37. Notes of a Meeting1


a) He enthusiastically said that he would try to induce the PLO to endorse United Nations Resolution 242, which would be a prerequisite for our opening discussions with the PLO. He will contact the other Arab leaders and the PLO in pursuit of this goal.

He stated that the Palestinians have no where to go if they lose their hope for progress this year.

b) We discussed the concept of a so-called Marshall Plan for the Middle East.2 He quickly disavowed any interest in public association with it at this time because it would involve joint Arab-Israeli developments.

I told him that we would go ahead with a private analysis of the opportunities to explore the idea. He expressed a willingness to help us and other nations with the financing if peace could be achieved and he’s interested in receiving a copy of the report.

c) Fahd asked that we let him or his representatives know how they might help us with our position on the Law of the Sea Conference and also the International Labor Organization Conference. I promised to have the Secretary of State inform his representatives at those meetings.

d) I asked him about getting oil supplying nations to help us with the Southern African questions, particularly Rhodesia and Namibia. He said he knew very little about that subject, but that he would like to be briefed on it and would be eager to prevent any war in the Southern part of Africa which might spread to other aspects and other parts of that continent.

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e) He particularly wanted to describe to me the oil price circumstance. He went into some detail about past differences between himself and the Shah of Iran. The vituperative attacks by Iran on Saudi Arabia, the refusal of the Saudis to respond in like fashion, and for 15 or 20 minutes he described the incident when the South Yemenese shot down an Iranian plane and the Saudis helped to retrieve the airplane and its crew.

Subsequent to that he sent Iran a message asking them their future intentions. They later began friendly discussions. Perez from Venezuela has been over. The Saudis are quite proud of the fact that they held the price of oil down. They have tentatively agreed to raise their price up to the present level established by the other OPEC nations, with the reciprocal understanding that no further increase in prices would be effected during 1977.

The Shah and Perez have been reluctant to go into 1978 and Fahd asked me to use our strongest influence on those nations and others in order to induce them to extend their price freeze through 1978. He thought he might have some luck with Qatar, Kuwait, and perhaps some other of the OPEC nations if we would help with the ones that I mentioned.

f) Concerning Communist countries, the Saudi government does not and will not have diplomatic or other relationships with Communist nations.

g) In the recent conference in Riyadh among the Saudis, Syrians, Egyptians and the Jordanians, there was an agreement that they would remain cool in the aftermath of the Likud victory in Israel and present a responsible Arab image to the world and not inflame the Israelis. They hope that our efforts for peace this year will continue.

h) The Crown Prince repeated his commitment to a step-by-step solution of the Mid East question, provided an agreement was made on the ultimate agreement. He recognizes the present distrust on both sides.

i) They want to retain constant communication with us on major issues. The Crown Prince stated that quite often they did not even know when an international meeting was going to be held and were most often ignorant about our own views and goals before a meeting convened. He requested that they be informed on a routine basis whenever it was important to us.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 66, Peace Negotiations 1977 Vol. I [I]. Top Secret. At the top right corner of the page, Carter wrote, “one copy—To Zbig→Cy” and initialed “J.C.” According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting took place from 10:05 to 11:14 a.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)
  2. Apparently a reference to a development fund Carter had discussed with President Asad on May 9 whereby the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and European countries would finance projects in the Middle East such as dams. See Document 32.