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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Kennedy Administration > Volume XVIII
Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XVIII, Near East, 1962-1963
Released by the Office of the Historian
Documents 66-94

66. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 3, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-362. Secret. Drafted by Seelye on October 10.

Yemen Situation

Ahmad Zabarah, Charge d'Affaires, Yemen Legation, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Talcott W. Seelye, NE

Mr. Zabarah reiterated his impassioned statements, enunciated earlier in person and over the 'phone on several occasions during the previous week, regarding the turn of events in Yemen. He asked the US to save Yemen from the Egyptians, and to help Prince Hassan to restore the Imamate. He noted the ultimatum by the USSR and the UAR that all other parties should keep "hands off" Yemen. The U.S. should make a similar statement and specifically have reference to USSR-UAR involvement in Yemen. He deplored the interview accorded by Ambassador Badeau to Ayni, Foreign Minister of the revolutionary regime. He said the Cairo press and radio had made political capital out of this interview. He said, "You are not only letting your friends down, but encouraging your enemies."

With regard to events inside Yemen, Mr. Zabarah claimed that the executions of officials of the Imamate regime would lead to revenge killings since a number of key tribal groups had been affected. He said the absence of an Imam would do violence to traditional religious practices in Yemen; Zaydi tenets require the existence of the Imam especially as a leader for prayer. Yemenis are now staying away from prayers.

Mr. Seelye explained in some detail the reasons why the U.S. cannot become actively involved in the Yemeni situation (e.g. such as supporting Prince Hassan) and assured Mr. Zabarah that we were in no hurry to extend recognition. He said that if and when we decided to recognize the new regime, we would inform Mr. Zabarah in advance.


67. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy/1/

New York, October 4, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/10-462. Secret; Limit Distribution..

Next Steps on the Johnson Plan

The Johnson Plan has reached the press in New York (source unknown) and the gist of it has been published./2/ It follows that pressures will mount on Israel, on the Arab states, on the United States, and on France and Turkey as the other members of the Palestine Conciliation Commission to make their positions on the Plan known. We, therefore, must be in a position shortly to take a reasonably clear stand, yet at the same time avoid use of language which would precipitate a public rejection by Israel. If it becomes necessary to say something more publicly, we propose stating our belief that the Plan seems to us to have real possibilities and deserves the most careful and sympathetic consideration by the interested governments. We would avoid pledging all out US support or engaging our prestige on the outcome.

/2/Circular telegram 574 to certain Near Eastern, African, and European posts, October 2, reported that a substantially accurate summary of the main elements of the Johnson Plan, written by journalist Milton Freudenheim, had appeared in the Chicago Daily News and The Washington Post on October 2. The telegram also transmitted the text of the Department of State spokesman's comment. (Ibid., 325.85/10-262)

We continue to believe we must keep the approach of the Plan in play. If it is to be rejected, it must be rejected either by both the Arabs and Israel or by the Arabs alone, preferably the former. The Arabs have been careful thus far to avoid formal rejection of the Plan, although this could be their effort to throw the onus of rejection upon Israel. It continues to be in Israel's interest, and ours, that the onus for rejection not fall on Israel alone, and we should keep stressing this to them.

Keeping the matter in play involves continuing talks with the Israelis, agreed to by Mrs. Meir, to be conducted by Assistant Secretaries Talbot and Cleveland with Ambassador Harman over the next four or five weeks. It involves avoidance by any United States official of any indication to Israel that we consider the Plan dead. I declined to agree with Mrs. Meir that the Plan is dead, telling her that the two words "Johnson Plan" should not serve to prevent a profitable discussion of how we can proceed on the problem of Arab refugees. We should take this approach with Harman.

I propose in their discussions with Ambassador Harman that Messrs. Talbot and Cleveland undertake detailed exploration of the Israeli attitude on Arab refugees, determine what the Israelis in fact are willing to do, determine what additional explanations or clarifications might be made, and examine in detail the assurances which the United States might be able and willing to provide Israel, starting from the point of the United States assurances given earlier in Jerusalem./3/ We need not argue with Harman whether we are talking about the refugees within or outside the Johnson Plan. We should not now discuss with Harman how the Plan is to be handled in the PCC or in the GA. We expect to consult periodically with Dr. Johnson as the discussions with Ambassader Harman are pursued. We do not feel obliged to wind up the discussion with something called the "Johnson Plan" but whatever it is to be called the principal features of the Plan may well survive and Israel must not reject the Plan unilaterally. This approach would serve to meet Israel's current stand that the "Johnson Plan" as such is unacceptable and non-negotiable. There is no way in which we can relieve Israel of responsibility for rejecting the Plan if the Arabs keep it in play.

/3/Talbot met with Harman on October 12. Cleveland did not attend, but was represented by the Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs, Joseph Sisco. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., 325.84.10-1262; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute. Briefing papers prepared for the meeting are in Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 44, Refugees, PCC, General Policy; and ibid., IO/UNP Files: Lot 72 D 294, PCC--Johnson Mission.

One further step is important at this stage. We must have authority to discuss fully and frankly with selected Senators and Congressmen and with a number of Jewish leaders the proposals that have been made and our reactions to them, the dangers of Israeli rejection, and the willingness and ability of the United States to assure that Israel's sovereignty, security and well-being are safeguarded. Similarly we must be enabled to persuade the French and Turks to cooperate in keeping the matter open during the coming weeks. In these talks we will be pressed to state categorically our position on the Johnson Plan. We should make clear that we do not consider the Johnson Plan dead but that we are focussing on how to put into effect practical steps to resolve the refugee issue.

I should appreciate your approval of the foregoing.

Dean Rusk/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. A handwritten note next to the signature reads: "Sgnd by Secy & sent to WH via UNP from New York 10/4/62 per/BWeiner." A copy of the memorandum, attached to the source text, bears a handwritten notation: "Orig handed to the Pres by NEA-Talbot 10/5/62-1 p.m."


68. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, October 4, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 10/62. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Ret'd frm Mrs. Lincoln 10/4)"

Faisal is in the US primarily to see you. We've had numerous reports that Saud is rapidly failing. Faisal, next in line, is probably here to find out how much he and his country can rely on US support. You can talk frankly to him, as he is far more intelligent than Saud.

Most important, Faisal wants very much a half hour privately with you, without any other Saudis present. He may want to say a few things about his own future. Why not take him upstairs for coffee right after luncheon. His English is fair (or you can ask along our own Arab interpreter, Sabbagh, to translate).

Unfortunately, the Yemen revolt has brought to a boil all Saudi fears of Nasserism (the House of Saud well knows it might be next)./2/ Faisal wants US backing for the UK-Saudi counter-effort in Yemen./3/ It will be hard to satisfy him on this score.

/2/On October 2 in New York during a dinner party hosted by Stevenson, Faysal expressed his concern over U.S. failure to aid Hasan in Yemen and his strongly negative attitude toward Nasser. Stevenson's report is in telegram 1044 from USUN, October 3. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-362) Komer forwarded the telegram to Bundy on October 4 under cover a note that reads: "President should see this for flavor. However, CIA has reliable word that Faysal (like Ayub) will be much more moderate on Nasser when face to face with JFK. His homme de confiance told Talbot plaintively that main thing Saudis wanted was to get Nasser to stop violent radio attacks on House of Saud." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 10/62)

/3/On October 4, the White House received intelligence reports of Saudi military preparations for possible use in Yemen. The reports are ibid., Yemen, 10/1/62-10/8/62.

