The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This electronic-only volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. The subseries presents in multiple volumes a comprehensive documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of both administrations. This volume documents U.S. policy toward the Middle East re[Page IV]gion from February 15, 1973, until December 28, 1976, when Presidents Nixon and Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger devoted much of their attention to the significant impact on U.S. relations with countries in the region following the 1973 October War between Israel and the Arab states.

This period in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region is complex and of sufficient importance that the related volumes have been broken up both chronologically and by area. Readers interested in bilateral relations with the smaller Arab states should consult Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXIV, Middle East Region and Arabian Peninsula, 1969–1972; Jordan, September 1970. Readers seeking a more expansive record of bilateral U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations, in particular, should consult Foreign Relations, Volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969–1974, and Volume XXXVII, Energy Crisis, 1974–1980. Readers in search of records on the Middle East peace process will find additional information in Foreign Relations, Volume XXIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1969–1972, Volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, and Volume XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976. Further documentation on terrorism is available in Foreign Relations, Volume E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–1972, and Volume E–3, Documents on Global Issues, 1973–1976. Finally, additional information on Iran and other topics related to the Middle East region is in Foreign Relations, Volume XXVII, Iran; Iraq, 1973–1976; Volume E–9, Part 1, Documents on North Africa, 1973–1976; Volume E–6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976; and Volume E–8, Documents on South Asia, 1973–1976.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–9, Part 2

Following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Presidents Nixon and Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger devoted much attention to the Middle East region. Though the United States enjoyed cordial relations with every state on the Arabian Peninsula, with the exception of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the U.S. Government was criticized for its relationship with and assistance to Israel during the war. As a result, the 1973–1974 oil embargo, led by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Arab member states against the United States and Western Europe, further complicated U.S. relations with the Middle East. First, growing governmental control over oil production and a rise in oil prices created a troubling financial and diplomatic situation for the United States. Second, the embargo diminished U.S. prestige in the region at the same time that Soviet aid for Iraq and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen enhanced Soviet influence in the Middle East, the long-term effect of which developed into a central aspect of U.S. strategy in the region.

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In response to the oil embargo, the United States strengthened diplomatic relations with wealthy Gulf states responsive to offers of U.S. development expertise, technical aid, and weaponry, particularly military systems battle-tested in the Vietnam conflict and in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The Nixon and Ford administrations courted Saudi Arabia as an economic and strategic U.S. partner, expanded regional Embassies in the Gulf, and defended the presence of MIDEASTFOR in Bahrain. In addition to a valuable new partnership with Egypt, U.S. policy toward the Arabian Peninsula relied heavily on the preservation of relations with Jordan and the development of new and stronger relationships with Oman, Yemen, and the Gulf states, greatly shaping the diplomatic landscape of the post-war period through a comprehensive strategic picture of the Middle East region’s political and military future.

Despite progress in diplomatic relations and a growing U.S. presence in the Middle East, the Nixon and Ford administrations also faced domestic conflicts and challenges. Essential support for, and criticism of, Kissinger’s policy came from U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins. His differences with the administration, including Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, over potential U.S. military action in response to a second oil embargo, led to his firing in 1975. A Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee investigation into inappropriate contract payments to the Saudi Arabian Government as well as congressional scrutiny of arms sales to the Middle East on whole threatened to damage U.S.-Saudi Arabia bilateral relations. The National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, and Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research continually developed and reworked studies and analyses to encompass the far-reaching range and complexity of the region, eventually including the Horn of Africa. Several National Security Study Memoranda reflected aspects of the changing, but still critical, economic and strategic situation in the Middle East, defining policy on the expansion of relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia and the countering of Soviet diplomatic efforts. Despite the complications in the region, U.S. foreign policy was clear and in fundamental agreement with that of Saudi Arabia.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Records of discussion are placed according to the time and date of the conversation rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including [Page VI] marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume. In telegrams, the telegram number (including special designators such as Secto) is printed at the start of the text of the telegram.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does [Page VII] not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Nixon White House Tapes

Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the PRMPA and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice-activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor has made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts produced here. Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document; the transcript represents an interpretation of that document. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in tech[Page VIII]nology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and over time produce more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. The most accurate transcripts possible, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for a full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a transcript, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 13526, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2007 and was completed in 2018 resulted in the decision to withhold 15 documents in full, excisions of a paragraph or more in 11 documents, and minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 25 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the record presented in this volume provides an accurate and comprehensive account of U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East region.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II) in College Park, Maryland, and at the Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition, they are grateful to the Richard Nixon estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for facilitating that access. Research in the Kissinger Papers, including transcripts of telephone conversations, could not have occurred without the kind permission of Henry A. Kissinger.

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Paul Hibbeln collected the documents, made the selections, and annotated them under the direct supervision of three successive chiefs of the Middle East and Asia Division, Edward C. Keefer, Erin R. Mahan, and David Nickles, and under the general direction of three successive General Editors, David S. Patterson, Edward C. Keefer, and Adam M. Howard. Susan Weetman, Carl Ashley, Dean Weatherhead, and Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review. Kristin Ahlberg, Stephanie Eckroth, Keri Lewis, and Heather McDaniel performed the copy and technical editing.

Adam M. Howard, Ph.D.
The Historian
Foreign Service Institute
October 2019