260. Message From Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is information unrelated to oil.]

In a message from Riyadh [less than 1 line not declassified] 4 December 1973, [less than 1 line not declassified] Prince Fahd, in acknowledging receipt of your message of 3 December, asked that his very [Page 727] warm personal thanks be conveyed to you for your response of 3 December.2 At the same time, Prince Fahd advised also that as a result of a change in plans necessitated by tactical considerations outlined below, he will not be able to visit either Washington or Brussels this week as previously planned.
Prince Fahd asked that you be informed, first of all, that high-level Saudi Government meetings late 3 December and the morning of 4 December resulted in formal approval of the proposition described in paragraph one (C) of my memorandum to you on this subject dated 3 December. This is now firm Saudi Government policy, and this memorandum, by Prince Fahd’s authorization, constitutes official Saudi notice to you of this fact.
The decision against Prince Fahd’s visit to Washington stemmed from the complicating fact that a meeting of Arab oil producers will be held in Kuwait on 8 December. King Faysal and Prince Fahd, supported by a decision of the Saudi Council of Ministers, reached agreement the morning of 4 December that the 8 December meeting in Kuwait would be the most natural and politically desirable forum in which to obtain from the Arab oil producers a binding decision of approval, and not merely a “recommendation,” for the lifting of all oil embargoes and production limitations prior to the convening of the peace conference on condition that in the interim the ceasefire agreement is satisfactorily implemented. At the Saudi Government meetings the night of 3 December and the morning of 4 December a consensus developed that in seeking such a binding decision of approval, Saudi Arabia would be placed in a very difficult position at the 8 December meeting in Kuwait, and probably would be increasing unnecessarily the obstacles to securing such approval, if Prince Fahd had already effectively taken the big step two days earlier in Washington. In the Saudi calculation, it is wiser for them to seek broad approval of a larger group of Arab colleagues in the forum of the Kuwait meeting rather than to take what others might well construe as a unilateral Saudi action in the name of all Arab oil producers and affecting broad Arab interests.
The Saudis are reasonably confident that President Sadat, Asad, and Boumedienne will give them effective support at the Kuwait meeting. Prince Fahd asked that we convey to you his promise that by remaining in the Middle East this week he will be able to ensure that their [Page 728] new oil policy is vigourously carried through to a successful conclusion. Prince Fahd also reiterated the compelling necessity for maintaining the mutual agreement on absolute secrecy. He emphasized that any premature leak of the Saudis’ intention, particularly to the Israelis, could seriously undermine the Saudi position and their prospects for success.

[3 lines not declassified]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 139, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Nov–Dec 1973. Secret; Sensitive. A handwritten notation indicates the message was received in the White House at 11:42 a.m.
  2. Kissinger informed Fahd that he appreciated the December 3 message and that it would be possible to work something out that was “consistent with the principles embodied in the message.” He added that there would have to be “some discussion regarding some aspects such as timing, but on the principles involved the U.S. can give iron-clad assurances.” (Ibid.) Fahd’s December 3 message is in Document 259.