53. Telegram From the Embassy in Oman to the Department of State1

369. Pass SecDef and CJCS. Subject: Omani Response to U.S. Proposals.

1. (S-entire text)

2. Following is text of Omani response to U.S. proposal, given to Bartholomew by Zawawi in form of memorandum at end of second round of discussions evening February 9. Reporting on discussions and Omani response transmitted septel.2

3. Quote: United States/Sultanate of Oman Military Cooperation.


The response of the Sultanate of Oman Government to the United States proposal is discussed under three headings:

A—Access to facilities.

B—Cooperation in building Oman’s military capability.

C—U.S. commitment to Oman’s security.

Access to facilities:

2—Short term requirements.

A—The request for immediate clearance for surveillance and support flights is agreed in principle subject to normal request procedure and to the limitations of fuel and accommodation at this stage.

B—The requirements to use Masirah as a diversion airfield for aircraft of the carrier wing is agreed in principle, subject to normal operating hours at this stage.

[Page 186]

Other facilities:

3—A—The longer term requirements for facilities for visiting aircraft and ships, improved infrastructure and handling facilities and joint exercises are agreed in principle, subject to further detailed discussion.

B—In considering the improvement of its defense infrastructure the Oman Government would like to propose that consideration be given to the improvement of facilities in the strategically-vital Mussandam Peninsula; in particular the construction of a small deep water port at Khawr Naid and the extension and black-topping of the Khassab airstrip.

Military Assistance Programme:

4—A—The Oman Government takes note of the U.S. Government offer of $25 million in the FY 1980 and $25 million in the FY 1981 and also the intent to encourage the Government of Saudi Arabia to finance other Omani defence requirements.

B—Whilst appreciating this offer the Government of Oman would like to propose that the U.S. Government gives consideration in addition to the provision of a grant in economic assistance to promote the economic and political stability of Oman, without which the enhancement of purely military capability would be valueless.

C—The Government of Oman would wish to relate this grant in aid to its five year development plan and would there propose a sum of $100 million annually for the next five years.

Security backing:

5—The Government of Oman takes note of the assurances of the President of the United States in his State of the Union address, but would wish to see this expressed as a more positive reaction by the United States Government entering into a formal written agreement. End quote.

4. Bartholomew team carrying copy of document to Washington.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P880026–0356. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. These discussions, held between Omani officials and the joint Department of State-Department of Defense delegation led by Bartholomew, were the third part of a regional visit that included Kenya, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia to discuss regional security and U.S. military access. See Documents 49 and 50. In a meeting with Saudi Princes Sultan and Saud on February 11, Bartholomew explained that in Kenya, Somalia, and Oman, the United States “had made specific proposals for access to ports and airports for three purposes: support of in place forces, periodic exercises and to support large forces staging into and through the area on short notice in time of need.” (Telegram 366 from Riyadh, February 12; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P870047–0899; N800003–0357) In telegram 353 from Riyadh, February 11, Bartholomew reported: “Oman Government officials have agreed in principle to all rpt all USG proposals for use of their facilities by our military.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P870047–0874) During an audience with Qaboos on February 10, Bartholomew extended an invitation from Carter to the Sultan to visit the United States, which was accepted “in principle.” (Telegram 397 from Muscat, February 13; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800081–0282)