Our current Yemen policy is one of non-involvement. We can't do much anyway, and the Imam's regime was one of the most backward in the world. However, Nasser clearly backed the revolt and his radio is telling Saud he'll be next. So the Saudis feel compelled to react. The UK also seems to be covertly in the play, because of its acute concern over the heightened threat to Aden from a Nasserite Yemeni regime.

Therefore, it would be best to steer Faisal off Yemen and on to US-Saudi relations. Here the important thing is to reassure Faisal as to our firm backing of the House of Saud and as to our policy toward Nasser. If you can get just these two points across at luncheon, it will be a great success.

Faisal was once pro-Nasser, but now (like Saud) hates and fears him; he suspects we have really changed our Arab policy to one of supporting Nasser as our chosen instrument. I urge disabusing him in no uncertain terms. We are not backing Nasser against the other Arab states, with whom we have longstanding cordial relations. If this were the case, why are we continuing to be helpful to Saudis, practically subsidizing Jordan, and giving major new aid to Syria, plus underwriting the independence of Lebanon? These actions are totally inconsistent with any suggestion we are backing Nasser as Mr. Big in the Arab world.

Indeed, our policy towards Nasser is designed (a) to turn him inward; and (b) to increase US leverage on him so that we can encourage policies less antagonistic to our interests and those of our friends. We do not think US aid (mostly food) is keeping Nasser in power. If we didn't help, he'd merely turn more to the Soviets, which would be emphatically against US and Arab interests.

The other side of the coin is to convince Faisal that we still strongly support the Saudi regime. We met all three requests made to you by Saud last February: (1) an arms credit--for $13.5 million; (2) a gift of three radio transmitters; and (3) an economic survey team (Saudis have the report). We're also met the Saudi request that we keep our Military Training Mission there, and are ready to sell an excellent new fighter, the F-5A. We're ready to provide further experts in specialized fields (though we'd prefer Saudis to pay for them; we also doubt any US loans are needed in light of their $300 million oil revenues).

But we think the Saudis themselves must press forward with modernization and development. Deliberate, controlled internal reform is the best antidote to Nasserism. We're pleased with the signs of progress to date, but wonder if it's fast enough.

I also think you should brace Faisal on the discrimination issue, as one factor which puts a real strain on our ability to pursue a friendly policy. Saud told you last February that he intended to apply the policy followed by other Arab states, but we've seen no signs yet. We know how deeply the Saudis feel about Israel, but they must understand our feelings too. This is not just a matter of a US pressure group influencing our policy, but of a fixed position of the US government. Israel is here to stay and we will oppose any efforts to attack it, just as we will oppose any Israeli effort at expansion.

Finally, you might give Faisal a personal, oral message to take back to Saud, i.e. let there be no doubt that we continue to stand by our friends.

R.W. Komer

Read Tabs I-A and III-A of attached briefing book/4/ if you have time, but State is sending over a suplementary memo giving their last minute views.

/4/Reference is to the briefing book prepared by the Department of State for Faysal's visit to Washington in October. (Ibid., Saudi Arabia, Faysal Briefing Book, and Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2172)


69. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, October 5, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-562. Confidential. Drafted by Killgore, concurred in by Glidden (INR), and cleared by Grant and Bergeson (EUR/BNA).

Implications of the Revolution in Yemen


The military group which overthrew the Monarchy September 26 appears to be in control of the major cities of Yemen although two major tribal groups are reported withholding their support. Prince Hassan, Yemen's delegate to the United Nations and principal claimant to the Imamate, is now in Saudi Arabia where he appears to be receiving arms, funds and other support to assist in organizing tribal resistance to the revolutionary regime. Civil war may ensue. King Saud apparently considers the pro-Nasser Yemeni regime as a mortal threat to his position. Britain has already indicated that it considers the establishment of a pro-U.A.R. government in Yemen as a potential threat to its position in Aden and, by extension, in the Persian Gulf but presumably will not wish to employ its own forces in Yemen. Our interests in the area generally coincide with those of the British. We propose delaying recognition until the situation is clearer. The Sino-Soviet Bloc has gained some influence in Yemen through an assistance program, and the Soviet Union has welcomed and extended recognition to the new regime, hoping to strengthen its position. The U.A.R., which was probably aware of rebel intentions and which may well have supported the movement, has also recognized the regime and warned against Saudi Arabian or other foreign intervention against the new Republic. Its prestige is thus committed to its success. We hope to avoid direct involvement in any struggle for power in Yemen but are lending political support to Britain's position in Aden. If the new regime appears in danger of Soviet domination we shall review our present disinclination to support Prince Hassan.

[Here follows the body of the report.]


70. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, October 5, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 9/62-12/62. Secret.

State would like to sign tomorrow the multi-year PL-480 agreement with the UAR./2/ The arguments are:

/2/On October 3, Acting Secretary of State Ball initialed his approval of a request for Delegation of Authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to sign a multiyear P.L. 480 agreement. (Department of State, Central Files, 411.86B/9-2662)

(1) We promised this agreement to Kaissouni last May. Rusk told Kaissouni just a few days ago that we'd sign as soon as Congress finished aid bill. He's delayed his departure a week for this purpose.

(2) Hawk offer jolted UAR, but they've played ball well on this and Johnson Plan so far.

(3) We think we can prevail on UAR to give minimum publicity, and insure low-key treatment here.

(4) In sum, after all previous delays Nasser may take yet further delay as another shift in US policy because of Yemen.

However, Yemen is the problem. Nasser probably wants the agreement now so he can show the US backs him despite Yemen. Saudis and others may interpret this the same way. Do we want to encourage Nasser at just this point or make him sweat a bit? We could argue that Yemen revolt creates a new situation and that signing PL-480 now would violate our non-intervention posture. We could promise to go ahead once things have quieted down.

This is one of those spots where nothing we do will be right. I'd say go ahead, primarily because we've delayed so long already, and our Nasser policy is more important than that toward Yemen. But I have to admit that if Nasser really wants our help, he ought to be willing to wait a bit longer, especially if we tell him why.

