, Four Power discussions and Hussein visit5 can be cited.
- During recent Hussein visit to US Jordanians acknowledged that a confrontation with fedayeen in Jordan is inevitable and indicated that GOJ is preparing for it. In Jordan context, we are faced with absurd situation of Kuwaitis, Saudis and Libyans giving financial support to both sides of a potential GOJ–fedayeen confrontation. It can hardly be in net interest of conservative Arabs if moderate Jordanian regime under Hussein seriously weakened and conceivably overthrown by intensifying fedayeen machinations.
- Department is very much aware of sensitivity of Saudi, Kuwaiti and Libyan authorities when USG representatives continue remind them of counter productive aspects of their support for fedayeen—their counter arguments are familiar to us. We also recognize that addressees previous representations to host governments on this question have fallen on deaf ears. Nevertheless, as fedayeen threat to Government of Jordan and Lebanon mounts, matter assumes increasing urgency. Accordingly, Embassies Jidda, Kuwait and Tripoli are requested to take [Page 28] an early opportunity to express the Department’s concern over host governments continuing support for the fedayeen in light of the circumstances outlined above, emphasizing that such effort seems increasingly to run counter to best interests of our moderate Arab friends.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 629, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Vol. I. Secret. Drafted by Robert P. Paganelli (NEA/ARN); cleared in NEA/ARN, AF/N, and NEA/ARP; and approved by Sisco. It was repeated to Algiers, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, Rabat, Tel Aviv, Tunis, and USUN.↩
- In telegram 3078 from Jidda, August 10, the Embassy detailed Saudi assistance to the fedayeen. (Ibid., Vol. II) According to a December 7, 1970, CIA memorandum to Wrampelmeier, Saudi Arabian aid to the fedayeen was $3 million in 1969–1970 and projected to be the same for 1970–1971. (Central Intelligence Agency, ORR Files, Job 80–T01315A, Box 22)↩
- See footnote 6, Document 3.↩
- The Khartoum Conference occurred August 29 to September 1, 1968. At the Conference, Nasser and Faisal resolved their differences over Yemen, and subsidies from the oil producing states for Egypt and Jordan were approved. The Arab heads of state also agreed to take “any necessary steps” to consolidate Arab strength against any possible aggression, and to eliminate “all foreign military bases within Arab territory.” They also decided to enforce the “principles of non-recognition and non-negotiation, and to make no peace with Israel for the sake of the rights of the Palestinian people in their homeland.” (Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, vol. XVI, 1967–1968, pp. 22275–22276)↩
- King Hussein met with Nixon and Rogers on April 8. (President’s Daily Diary; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files)↩