184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the United States Liaison Office in Riyadh1

30211. Military handle as Specat Exclusive. Subject: SecDef Brown Visit: Joint U.S.-Saudi Planning Committee. Refs: A) State 17130;2 B) Jidda 890 (Notal);3 C) Jidda 625 (Notal).4

(S) Entire text.

1. We are aware of the deep Saudi desire to see a clear reaffirmation of the U.S. commitment to the security and integrity of Saudi Arabia and to the region, as expressed by King Khalid in his most recent letter to the President (ref B). We have examined closely the options available to us within the context of what is possible as well as desirable. In this regard we appreciate your comments reftel C. There is both great practical and political merit in intensifying consultations on security matters.

2. With this in mind, Ambassador in scheduled Feb. 4 meeting with Foreign Minister may confirm our interest in periodic security consultations and that in this connection we see Secretary Brown’s visit as initiating this new dialogue which will continue through the Crown Prince’s Washington visit. (FYI. We expect Secretary Brown will pro[Page 600]pose a formal mechanism for regular consultations, but we prefer to let SecDef develop this in course of his discussions and therefore prefer that you not preview this to Saudis beforehand. End FYI.) In preparation for Brown discussions, you might suggest that SAG carefully prepare detailed appreciation of their security perceptions to present to Secretary Brown.

3. FYI: We do not envision the joint committee at this time engaging in the kinds of specific contingency planning the Saudis may have in mind. Rather, we view the committee as a high-level consultative mechanism for intensifying the U.S.-Saudi dialogue on security issues. End FYI.

Vance
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850027–2444. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Bodine; cleared by William H. Marsh (T), Kreisberg, O’Donohue, Murray, Sick, and Leo R. Wollemborg (S/S–O) and in substance by John D. Forbes (P); approved by Saunders. Sent for information Immediate to Dhahran, the White House, Department of Defense, CHUSMTM Dhahran, and USMTM Riyadh.
  2. See footnote 8, Document 177.
  3. See Document 182.
  4. In telegram 625 from Jidda, January 23, the Embassy provided responses to the questions posed in telegram 17130 to Jidda, January 22, indicating complete approval “of the proposals outlined” in telegram 17130. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850027–2224)