R.W. Komer/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. A typed notation next to the signature reads: "JFK approved going ahead at 1 pm 5 October, but desired every effort to insure minimum publicity. We should ask UAR to do the same." Kaissouni and Talbot signed the multiyear P.L. 480 Title I agreement on October 8. (13 UST 2166; TIAS 5179) According to the memorandum of conversation at the signing ceremony, "Dr. Kaissouni took note of the information that the UAR Embassy had received that President Kennedy had personally expressed interest in the conclusion of the multi-year agreement and said that he wished on behalf of President Nasser and the UAR Government to convey his gratitude to the President." (Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B41/10-862)


71. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 5, 1962, 1-2:25 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/10-562. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text, but the memorandum was approved by the White House on October 19 and in G on November 7. The conversation was held during a working luncheon at the White House. The Department of State transmitted a supplemental briefing paper for Kennedy's meeting with Faysal in a memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, October 4. (Ibid., 786A.00/10-462)

President's Talk with Crown Prince Faysal


President Kennedy
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Faysal of Saudia Arabia

G--U. Alexis Johnson
NEA--Phillips Talbot
NE--Robert C. Strong
NE--Talcott W. Seelye
White House--Robert Komer
PAO--Isa Sabbagh
Saudi: Dr. Rashad Pharaoun
Saudi: Ambassador Abdullah al-Khayyal

After welcoming his guest, the President asked Faysal about his views on what was going on in Yemen. Faysal replied that because of the dearth of up-to-date information, the situation was still vague. Asked what the outcome might be, Faysal replied that, if the insurgents were not given any outside help, they would not be able to retain authority. President Kennedy asked if by outside help the Prince meant help from the UAR. Faysal replied "Not only from the UAR but also from the Soviet Union." Elaborating, Faysal mentioned that the elements which carried out the coup in Yemen are a mixture of military and civilian zealots, who enjoyed the support and help of the UAR and the Communists. They were not really representative of the majority of the people or their desires. Faysal admitted conditions in Yemen during the late Imam Ahmad's life needed improving and improvement was slow in forthcoming. However, the moment Imam Muhammad al-Badr ascended the throne, he announced quite a deep and comprehensive program of social reform for the country.

"Badr's announced reforms gave the lie to proclamations of the rebels that they carried out the coup in order to bring about improvement and reform," said Faysal. Saudi Arabia's concern is that, unless the situation in Yemen is reversed, fertile ground for the entrenchment and spread of Communism and its attendant subversive activities will be provided in the area. Asked how much help Saudi Arabia is giving Prince Hassan in his efforts to reverse the present situation, Faysal replied he is not fully conversant with what the Saudi Government is actually doing. However, he felt sure Saudi Arbia would not hesitate to give Hassan any assistance which was within the modest capabilities of his country. Prince Faysal asserted that Prince Hassan enjoys the loyalty and support of most of the tribes in Yemen. The tribes, however, are armed only with light weapons such as rifles, revolvers and machine guns. In reply to a question from Mr. Johnson, Prince Faysal added that the Yemen army numbered between three and five thousand. Numerically speaking, therefore, Hassan has greater support from the tribes than the revolutionaries have from the Army. The President remarked that the UAR's and USSR's interest in Yemeni developments was evident in their prompt recognition of the revolutionary government.

Prince Faysal reiterated his pleasure at having had the chance to meet the President, climaxing deliberations Faysal had had with other officials of the United States Government. This was Faysal's sole purpose in coming over to the United States. He wanted to learn clearly the policy of the United States vis-a-vis the Middle East generally, and Saudi Arabia in particular. The President expressed his realization of the concern Saudi Arabia felt over the situation in Yemen and over President Nasser's reported activities, which were deemed inimical to the interests of neighboring countries. The President explained that United States help to the UAR consisted mainly of food grains which went to the people of the UAR. Prince Faysal interjected that no Arab person or country could legitimately object to America's policy of helping other Arab countries, or, indeed, any other country whose people needed such help. What is a source of anxiety to Saudi Arabia, however, is that United States help to the UAR is being used indirectly by Nasser and his agents for injurious and subversive activities. Money which otherwise would have been spent on food is set free for Nasser's subversive efforts in other Middle Eastern countries.

Faysal went on to enumerate the different facets of Nasser's interference in the internal affairs of other Arab countries, in particular, Saudi Arabia. These facets include covert intelligence gathering by impermissible means, sabotage, incitement, and the organization of assassination attempts. In Faysal's view, it is obvious Nasser had one sole aim, namely, to crush the authority of the Saudi Arabian Government. This was the strongest cause of apprehension and nervous tension in Saudi Arabia. His country would wish for nothing more than to be allowed a long stretch of time marked by stability, tranquility and peace of mind so that it can move ahead with the job of carrying out needed reforms, raising standards of living, and achieving progress and prosperity.

Saudi Arabia, however, is prevented from achieving its goals by the extreme condition of terror that surrounds it. This condition of unease and fear in the area is beginning increasingly to manifest itself within his country. Prince Faysal emphatically made the point that the concern and fear he expressed does not stem from the fact that he belongs to the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Royal Family is just one Arabian family, which history accorded a role of leadership for the past number of years. Animatedly, Faysal declared that if he had for one moment thought that the Saudi Royal Family or its existence in Saudi Arabia were damaging to the interests of his country or its people he, although a member of that Family, would not cooperate with it and would, in fact, turn against it.

The President asked Faysal for his views or suggestions on how the United States could help in improving the situation. Faysal replied that the United States, while giving aid to the UAR, possibly could use its influence with Nasser and divert him from his path of intrigues and interference; we could keep a watchful eye over his activities so as to satisfy ourselves that the aid we are giving him does not indirectly go toward the UAR's sabotaging of established governments in neighboring Arab countries. The President replied that the United States is very sympathetic to the desires of Saudi Arabia and the other Arab countries for greater tranquility, but he doubted very much that our influence with Nasser or with other recipients of United States aid is as great as it is sometimes thought to be. As examples, the President referred to the cases of India vs. Pakistan, Pakistan vs. Afghanistan, Cambodia vs. Thailand, and Japan vs. the Philippines. These examples demonstrate that United States aid to those countries individually does not result in the disputants settling their quarrels. The President said it may be that, gradually and in the long run, United States aid to two disputing countries could increase the weight of our moderating advice. Faysal remarked that, notwithstanding the clear exposition and enumeration of examples made by the President, there is one important distinction between those examples and the example presented by the dispute between the UAR and other Arab countries. In the latter case, there is no actual legitimate dispute. There is only the desire of the UAR to subordinate its neighbors. The President appreciated Prince Faysal's view and said he hoped that in the coming months the United States would have a realistic appraisal of the benefits of United States aid to the UAR, and would come to know more clearly whether or not such aid has proved to be in the interests of the United States.

In the meantime, the United States would continue to use whatever good offices it had with Nasser and the UAR in the hope that such continued United States efforts would be instrumental in diverting Nasser from his extracurricular activities, and in encouraging him to turn his attention inwardly to constructive endeavors. The President did not think that Nasser, whose problems are many, would actually heed any United States threat to stop aid to the UAR. United States aid to the UAR is not of a kind or of such a magnitude that its loss would seriously curtail Nasser's ability to agitate and propagandize. Our hope is that gradually we can turn UAR attention towards its internal problems, thus creating a UAR need for tranquility, which should be reflected in greater calm and peace in the area generally.

Prince Faysal then turned specifically to his own country, saying that since Saudi Arabia finds itself at some sort of crossroads in the midst of the turmoil surrounding it, he wished to go back to his country armed with some peace of mind, and with the reassurance that Saudi Arabia could depend on United States friendship and cooperation. Could he, Faysal, upon returning to Saudi Arabia, convey to the King, to the Saudi Arabian Government and to the Saudi people such an assurance from the President? The President replied "Yes, definitely," referring to the mutuality of friendship and interest between the United States and Saudi Arabia which goes back quite a number of years.

