146. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

28217. Subject: Saudi Desire to Acquire F–15 Aircraft. Ref: Jidda 585,2 State 17333,3 Jidda 1015.4

We believe it would be better if Saudis decided they could hold off, at least for a while, in submitting their official request to purchase F–15s. We appreciate this is a delicate matter and we leave it up to you how to handle with SAG. At your discretion, you may wish to brief Sultan on the contents of State reftel. We do not in the end, however, wish to press SAG in way that makes submission of their letter itself an issue between us.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770045–0304. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Twinam; cleared by Sober, Ericson ( PM/SAS), and Fifer (DOD/ISA); approved by Atherton. Sent for information Priority to CHUSMTM and USCINCEUR.
  2. See Document 145.
  3. In telegram 17333 to all diplomatic posts, January 26, the Department referenced Carter’s January 23 statement on U.S. arms transfer policy and indicated that U.S. officials, if queried, “may inform host governments that, as President clearly indicated, it is not repeat not our intention to place freeze on all arms transfers.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770027–1041). Carter made the statement during a January 23 interview with AP and UPI correspondents; see the Department of State Bulletin, February 14, 1977, pp. 123–124.
  4. In telegram 1015 from Jidda, February 7, the Embassy highlighted topics of discussion, primarily related to security assistance, in advance of Vance’s trip to Saudi Arabia February 19–20. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770042–1068) For information concerning the visit, see Document 148.