154. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

  • SUBJECT
    • Reply to King Faisal

King Faisal has written you the letter at Tab B2 expressing his concern for progress toward an Arab-Israeli settlement, reviewing his security interests in the Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean, and wishing you the best in your second administration.

After congratulating you, Faisal thanks you for your involvement in the oil negotiations last August. He then goes on to express regret that none of the efforts to achieve an Arab-Israeli settlement over the past four years has borne fruit. He calls attention to Sadat’s expulsion of the Soviet military technicians and hopes that you may again give the Arab-Israeli problem “your highest consideration.” He urges that this be done by pressing Israel to withdraw and that US assistance be stopped if Israel refuses. He then urges US assistance to Yemen for the sake of stability in the Arabian Peninsula and resistance to Soviet encroachment through Southern Yemen (Aden). He concludes with good wishes.

The letter prepared for your signature [Tab A]3 covers the following points: It reaffirms common objectives shared by the US and Saudi Arabia; reasserts that the Middle East remains among the highest priorities on our agenda; encourages renewed attention to an interim agreement on the Canal while insisting that progress depends on negotiations between the parties themselves; restates our willingness to contribute where we can to stability in the Arabian Peninsula; expresses pleasure on the conclusion of the oil negotiations; and suggests gently that both of us have much to gain from continued close cooperation [Page 391]without having our relationship become too closely tied to the Arab-Israeli conflict.4

This last point is in oblique response to Faisal’s comments to Messrs. Lincoln and Connally that we could not expect to see US-Saudi economic relations expand further as long as the Arab-Israeli impasse remained unresolved.5

Recommendation: That you sign the letter at Tab A. [Text cleared by Mr. Price. Mr. Flanigan has personally cleared the portion dealing with oil.]6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 761, Presidential Correspondence, Saudi Arabia, King Faisal, 1972. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Faisal’s November 12 letter to Nixon is not attached. It is ibid., Box 1287, Saunders Files, Saudi Arabia, 9/1/72–12/31/72.
  3. Brackets are in the original. The letter is dated January 30; attached but not printed. The section on oil reads: “I wish to take this occasion to express my own pleasure at the successful conclusion of negotiations between Your Majesty’s Government and American oil companies having concessions in Saudi Arabia. It is particularly gratifying that this historic agreement was reached through sound and constructive negotiations which took the viewpoints of both sides seriously into account. I am hopeful that this agreement will assure stability in the world oil market, which is in the interest of both our countries.”
  4. According to a January 16 memorandum from Saunders to Kissinger, the letter took into account the completed oil participation negotiations and Faisal’s conversations with Connally and Lincoln. (See footnote 2, Document 147.) Saunders thought it “good to move this now while the situation is stabilized.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 761, Presidential Correspondence, Saudi Arabia, King Faisal, 1972) It replaced other drafts prepared in response to Yamani’s request for a special bilateral relationship, which more explicitly addressed that issue. (Memorandum from Rogers to Kissinger, January 12; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL SAUD–US) See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXIV, Middle East Region and Arabian Peninsula, 1969–1972; Jordan, September 1970, Document 168.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 147.
  6. Brackets are in the original. There is no indication as to whether Nixon signed the letter.