283. Telegram From the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to the Department of State 1

328. Subj: Oil Deliveries to U.S. Fleets Stopped. Ref: Jidda 5763.2

Ahmad Zaki Yamani, Saudi Minister of Petroleum, who is back in Saudi Arabia for 36 hours asked urgently to see me today.
He reviewed the decision that had been taken to resume oil deliveries to the Sixth and Seventh Fleets, said that the only Saudis who knew of the decision were the King and Prince Saud, Yamani’s deputy. He had informed Frank Jungers President of Aramco in the presence of Prince Saud of this decision and asked that all oil transfers be outside Saudi Arabia; i.e. that no books in Saudi Arabia would show that the deliveries had been made.
Jungers, however, called in the Minister of Petroleum staff in Dhahran, told them that Yamani had given orders that the U.S. fleet be supplied and instructed them to handle deliveries accordingly. The Petroleum Ministry staff denied that such an order existed; one senior staff member flew to Europe to question Yamani who promptly denied that there was any such order.
Yamani, who said he was furious, immediately summoned Jungers who met with him in Madrid.3 Jungers admitted he had erred; but the damage was done.
Yamani said he will take the matter up again with the King “if I have time.”
I said the action was deplorable and inexcusable, but the whole matter of supplies to the fleets was now academic as the fleets could be supplied normally when the boycott is lifted tomorrow. (Yamani said the boycott would not be lifted tomorrow. See following cable.)4
Comment: Frank Jungers is an excellent technician, but is not noted for his political astuteness. Aramco had not told us of this decision, and I assume the parent companies have not told the Department. It is just conceivable that Aramco is trying to conceal from us this action and Junger’s role in it until the boycott is lifted, an action they are counting on very soon.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 139, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Dec 73–Feb 74. Secret; Niact; Immediate; Cherokee; Nodis.
  2. Document 275.
  3. According to telegram 333 from Jidda, January 21, it appeared that by the time Jungers and Yamani met in Madrid, the highest levels of ARAMCO “may have known for more than a week that oil deliveries agreement derailed.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 631, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Vol. V)
  4. Document 284.