(After luncheon the President and Crown Prince Faysal retired to the President's upstairs living room, accompanied by Jidda PAO Isa K. Sabbagh.) The President began by suggesting possible ways and means of improving and strengthening United States-Saudi Arabian relations. He invited Prince Faysal's reactions and observations to the idea of establishing a "civic action" program in Saudi Arabia, in the form of a road-building program. The United States Army and Saudi Armed Forces, engineering personnel, and Saudi civilians could cooperate in the venture. The President explained to Faysal that such a program would have the advantages of showing continued United States interest in Saudi Arabian progress, of demonstrating that the Armed Forces in any country can be put to useful peaceful purposes, and, in a sense, of making America's military presence in Saudi Arabia felt at a psychologically critical time. The President wondered whether this topic had already been discussed with Assistant Secretary Talbot during Prince Faysal's session with Mr. Talbot the previous evening. Prince Faysal said that the topic had not been broached because no specific item relating to any economic or other assistance from the United States was touched upon. Prince Faysal said the civic action program sounded like a worthwhile thing, which he would, upon return to Saudi Arabia, discuss with the King and Government.

The result of the discussions will, of course, be conveyed to the United States Ambassador in Jidda, Faysal said. The President wondered whether, in Faysal's view a visit to Jidda, very shortly, by one or two United States naval ships would help the situation. He said such a naval visit might indicate to the UAR, as well as to the USSR, our serious interest in peace and tranquility in the area. Prince Faysal asked whether such United States naval vessels could be dispatched quickly to the scene. The President said they could. Faysal remarked that, in any case, a friendly visit of ships of one nation to the ports of another would not lend itself to criticism or misinterpretation. He said he would hasten to inform his Government of this possibility. The President promised that he would set the machinery in motion and instruct our Ambassador in Jidda to discuss the proposed visit with the Saudi Government on the spot./2/

/2/In a memorandum to President Kennedy on October 8, Komer provided the following report: "In response to your query, the following steps are in train to step up our naval presence in the Red Sea, and reassure the Saudis: USS Perry (DD) is already en route from Aden to Jidda, will be off Jidda tomorrow, and enter the port on a three-day scheduled visit at 8 a.m. Wednesday. It can stay longer of course. Another DD has arrived at Aden. It is thus in the area but not now going to Jidda unless instructed. The Greenwich Spray (AVP-converted destroyer) is heading in from Indian Ocean, and due in Jidda for a two-day visit 18 October. State did not understand you to say that both destroyers I mentioned as being in the area should go to Jidda pronto. My sense is that the one will serve the purpose for the moment, as UAR will know the other is also nearby at Aden." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer, 9/62-10/62)

In the general context of manifesting our continued interest in the welfare and security of Saudi Arabia, the President mentioned the desire by Saudi Arabia to purchase a substantial number of modern supersonic jet fighters (F-5A's), adding that the United States is willing to provide these airplanes for purchase by Saudi Arabia at the earliest opportunity. Another matter mentioned by the President was our retention in Saudi Arabia of a United States Military Training Mission. He inquired if Prince Faysal had any views on the USMTM and the jet aircraft. Prince Faysal said he understood that these topics are subject to further discussion between the Saudi Minister of Defense and the United States Embassy in Jidda.

Finally, the President mentioned a subject which he said he had brought to the attention of King Saud during the latter's last visit to the United States in February, 1962, namely, the Saudi Government's refusal to grant even transit visas to American citizens of the Jewish faith. The President continued that Saudi visas are denied not only to ordinary United States citizens of the Jewish faith but also to United States Congressmen of that faith. It was not as though the United States were asking Saudi Arabia to do anything which some other Arab governments are not already doing. For instance, the UAR is granting visas to such Americans. In fact, the President said, it is doubtful whether there would be an onrush of transit passengers through the Dhahran International Airport by United States citizens of the Jewish faith, should Saudi Arabia lift this ban. The President added that such a relaxation of the ban by Saudi Arabia would make our task easier in view of certain definite attitudes in Congress opposing this stand by the Saudi Government. The President said he realized the Saudi Government's attitude on Israel, but wished Prince Faysal to understand how beneficial to the Saudi Arabian image in this country it would be if Saudi Arabia could lift the ban against American Jews. The President wondered whether if anything had been done about this question since King Saud's return from his United States visit.

Prince Faysal said that shortly after King Saud's return to Saudi Arabia, he was overtaken by illness which required a lengthy absence from his country. As to the substantive question, the Prince replied that it is a very delicate matter because, should Saudi Arabia react favorably to this suggestion by the President, Nasser could create a lot of agitation and attribute to Saudi Arabia a change of attitude toward Israel. It is well known, Faysal said, that Nasser would himself do certain things which he would turn around and criticize others for doing. Notwithstanding all this, Prince Faysal promised to take up the matter immediately upon his return with the King and Saudi Government with a view to seeing what could be done about it. He cautioned, however, that any fruitful results were not likely to emerge quickly. The President added his suggestion that in view of the Saudi Arabian Government's concern over what Nasser could make out of such an eventuality, Saudi Arabia could resort to the unannounced de facto lifting of the ban. Prince Faysal reiterated his promise to look into the matter as soon as he got back to his country.

Winding up the tete-a-tete, the President invited Prince Faysal to keep in personal touch, if he preferred, on matters related to Saudi-United States relations or, indeed, to any substantive matter that touched on events in the Middle East and United States policy dealing with them.


72. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, October 5, 1962, 4:13 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.5486B10-562. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow, cleared by Killgore, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Jidda, and London.

363. Deptel 355./2/ View further news reports Egyptian troop movement to Red Sea, you should immediately approach senior UARG official stating USG as matter general policy endeavoring discourage external military intervention in Yemen and consequently would consider it most regrettable if UAR troops entered Yemen territory. USG continues believe internal situation Yemen should be resolved on basis desires Yemenis themselves.

/2/Dated October 4. (Ibid., 786H.5486B/10-462)

If UAR should ask whether and in which specific countries US has made parallel representations, you should decline comment on grounds we not informing others in specific terms of our approach in Cairo./3/

/3/Badeau reported in telegram 583 from Cairo, October 6, that when he conveyed these comments to Vice President Sadat, Sadat agreed in principle that external military intervention in Yemen would be unwise, but also noted that Saudi military personnel had crossed the borders into the northern and eastern portions of Yemen. Sadat also conveyed a question from Nasser as to whether the United States was encouraging King Hussein of Jordan to become involved on the Imamate side in Yemen. Badeau categorically denied U.S. involvement, reaffirming U.S. opposition to all external aggression. (Ibid., 786H.5486B/10-662)



73. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State/1/

Amman, October 6, 1962, 3 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-662. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, London, Paris, Baghdad, USUN, Damascus, Taiz, Aden, Beirut, Jerusalem, and Paris for CINCEUR.

197. Policy. Embassy telegram 192./2/ King Hussein summoned me early afternoon October 6. Also present Prime Minister Tell and Chief Royal Diwan Sherif Hussein.

