92. Memorandum From K. Wayne Smith of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Eligibility of Kuwait for Foreign Military Sales

Enclosed (Tab B)2 is a memorandum to the President from Secretary Rogers which recommends that

  • —The President make a formal determination that the furnishing defense articles and defense services to Kuwait will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace. Such a determination is required by Section 3(a)(1) of the Foreign Military Sales Act to establish Kuwait’s eligibility for cash or credit sales.
  • —Although not required by law, the Congress be notified of this determination in keeping with past practice.

The case for selling Kuwait modest amounts of military equipment (presumably on a cash basis since Kuwait has a very strong foreign exchange position) seems to be valid since

  • —The British are terminating their defense commitment to Kuwait (although they will continue to provide some equipment and training).
  • —In the wake of the British decision, Kuwait is interested in diversifying its sources of supply for military equipment and would apparently like to make some purchases from the U.S.
  • —Kuwait faces an external threat from its unpredictable and radical neighbor Iraq, which laid claim to Kuwait in the early sixties and has raised a number of border disputes since then. It is in the U.S. interest to help Kuwait deter this threat since military action in the area could disrupt the supply of Kuwait oil to Western Europe.
  • —Kuwait also has an internal security problem, given the large number of Palestinians in the country, and we have been encouraging improvement of Kuwait’s internal security forces.
  • —The volume of sales involved would be modest given the small size of Kuwait’s armed forces (8,000 man army, 50 man air force).
  • —There are no economic development issues raised by Kuwait’s military purchases since Kuwait’s military purchases since Kuwait’s economy and balance of payments position are very strong.


That you approve for the President the memo to Secretary Rogers at Tab A making the Presidential determination required by Section 3(a)(1) of the Foreign Military Sales Act so that the President’s signature can be machine-signed.3

Hal Saunders concurs.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1270, Saunders Files, Kuwait. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Tab B, Rogers’s December 22 memorandum, is attached but not printed. Rogers also signed another December 22 memorandum to the President, which placed the decision to sell arms to Kuwait in the larger context of oil supply, oil wealth for regional social and economic development, and U.S. balance of payments. (Ibid.)
  3. Kissinger initialed his approval. Attached but not printed at Tab A is a December 22 memorandum from the President to Rogers.