291. Letter From President Nixon to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia1

Your Majesty:

I was gratified to hear from Ambassador Akins of his long and fruitful audience with you on January 23.2 It is heartening to me, and a measure of the strength and depth of the friendship between our two countries, that we can exchange views in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect when differences arise between us, and together overcome those differences.

In earlier messages to Your Majesty I have said that events have proven the wisdom of your counsel over the years. My Government is now embarked upon and committed to a course of action that can, I am convinced, bring a just and durable peace to the Middle East. The first fruits of that commitment are reflected in the agreement on the disengagement of forces signed last Friday,3 under which Israeli forces will withdraw into Sinai as a first step toward a final peace settlement in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 338 and 242.

The disengagement of forces provided for in the agreement will begin this Friday4 and will, I am confident, be completed within the period prescribed in the agreement. In addition, during Secretary Kissinger’s last visit to the Middle East5 we have initiated efforts looking toward parallel progress with respect to the Syrian-Israeli and Jordanian-Israeli aspects of a settlement.

I was pleased to hear from Ambassador Akins of the positive view Your Majesty has taken of these achievements on the road to peace, which are in accordance with our earlier assurances to you. It is a source of satisfaction to me that for your part you intend, as soon as the withdrawal of Israeli forces begins, to initiate contacts with other Arab Governments and that you think a favorable decision on lifting the boycott will then be possible. I know the respect in which Your Majesty’s leadership is held among the Arab nations and have full confidence in the outcome of your efforts.

[Page 818]

I would plan to announce this decision when I deliver my State of the Union Message the evening of January 30. This decision by Your Majesty and other Arab Governments will accord with our common interests in working for a free, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East. It will have a most favorable impact on the members of Congress and the American people and will enable the United States to continue our efforts in the search for peace with justice. I look forward to remaining in close touch with Your Majesty during the period ahead which I view with new hope for the future of the Middle East and for the future of the relations between our two countries and peoples.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 139, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Dec 73–Feb 74. No classification marking. The text of the letter was transmitted in telegram 15511 to Jidda, January 24, for immediate delivery to Faisal. (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 290.
  3. January 18.
  4. January 25.
  5. During his January 11–20 trip, Kissinger was in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Syria.