/2/Telegram 192 from Amman, October 4, reported on a conversation between Macomber and Prime Minister Tell regarding the situation in Yemen. (Ibid., 786H.00/10-462)

King said he very worried by UAR and perhaps Soviet intervention in support Yemen revolutionary regime. He had firm reports bombings of tribesmen loyal to Prince Hassan by planes and helicopters which could not have been flown by Yemeni since latter have no operable planes nor competent pilots. Also had reports "over a thousand" UAR troops embarked on ship or ships. King, supported by Tell, said Prince Hassan, who now at Saada, about 40 miles inside Yemen, had support of nearly all tribes in all parts of Yemen. Rebels held only [garble] cities and few other small places but did not control roads between them. Nonetheless, outside support would enable them hold on indefinitely there despite fact Prince Hassan firmly in control remainder country.

King then reiterated grave concern at foreign intervention in aid revolutionary regime, pointing out this would compel Saud intervene behalf Prince Hassan and Jordan actively to support Saud. Consequences this chain reaction for stability of area were obvious. Urged everything possible be done to prevent further UAR intervention and that Yemenis be left settle matter themselves in which case he confident Prince Hassan's eventual victory.

During conversation I twice said I sure U.S. Government firmly opposed foreign intervention and considered Yemeni situation one for Yemenis themselves to resolve.

Comment: Believe King and Tell so concerned re reports UAR activities, which they believe true, that there is strong possibility their taking soon some action in support Prince Hassan beyond merely prodding Saud. Therefore, urge I be authorized assure King U.S. Government is doing everything possible restrain Nasser from active support revolutionary regime with arms, planes or troops./3/

/3/Circular telegram 615 to Amman, October 7, informed Macomber that he could assure King Hussein and Prime Minister Tell that the United States maintained a continuing interest in avoiding an escalation of the warfare in Yemen that would come with foreign intervention. U.S. opposition to foreign intervention and the U.S. position that the situation was one for the Yemenis themselves to decide had been made clear to Arab governments. The Department added for Macomber's information that as of October 6 it "had no confirmation any sizeable UAR involvement Yemen." (Ibid., 786H.00/10-762)



74. Draft Memorandum From the Office of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency, to Director of Central Intelligence McCone/1/

Washington, October 8, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 10/1/62-10/8/62. Secret. Komer transmitted this memorandum to Bundy under cover of a note that reads: "An interesting piece, perhaps largely because it comes out about where I do myself. We're going to be under more and more pressure to recognize new Yemeni regime. But I hope we'll keep cool a bit longer. Let's wait till it becomes clear to Saud and Hussein that they're losing, so they won't blame it on US recognition."

The Situation in Yemen


Yemen faces the prospect of a prolonged and bloody civil war between the republican forces supported by the UAR and the royalist forces supported by Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The outcome of the struggle is not yet clear but in general we believe that in time the advantages will lie with Nasser and the republicans. The establishment of a republican, pro-Nasser regime in Yemen would significantly increase the pressures against the conservative regimes in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and against the British position in Aden. We do not believe, however, that it would be particularly conducive to the spread of Communist influence in the area nor necessarily detrimental to US interests.

[Here follows the body of the memorandum.]


75. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, October 9, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Palestine, Refugees, Vol. II, 10/62-11/62. Secret. Copies were sent to Feldman and Kaysen. A transmittal memorandum from Komer to Bundy reads: "This is largely for Mike's benefit. I've asked State to keep us clued on its tactical plan; because of President's continuing interest (and fact he keeps getting Mike's views anyway). This hand isn't played out yet; I'm trying to keep close tabs on it."


With Syria's "unshakable rejection" of Johnson Plan,/2/ it is breathing its last. Though UAR, Jordan, Lebanon were ready to buy the Plan, they will now be forced to go along. State retains more professional optimism, however; to it, "rejection" in Arabic means "maybe".

/2/On October 4, Syrian Prime Minister 'Azm delivered an official public statement indicating that the Syrian Government considered Johnson's proposals to be a "clear violation" of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 and a "deviation in the interpretation of its provisions." 'Azm also conveyed the Syrian viewpoint that the Johnson Plan "in reality and consequences is not a plan aimed at settling the refugees problem, but a solution aimed only at expatriating them and settling them finally outside their homeland." The Embassy in Damascus transmitted the text of his statement in airgram A-115, October 9. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/10-962)

In any case, the results to date amply justify our tactic of not knuckling to Israeli pressure for immediate US disengagement./3/ If we had done so, and it had leaked (on top of Hawk offer), Arabs would have had a free ride at Israel's and our expense.

/3/A handwritten marginal notation by Bundy next to this paragraph reads: "which we sold JFK over Mike's dead body."

By the same token, we should continue this tactic, spinning it out at least through Palestine refugee debate in GA. By letting Arabs and Israelis share the blame for failure, we get credit for a good try (which it was, though very poorly timed) and enter UNRWA debate with maximum flexibility.

So Joe Johnson and Talbot should continue explorations, seeking to counter the growing chorus of objections. There's a slim chance of salvaging some vestige of the Plan approach (perhaps a truncated version less anathema to Israel). At any rate, we may be able to keep the concept alive for another year (I still believe it in Israel's long-term interest).

Bob K.


76. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, October 9, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-962. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong and Seelye. A handwritten note on the source text indicates the memorandum was seen by Secretary Rusk on October 10.

Yemen Situation and its Implications

Situation Report

The British decision to support Prince Hassan "covertly",/2/ coming on top of a) the movements of one to three Saudi battalions to the Yemeni border in evident support of Hassan, b) the presence of elements of the UAR military in Yemen's principal city of Sana'a and in the port of Hodeida, and c) a Soviet military presence carried over from the previous regime which still apparently is minor, seriously endangers the stability of the Arabian Peninsula. British intervention, which can hardly be concealed for long, is likely to lead to a sizable commitment of UAR forces in Yemen and conceivably to a Yemeni-UAR invitation to the Soviet Union to increase its participation. Our estimate is that the new Yemeni regime is fairly firmly in the saddle and that the UAR is committed to keep it there. We doubt that even with British support Prince Hassan can restore the old Imamate which, even if restored, is too discredited to survive for long. Major Saudi military participation seems likely to lead to violent repercussions at home, very possibly even the demise of the Royal Family. Included in the ultimate results would be the weakening of the very position in the area the British seek to preserve by their support of Hassan.

/2/British Ambassador Sir David Ormsby Gore informed Rusk of this decision during a meeting on October 9. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., 786H.00/10-962; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

Our Considerations

1) The presence of 120 Americans in Taiz.

2) Broadening of the conflict in Yemen, with potential Soviet over-tones.

3) Threat to the stability of the whole peninsula.

4) Severe stresses on our policy toward and relations with the UAR and difficulty with Saudi Arabia.

5) Association by implication with an Imamate generally discredited not only in the Arab world but in almost the entire Free World.

6) Keeping our hands relatively free without creating a serious issue with the UK.

Action Program

Accordingly, we propose the following action program:

1) Firm representations to the British either here or in London or both. We would state we have grave reservations for the above reasons and because of the presence of some 120 Americans in Yemen who risk getting caught in the middle, but if their decision is final we are prepared to wait up to two weeks before taking any action ourselves. If by then Hassan's forces are unable to show meaningful gains, we shall have to proceed with unilateral recognition of the new republic.

