The government of Saudi Arabia has agreed to admit a news media pool from the United States to cover the military deployment underway in the desert kingdom, the Defense Department said yesterday.

"We are working to get the pool in there as quickly as possible," Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams said. He said the small group of reporters and photographers who will travel to Saudi Arabia will be drawn from among Washington-based journalists whose names had been submitted previously to the Defense Department.

"It will be the organizations normally represented on the {Pentagon} pool," Williams said. Generally, they include representatives from the Associated Press and other news services, the television networks, several newspapers and broadcast outlets.

Pentagon officials had been negotiating with Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan over press coverage of the operation, code-named "Desert Shield." There was no press coverage of the initial deployment, and news organizations had been clamoring for access.

"It simply isn't possible to provide adequate coverage of the Saudi desert deployment without having reporters on the ground with the troops," said Jonathan P. Wolman, Washington bureau chief for the AP.

The Pentagon said members of the pool would travel this weekend to McDill Air Force Base in Florida before leaving for Saudi Arabia.

It said a separate regional pool of reporters currently in the Middle East will visit the aircraft carrier USS Independence in the Gulf of Oman and on Tuesday would visit the Aegis cruiser USS Antietam in the Persian Gulf.

Journalists had complained to the Defense Department about being excluded from covering the deployment of thousands of military forces that President Bush ordered earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia is a traditionally conservative society that keeps tight control over who enters the country. No foreign journalists are stationed there permanently, although they have received temporary visas to cover events.