News In Brief

Reagan to Fahd: US will help to protect Gulf area

President Reagan, faced with an escalating crisis in the Persian Gulf, has reaffirmed a pledge to help protect the region in a personal message to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, administration officials said Monday. But the letter was said to make clear that, to do this, US aircraft would need access to Saudi airfields.

The officials said the message, carried to Riyadh by Assistant Secretary of State Richard Murphy, repeated that any use of US military force would have to be at the request of and in close coordination with the Gulf countries.

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