2) A heart-to-heart talk between Prince Faysal and me in New York in which I would emphasize in the strongest terms the importance of Prince Faysal's returning to Saudi Arabia forthwith to undertake the following tasks of utmost importance to Saudi Arabia: (a) the assumption of firm and enlightened leadership in a country which is now virtually rudderless and in shock over events in Yemen; (b) the introduction of measures to strengthen the internal fabric of the regime and to gain more popular support, e.g. refurbishing of the government, acceleration of the economic development program and institution of constitutional government; and (3) the initiation of a new and dynamic foreign policy based on enlightened self-interest and devoid of recrimination, e.g. a search for a sensible modus vivendi with the UAR and restoration of relations with the UK. In urging these endeavors I would offer Faysal US good offices and support, and I would apprise him of the general course we propose to follow.

3) Instructions to Ambassador Hart in Jidda to caution Saudi authorities of the hidden dangers of their Yemeni involvement and of the need to push ahead with reform and progress in Saudi Arabia as the best defense against Nasser's revolutionary message and events in Yemen. Also to suggest that Ambassador Hart consider how our Military Training Mission personnel might best be brought into play.

4) A clear statement to the UAR that we are staying out of the Yemeni conflict unless UAR action forces us into it. We would warn the UAR against raising the level of its military participation in Yemen lest it broaden the conflict, and request the UAR to cease its propaganda alleging US participation or responsibility.

5) A circular instruction to posts in the field apprising them of appropriate portions of the foregoing.


That you authorize the action program outlined above.


77. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State/1/

Cairo, October 10, 1962, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1062. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Repeated to London, Jidda, Amman, Taiz, and USUN.

600. El Ahram editor Heikal called today as personal messenger Nasser discuss Yemeni situation and transmit to me President's views.

In describing current situation Heikal closely approximated reports from Stookey and recent foreign correspondents from Taiz. Stated that regime in control of country, excepting Northern and Northeastern frontiers, enjoying large measure popular support including principal tribal elements. He maintained UAR had positive evidence of Saudi military personnel operating within Northern Yemen borders as well as Jordan technical mission details of which squared with our information. He then made following points as direct message from Nasser.

1. UAR continues agree general principle no foreign military intervention in hope that Yemen will not become cockpit for Saudi, Jordanian and UAR conflict.

2. Military intervention on part of Saudi and to lesser extent Jordan has already taken place. Principal form unlimited gold, substantial arms and actual personnel. In probing this point, Heikal admitted that Saudi troop concentrations had not yet crossed Northern border but undoubtedly would do so shortly. However, Jordanian technicians already in country.

3. In face of this military intervention UAR could not allow new regime to be driven to wall. Present involvement principally of technicians and some material but no major troops supplied as currently rumored.

4. UAR has no intention of resuscitating UAS and has categorically refused Yemen plea for same.

5. While appreciating USG criteria of recognition, UAR hopeful recognition shortly forthcoming both to convince Yemen that USG not actively behind Saudi involvement and forestall possible Yemeni movement toward Soviets. Heikal stated latter point not meant as threat but realistic appraisal of the situation which has Nasser deeply worried. Nasser expects Soviets to repeat maneuver by which they almost gained ascendancy in Iraq and is anxious to have this forestalled.

In response I reiterated both limits of USG influence on Saud and Hussein and clear USG policy of non-involvement in Yemeni factional strife. Heikal said Nasser believes this and is under no illusion that we have power to stop Saud from his present reckless course. I stated lack of any knowledge re USG recognition and summarized basis on which recognition normally takes place.

In long rambling discussion which followed Heikal said that Nasser had no intention of embarrassing USG with present policy. He noted that Saudi Arabia discontented and ripe for revolt but factors inhibiting such movements like clear American interests in protection petroleum supply and lack of any group in Arabia strong enough to ensure dependable and stable post-Saud regime. Were royal regime to be toppled only result prolonged period of chaos which would be against UAR as well as USG interests. Heikal also stated categorically that UAR using all its influence to focus Yemeni regime concern on internal tasks letting Aden question lie dormant. He says this is intent of Yemen regime and only active British support of anti-regime factions would be likely to change it.

Comment: Vice President Anwar Sadat today requested I call on him tomorrow undoubtedly to discuss Yemen question./2/ Apparent that UAR deeply concerned lest it be drawn into military adventure yet really determined to prevent collapse Yemen regime due to outside forces./3/

/2/In telegram 610 from Cairo, October 11, Badeau reported that during this meeting, Sadat confirmed that the message delivered by Haikal had come directly from Nasser. After discussing the situation in Yemen, Sadat restated the substance of Nasser's message and said that U.S. recognition of the new Yemeni regime would be a major factor in stabilizing the situation, including staving off British attempts to overthrow the regime. Sadat stated categorically that the UAR was using its influence with Yemen to focus the new regime's attention on domestic affairs. (Ibid., 786H.00/10-1162)

/3/In telegram 618 from Cairo, October 12, Badeau reported that he had been informed by the British Embassy that Haikal had met with British Ambassador Sir Harold Beeley on October 11 and gone over much the same ground as reported in telegram 600, including the specific assurance: "President Nasser wished assure HMG he did not intend any damage to British position Aden." (Ibid., 786H.00/10-1262)



78. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom/1/

Washington, October 11, 1962, 8:27 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1162. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye, cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, and Taiz.

2070. During call by Wright of British Embassy October 11 Department officer stated following: USG seeking means limit present conflict in Yemen and avoid serious side effects. Considerable peril in escalation of conflict raising prospect:

1. Full scale UAR military commitment in contrast present limited intervention;

2. Eventual entry Soviets who have stake in extending influence across Red Sea;

3. Serious repercussions within Saudi Arabia if Saudis become overcommitted (since no visible alternative as ruling group to Royal Family, latter's collapse likely cause fragmentation country and ensuing chaos detrimental US vital interest);

4. Jeopardizing vital US/UK interest in Aden by reducing concerted US/UK capability exercise moderating influence YAR and UAR re external adventures (any sustained UK support Hassan risks inducing UAR press rather than mute irredentist claims to Aden).

Wright was assured we "mean business" and consider we and UK together have means bringing home to UAR and Yemen seriousness of our intent.

We pointed out unhappy results to be expected if Yemen issue raised in UNSC view fact new regime already legitimized by recognition Soviet Bloc and most Arab countries. UAR could claim its intervention justified by 1956 Military Pact, while Saudi Arabia and UK more vulnerable to criticism in unsympathetic councils.

Wright indicated British understand YAR in control Hodeida, Sana'a, Taiz, Mocha, Ibb, Qataba and Bayda. However, in northeastern Yemen Hassan forces making gains and Saada and Marib captured October 7 and 8 respectively. British estimate outcome is uncertain but likely to lead to stalemate with fringe tribal opposition continuing. We questioned whether either side would tolerate stalemate and whether such situation would not invite increasing commitments on both sides, particularly in case UAR.

London may share foregoing with FonOff./2/

/2/In telegram 1551, October 13, the Embassy in London reported that the substance of telegram 2070 was conveyed to Walmsley of the British Foreign Office who said the British Government appreciated U.S. concern over possible adverse effects on Saudi Arabia arising out of the Yemen situation, but had to consider a threat to Aden area as an equally significant factor. Walmsley maintained the British Government was providing no direct support to Prince Hassan, and did not contemplate doing so. He thought the situation too unclear to decide whether early recognition of the new regime was desirable. (Ibid., 786H.00/10-1362)



79. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot)/1/

Washington, October 12, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer. Secret. Copies were sent to Bundy, Kaysen, and Grant.


