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

22597. Subject: Oil Minister Yamani’s Statements in Japan; Lifting Oil Boycott. Ref: Jidda 528 and 529.2 For Ambassador from the Secretary.

Re Jidda 528, I leave to your judgment whether you take up matter first with Yamani as you recommend. However, it must also be taken up with Saqqaf and this cannot be delayed too long.
Re Jidda 529, we agree that you should see the trio mentioned—Saqqaf, Prince Fahd and Adham. Moreover, we agree with your judgment that if the Saudis wait until the February 14 meeting, they will face a very difficult situation indeed. Therefore, your efforts in the next few days should be directed toward getting the Saudis to move now with the others or alone so that a definitive decision on the lifting of the embargo and production restrictions can be announced before the opening of that meeting.
Re your suggested statement in para 6 Jidda 529,3 here is a somewhat modified form which we would like for you to use in these discussions. You should say that you have heard explicitly from me that I will not be able to continue peace efforts if the boycott and production restrictions are not lifted promptly. You should say that this will become apparent immediately following Tripoli conference if by that time boycott and production restrictions have not been lifted. Furthermore, it seems obvious that Tripoli conference atmosphere is not the best place for such decision to be taken, and therefore it is essential that Saudis move now to firm up favorable decision, with as many others as possible, but alone if necessary.
FYI: We do not believe you should make the point contained in the last sentence of para 6 Jidda 529.4 End FYI.
Rest of the points contained Jidda 529 are fine, with exception of reference to hardships boycott is causing;5 neither now nor at any time in future should you make hardship a point.
In addition, you should remind Saudis of series of assurances I have had from them that boycott would be lifted—first if we would reaf-firm Resolution 242, then if we would get Israeli commitment to disengagement, then if we would get disengagement agreement. We have done all these things, yet boycott continues. Saudis should be aware that USG also has its dignity and will not continue to work for settlement under pressure. They should also understand that what we have done so far has been in spite of pressures, not because of them. It is important not to underestimate seriousness and somber deliberation with which I have authorized you to convey foregoing. If situation remains unchanged, they should know that it cannot help but do damage to U.S.-Saudi relations, however deeply this would be regretted by both of us.
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 207, Geopolitical Files, Saudi Arabia, 4 Jan–6 Feb 1974. Secret; Niact; Immediate; Cherokee; Nodis. Drafted by Sisco and Atherton; cleared by Eagleburger, and approved by Atherton. Repeated Immediate to Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Cairo, and Kuwait.
  2. In telegram 528 from Jidda, February 2, Akins asked if he should discuss with Yamani the upcoming Washington Energy Conference before Akins discussed it with Saqqaf. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 631, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Vol. V) In telegram 529 from Jidda, February 2, Akins wrote, “we must do everything possible to lift the boycott before the February 14 Arab oil conference.” (Ibid.)
  3. In paragraph 6 of telegram 529, Akins wrote that he would tell Saqqaf, Fahd, and Adham that “I have heard explicitly from you that you will not rpt will not be able to continue your peace efforts if the boycott is not rpt not lifted, and that you intend to announce this (or inform them privately) with great regret, immediately after the decisions of Tripoli conference are announced, if they are (God forbid) negative.” The Arab Oil Ministers were scheduled to meet in Tripoli on February 14.
  4. The last sentence of paragraph 6 of telegram 529 reads: “I will say further that I hope you will be willing to reconsider and resume your efforts later, once the boycott is lifted, but I can guarantee nothing.”
  5. In paragraph 7 of telegram 529, Akins suggested he say to the Saudis that “the boycott is causing unusual hardship and if we are forced to endure it much longer, not this administration or any successor will be disposed ever to suggest that Israel move an inch.”