The Saudi-American aid relationship, 1961-1968
This thesis is about the intersection of domestic and foreign politics, and how they can shape the aid relationship between two countries. The United States and Saudi Arabia have shared a connection since the early 20th century, and it was not until the 1960s and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations would that relationship begin to change dramatically. Saudi Arabia's strategic importance was beginning to become realized as oil production began to increase. This increase in natural resources led to Saudi Arabia becoming a critical part of American Cold War politics. Kennedy and Johnson, along with their State Departments, believed that foreign aid was a tool by which they could influence the nations of the world. That is not to say that these policies went unopposed or were free from changing political forces around the world. Congress began to push back on the policies of the President and questioned the role of foreign aid going to governments that do not share the same values as the American people. Congress would not be the only force acting on the Presidents. Changing Saudi domestic politics also forced the State Department to change the way in which they handled the American aid relationship with Saudi Arabia. These forces together, would shape the aid relationship between the two countries for the 1960s and for decades after the scope of this thesis.