91. National Security Decision Memorandum 921


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Administrator, Agency for International Development
  • The Director, U.S. Information Agency
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
[Page 286]


  • U.S. Policy Toward the Persian Gulf

In response to the memorandum of July 30, 1970, “Future U.S. Policy in the Persian Gulf,”2 submitted by the Chairman of the NSC Interdepartmental Group for the Near East and South Asia, the President has:

Approved a general strategy for the near term of promoting cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia as the desirable basis for maintaining stability in the Persian Gulf while recognizing the preponderance of Iranian power and developing a direct U.S. relationship with the separate political entities of the area.
Made a decision in principle not to reduce the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf at this time unless further exploration should prove it politically unacceptable to friends of the U.S. in the area, in which case a special report should be submitted to the President.3
Approved in principle expansion of U.S. diplomatic representation in the lower Gulf but directed the NSC Under Secretaries Committee to assure that this representation is imaginatively adapted to the requirements of this unique area and the pursuit of U.S. interests there.
Directed the NSC Under Secretaries Committee to review plans for U.S. technical and educational assistance and cultural exchange in this area through private as well as public programs to assure the development of imaginative programs consistent with the strategy of promoting orderly development and local responsibility for maintaining stability.
Directed that a special memorandum be prepared for the President’s decision on all significant requests for military assistance from states (excluding Iran and Saudi Arabia) in the Persian Gulf. This memorandum should be prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia and submitted to the Senior Review Group by November 26, 1970.4

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1248, Saunders Files, NSSM 66—NSDM 92—Persian Gulf. Secret. Copies were sent to Moorer and Mayo. In an attached undated memorandum, Kissinger authorized Sisco, as head of the Interdepartmental Group, to take appropriate steps to implement NSDM 92. In particular Sisco was to plan for a continuation of MIDEASTFOR; to prepare for future UN membership of the FAA, Bahrain, and Qatar; to place Kuwait on the list of countries eligible to purchase U.S. arms; and to proceed with planning for required diplomatic posts.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 83.
  3. Sisco informed Kissinger on November 4 that the Departments of State and Defense were taking steps to implement NSDM 92 by maintaining MIDEASTFOR in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf area, homeported in Bahrain. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1276, Saunders Files, Persian Gulf) Faisal was informed December 22. (Telegram 4519 from Jidda, December 23; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 33 PERSIAN GULF)
  4. Apparently the Review Group meeting scheduled for November 26 did not take place.