181. Message From King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to President Nixon1

[Omitted here is material unrelated to oil.]

I want to discuss a subject that has been very much in the news over the past four days—the declarations allegedly made by Ahmad Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth, in Washington.2 I understand Zaki has returned to the Kingdom, but I have not yet seen him myself and have therefore not had the benefit of his explanation of exactly what took place. I suspect that he may have been misquoted by the newspaper, but at the moment I am simply not sure.

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[3 lines not declassified] Saudi Arabia’s policy is to cooperate fully with the United States by producing as much oil as we can and by increasing production as quickly as possible. There is no change in that policy, and there never will be. It is permanent and unchanging, just as is our friendship with the United States.

Speaking for myself personally, I would also like to say that I would never expect the United States to modify its commitments to Israel; I would never expect you to discontinue your provision of armament and war materials to Israel, or your political and diplomatic support; that would be completely unrealistic [1½ lines not declassified].

However, I would like you, as our friend, to understand that we need from you ammunition with which to defend our friendship with America in these dangerous times. For example, we completely understood why the United States felt it imperative to condemn publicly and strongly the Khartoum and Munich incidents.3 These were criminal acts. But I would hope that the American Government and people, who are generous and open-minded, would appreciate how much it would help us in Saudi Arabia if we could show our Arab friends that the American Government regards the recent Israeli action in Beirut4 as a crime of the same genus, especially since it was an official act of a legitimate government carried out on the soil of a peaceful neighbor who is also a traditional friend of America.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to oil.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Scowcroft Daily Work Files, Box 2, Chronological File A, May 16–20, 1973. Secret; Sensitive. The message was received from Prince Fahd in Jidda on April 24 and transmitted to Kissinger on April 26.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 178.
  3. On March 1, members of Black September captured the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, taking hostages and demanding the release of Palestinian militants. The hostages included Saudi, Belgian, Jordanian, and two American diplomats who were later killed along with the Belgian diplomat. The guerrillas surrendered 60 hours later, releasing the remaining hostages. A Sudanese court sentenced them to life in prison, later commuted to seven years, in June 1974. They were subsequently sent to Cairo where three of them disappeared and the others served out their sentence. Regarding the Munich incident, see footnote 6, Document 176.
  4. See footnote 6, Document 176.