May 21, 1986

Dear Bob:

For the past two weeks, I have shared your concern for our ability to gain necessary congressional support for the Saudi missile sale in its present configuration. Yesterday I met with the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Sultan, to discuss this issue. Prince Bandar informed me that the Saudi Government, recognizing the particular sensitivity of Stingers being transferred to any country and the importance of the sale to the security of the Persian Gulf area, has decided to withdraw its request for Stingers.

Today I am signing a message to the Senate vetoing S.J. Res. 316, which would disapprove the sale of all missiles included in this notification: AIM - 9L, AIM - 9P, Harpoon, and Stinger. If my veto is sustained, I will proceed with the sale but will not include the 200 Stinger launcher systems and the 600 missile reloads. A subsequent Saudi renewal of their request for Stingers would require the submission of another notification of the sale to the Congress in accordance with Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act.

It is my sincere hope that with this modification of the Saudi request, the Congress will agree to this sale. It remains a vital and timely symbol of U.S. security commitments in the Middle East.


Ronald Reagan