Further to my long talk with Jim/2/ and you last night, let me urge that we move forward soonest on an "honest broker" effort to resolve the mess in Yemen.

/2/Reference is presumably to James Grant.

Unless we've changed our estimate that a protracted struggle is in the offing, I see dire possibilities of escalation which cannot be to our interests, and pressures on us from both sides will multiply. Yet if we come down on UK/Jordan/Saudi side there goes our new relationship with Nasser; if we come down on other side, we open Pandora's box. If we do nothing, we offend all our friends.

I need hardly add that a compromise would be most worthwhile from US standpoint if it protected our investment in Nasser and at the same time preserved the essential interests of our other friends.

Nasser's overture via Haikal and Sadat gives us an opening./3/ Gamal seems interested in a deal, or at least in buying us off by assurances he has no intention of encouraging in Riyadh what happened in Sana'a. As you know, I favor going back at him strong, and in effect saying what convincing evidence can we give the Saudis, Jordanians, British that if they go along with YAR, you'll play ball with them?

/3/See Document 77.

If Nasser responds favorably, we can then put the proposition up to our friends. We should press them hard. Obviously, they'd be taking a gamble, on no more assurances (in last analysis) than Nasser's word, but in some respects it's as good a gamble as the one they're embarked on now. At any rate, we could press our friends to parley while they fight, meanwhile urging them and Nasser to keep the fighting localized.

A compromise which would work can hardly be spelled out now, but its essential elements seem clear: (1) acceptance of YAR and even promises of help (Critchfield's idea of constitutional monarchy or Hassan as religious leader seems far-fetched but perhaps worth a sounding); (2) UAR promises to call off war against Arab kings--and evidence of good faith by ceasing radio war; (3) reassurances about Aden from Nasser and YAR; (4) rapprochement between UAR, Saudis, Hussein, probably based on replacement Saud by Feisal (who could carry it off).

Only we can promote such a deal and in effect act as umpire and (to a degree) guarantor. Neither side will trust the other, but might rely on us if we say we'll oppose the side that reneges on the bargain. At any rate, I don't see what this effort costs us if it fails. Our position isn't any worse; indeed, this effort can serve as justification for continued non-recognition of either side.

But if we go down this road, the time is now--before things get out of hand or the unpredictable intervenes. And we ought to press both sides hard, because only by a strong US line can we rock either side sufficiently to offer a fair chance of success.

R. W. Komer/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


80. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, October 13, 1962, 3:57 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1062. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong and Barrow, cleared by Rusk, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to London, Jidda, and Amman.

409. Cairo Embtel 600./2/ Following for your background:

/2/Document 77.

In October 11 conversation with Talbot Prince Faysal reflected great confidence based on historical pattern of previous Yemeni revolts that tribes slowly mobilizing in northern hills will rally to restore Imamate./3/ Meanwhile UK has assets in Yemen and presently appears inclined join forces with SAG and Jordan in form money, arms, and encouragement in effort overthrow Sallal. On basis present estimate USG not so confident as UK and others of their capacity overthrow Sallal particularly as UAR appears committed maintain Sallal and probably prepared substantially escalate forces possibly with USSR support, at least to maintain control southern half of Yemen. UAR may also have capability upsetting situation inside Saudi Arabia particularly if hostilities extended to Saudi soil or Saudis commit own forces in Yemen. Nevertheless at minimum we believe Saudi-Jordan-UK combination could maintain major harassing action against Sallal for some time and at maximum create a stalemate with neither side able control whole country. Since situation fraught with danger for all parties, Haikal approach may well reflect Nasser's recognition these factors. We are assuming UAR is firmly committed to sustaining Sallal regime and if necessary is prepared to play brinksmanship both by use own forces and by inviting greater Soviet help.

/3/A memorandum of Talbot's conversation with Prince Faysal on October 11 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York is in Department of State, Central Files, 320/10-1162. A summary of the portion of the discussion that concerned Yemen was transmitted to the Embassy in Jidda in telegram 168, October 13. (Ibid., 786H.00/10-1362) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

If these assumptions are correct USG feels Haikal approach, which combines olive branch with implied threats, could provide opportunity work out accommodation under which new Yemeni regime friendly to UAR and West is legitimized and US, UK, Saudi and Jordanian interests safeguarded by UAR cessation of pressures and by inducements on Yemeni regime to eschew activism in Aden. Would be necessary for UAR give earnests of its good intentions by cessation of propaganda and subversion against Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Aden and by eventual restoration of decent relations. This no doubt difficult for UAR given its "Arab socialism" doctrine and present bent for destruction of "reactionaries". However, situation may develop requiring UAR choice between vast benefits of economic "cooperation" with West and direct confrontation with vital US-UK interests in Aden and Saudi Arabia. In effect, Yemeni situation has precipitated UAR into dilemma in its relations with US which cannot be solved satisfactorily by continuation its present course. Equally important, it may now appear to UAR that it no longer has capacity unilaterally to bring revolution to successful conclusion and to avoid any stalemate.

We thus may have at present juncture unique and probably short-lived opportunity negotiate a modus vivendi operable for next several years, which would give firm assurances needed to persuade our friends to back out of Yemen involvement.

Hitherto we have tried keep out of inter-Arab affairs but now we have legitimate and understandable need to step in and stay in. We wish to pursue this opportunity carefully but firmly. In initial stages of effort in Cairo believe useful employ Haikal as middleman. If progress made, direct contact with high officials and eventually Nasser would become necessary.

With this background you should inform Haikal of following US views:

1. We see real mess developing over Yemen if UAR on one side, Saudis and Jordan on other involved in open fighting. UK and USSR will find it hard stay out. So will we despite our present desire for noninvolvement.

2. US recognition of Sallal complicated by confused internal situation, substantial external interest expressed from several sides, and threat escalation into inter-Arab warfare.

3. From US vantage point problem appears quadrangular consisting a) internal Yemeni clash, b) Saudi fears (fully shared by US) of implications Yemeni revolt for stability its own regime, c) UK concern (fully shared by US) for safety Aden and d) UAR sympathy and support for reform-minded Yemeni Government for which US had instinctive sympathy. We aware of course of wider UAR interests in Arab world. Jordan involvement is minor. Agree with Haikal re potentiality Soviet intervention but consider Soviet involvement minor at present and not in interest UAR.

4. USG believes internal situation can be resolved satisfactorily if outside intervention kept limited as at present. Situation in Yemen itself less crucial than differences among external interests. In this connection, UAR is not itself threatened but others have vital interests at stake which must be satisfied if crisis to be avoided. UAR correctly assesses US concern for maintenance stability Saudi Arabia and Aden and security of our vital interests there.

