Press Release

Office of the Historian
Foreign Service Institute
United States Department of State
October 23, 2019

This electronic-only volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the foreign policy decision making of the administrations of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This volume documents the formulation of U.S. policy toward the Middle East region as a whole, as well as the development of bilateral relationships with the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, from February 15, 1973, until December 28, 1976. During this period, Presidents Nixon and Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger devoted much of their attention to managing the political, economic and strategic effects of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war on U.S. interests in the 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. The 1973–1974 oil embargo, led by Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries against the United States and Western Europe, compounded the war’s impact and further complicated U.S. relations with most Middle Eastern states. In addition to raising international oil prices and creating a troubling financial situation for the United States, the embargo diminished U.S. prestige in the region at a moment when the Soviet Union’s influence in the eastern Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia appeared to be on the rise.

In response to this situation, the United States strengthened diplomatic relations with recently-independent Gulf states, who were responsive to offers of U.S. development expertise, technical assistance, and military aid. The Nixon and Ford administrations also courted Saudi Arabia as a political and economic partner, bolstered the modest U.S. military presence in the region, and expanded Washington’s diplomatic footprint with the establishment of new Embassies in the Gulf.

This volume was compiled and edited by Paul J. Hibbeln. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at For further information, contact