74. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the White House and the Department of State1
Secto 8093. White House for the President and Dr. Brzezinski Only From the Secretary. State for Warren Christopher and Peter Tarnoff Only From the Secretary.
As I had told the Lebanese I would do, I raised with Saud the possibility of Saudi financial assistance for Lebanon. He expressed willingness to help with efforts to form a Lebanese army. With respect to economic aid, however, he said Saudi Arabia would prefer it to be in a broader context, such as a consortium effort, and would like to exchange views with us as to the amount, requirements and modalities as to how this might be done.
I raised the report we had had that Saudi Arabia was planning to take the lead in organizing an embargo of Portugal because of the latter’s establishment of relations with Israel.4 I stressed the point that it would be tragic to pull the rug out from under a state that had been a [Page 411] bulwark against Communist inroads. Saud said there was no question of an embargo, which would be unwarranted with a country that was moving away from Communism.
The Saudis said they would be glad to see what they could do with the other Arabs, but hoped we would remain in the organization until the next meeting six months away.5
5. Oil Prices
Saud told me the Saudis intend (want?) to hold off oil price increases through 1978 and are encouraged by recent talks with Iran to believe they could do so.
I explained to Fahd and Sultan our view that submission of the F–15 sale6 had to be held until the Egyptian non-lethal package was through the Congress. They were disappointed but are prepared to accept the delay.
7. Other issues
—I discussed Somalia and the Horn of Africa thoroughly.
—On the question of South Yemen, Fahd urged the importance of a US presence there and said that his recent talk with South Yemeni leaders indicated they wanted to renew relations with US.
—The Saudis said they regretted they could not receive Mike Blumenthal and Jim Schlesinger until after Ramadan but looked forward to seeing them soon thereafter.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Trips/Visits File, Box 106, 7/31/77–8/12/77 Vance Trip to the Middle East: [Progress Reports—Aaron Copy], 8/77. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cherokee. Vance visited Taif from August 7 to August 9.↩
- See Documents 75 and 77.↩
- No memoranda of conversation have been found.↩
- Portugal established relations with Israel in July 1977.↩
- After filing a notice of intent to withdraw from the International Labour Organization in November 1975, the United States ended its membership in November 1977.↩
- See footnote 4, Document 40.↩