WASHINGTON (Apr. 8)
United States and Saudi Arabia have formally agreed to a five-year renewal of the Dharhan Airbase lease, the State Department announced today. Under the arrangements, it was stated that American Jews will continue to be barred from the field. American officials explain that it is a function of Saudi Arabian sovereignty to exclude individuals it does not desire.
Officials made known the subject of excluding American Jews from the base was discussed with Saudi officials. They said the Saudi practice was related to the Arab-Israel dispute and that they doubted a change in procedure until that conflict was solved. The agreement was signed by Deputy Under Secretary of State Robert Murphy and Saudi Arabian Ambassador Sheikh Abdullah Al Kyayyal on April 2.
Previous arrangements provided Saudi Arabia with artillery, tanks, basic ground force equipment, and training aircraft. Under the new arrangements Saudi Arabia will continue to receive these military supplies. In addition, the Arab state is expected to receive jet aircraft for training purposes. A limited program for the training of naval personnel will also be set up for the first time. Envisaged are the addition of a few small ships. A project to improve the port of Damman is expected to complement U.S. help to the Saudi navy.