5. All US officials who talked with him here most impressed with statesmanlike attitude Prince Faysal. Believe he is not basically inimical either to UAR or to progressive ideas. He is not of course prepared to preside over demise royal regime or to endure vicious personal propaganda attacks and this is crux of matter. We see every prospect that Faysal's role will become even more crucial in pressing implementation of reform program. Saudi Arabia and we intend render all possible assistance this direction. For this reason believe UAR would do well attempt re-establish good relations formerly enjoyed with him.

6. We also urge that UAR take initiative develop effective contacts with UK. Direct dialogue on current situation would not be amiss at this juncture.

7. Important point is that UAR must satisfy us, Saudis and UK that it will refrain indefinitely from promoting subversion, propaganda or other threats to vital interests in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Aden. As long as Saudis believe Hassan winning they may be unwilling agree cease supporting him. However should stalemate come in Yemen, we would have increased maneuvering room with them. We would like to know what we might work out with UAR that would provide in clear terms needed reassurances for all. If we can reach suitable understanding with UAR we willing make major effort persuade other parties withdraw from present engagements. If we successful, security of Yemeni regime from outside intervention would be assured, it would receive general recognition, friendly countries could work closely with Yemen to resolve internal divisions and pursue internal development, and serious risks and losses which otherwise probable would be avoided. Yemeni regime in turn would be required by combination of persuasion and attractions of UAR and Western assistance to abstain from intervention in Aden affairs for extended period. UAR thus would emerge in statesmanlike posture using its influence in area affairs to promote stability and modernization. In meantime, US and UK would continue working for liberalization measures in other parts of Arab world.

8. While we favor modernization process and shall encourage it, protection of our vital interests requires peaceful, orderly transition. We cannot afford chaos in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, nor can the UAR. We do not want to be put in position where we must choose between UAR and other Arab states.

9. In making this presentation you also authorized to draw on explanatory introduction to this message except for explicit reference to active UK involvement./4/

/4/Badeau commented on these points in telegram 636 from Cairo, October 15. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1262)

FYI. Gist of Cairo's 600 and full explanation of foregoing given UK Ambassador here. You should do same with Beeley who will be receiving instructions from London probably Monday./5/ If UK concurs our proposal you should approach Haikal soonest. If Beeley receives instructions to object to our proposal, you should await further word from Department. UK concern as expressed here by UK Ambassador would be, given known UAR unreliability and bitterness of Arab rivalries, whether our leverage would be adequate assure UAR restraint over considerable time span. We made clear that in light evident importance to UAR of having large-scale assistance from West we believe we have considerable leverage with UAR and that seriousness of our intention to protect mutual US-UK interests in Arabian Peninsula is evidenced by fact we proposing put new US-UAR relationship "on the line" if UAR willing make necessary commitments. Ambassador agreed it essential have early UK political assessment of potentialities of Yemen situation, alternatives, and manner in which HMG would propose meet various contingencies. We pointed out that present opportunity for broad approach to UAR may be short-lived, time of essence, we want consult with UK and want UK consult with US but cannot bind ourselves to UK position, and in any event we would of course avoid anything damaging UK position Aden.

/5/October 15.

For London: You should provide substance Cairo's 600 and foregoing to Foreign Office with request it be held in complete confidence. We do not wish other parties become aware this proposed negotiation.



81. Paper by the Officer in Charge of Arabian Peninsula Affairs (Seelye)/1/

Washington, October 17, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/10-1762. Secret. Transmitted to Bundy under cover of a memorandum from Brubeck that reads: "In response to the White House request, there is enclosed a statement of our position on recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic."


The Yemen Arab Republic appears to have established virtually full control in Yemen with the exception of a small outlying fringe area to the east. It has indicated a willingness to respect international obligations and to adhere to existing agreements with the United States (including an AID agreement). The new Yemeni leaders appear to be determined to run Yemen affairs themselves without undue influence from abroad. Our Charge at Taiz has repeatedly and strongly recommended immediate recognition in order to promote a moderate policy on the part of the new regime to prevent it from turning to increased UAR and other outside support.

While the foregoing would seem to dictate immediate recognition, there are overriding factors which militate against early action. We see no advantage in permitting the UAR, whose complicity in planning the Yemen revolt is now apparent on the basis of recent intelligence, to similar adventures elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are strongly opposed to immediate recognition of the regime. They would view such action as a concession to Nasser and an indication of a lessening of United States concern for their interests in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The Jordan Government has sent a special message to the Secretary expressing its deep concern with the turn of events in Yemen, and Prince Faysal has conveyed a similar message to Assistant Secretary Talbot. The Secretary has assured the Jordanian Ambassador that, unlike Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have powerful friends who would be gravely concerned at any overt act of aggression against them. Mr. Talbot is proceeding to New York on the evening of October 17th to make similar assurances to Prince Faysal. In these circumstances it would be unwise for us to extend recognition to the Yemen Arab Republic at the present time.

We are hopeful that we will be in a position to extend recognition to the new regime within a week or so following 1) a demarche being made to United Arab Republic President Nasser to limit his involvement in Yemen and to desist in his subversion against Kings Saud and Hussein; 2) face-saving moves to enable Kings Saud and Hussein to withdraw gracefully from their support of Hassan's forces; 3) satisfactory reassurances to the two Kings of our intention to stand by them and to circumscribe Nasser's influences in the Arabian Peninsula./2/

/2/On October 18, Komer sent Kennedy a memorandum that contained the following reasons for not yet recognizing the new Yemeni regime: "(1) YAR regime is ahead, but by no means fully in control. Tribal war in the hills could go on for months. (2) We're trying to promote a compromise deal through Nasser. To recognize now removes a major lever on UAR (and YAR too). (3) Meanwhile UK, Jordan, Saudi Arabia are violently opposed to our recognizing. Gore saw Rusk yesterday to plead against it. (4) Only 20 countries have recognized so far, almost all Arabs and Bloc. We'll be a long way from last. (5) Recognition would be inconsistent with our non-intervention posture at this point." He concluded: "Though costs of not recognizing will increase with time, we're not under great pressure yet. Instead let's hold it out as one means of getting UAR and YAR to provide the reassurances to Saud, UK, and Jordan which latter need." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer)


82. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State/1/

Cairo, October 18, 1962, 4 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1862. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London, Jidda, and Amman.

655. Deptel 427./2/ Conveyed to Anwar Saadat this morning substance reference telegram and pertinent sections Deptel 409. My presentation encompassed following:

/2/In telegram 427 to Cairo, October 17, the Department of State sent its assessment that Prince Hasan lacked sufficient tribal support to overturn the revolutionary regime without massive external support. It advised that the United States did not want to present the UAR, which was clearly implicated in planning the revolt, with an easy victory that might encourage its adventurism elsewhere. The United States would not rush to recognize the revolutionary regime, but recognition should come as a consequence of the new regime consolidating its military control. The Embassy in Cairo was therefore instructed to proceed with the approach outlined in telegram 409 (Document 80), with the deletion of paragraphs 1 and 7, which had been superseded by events. The Embassy should tell the UAR that recognition was under continuing review and that clarification of the situation would be facilitated if the UAR eased Saudi and Jordanian fears and did not escalate its military involvement. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/10-1662)

1. Review of present military situation recognizing recent YAR success but probability continued border clashes for some weeks or months.

2. Reaffirmation USG policy on recognition stressing this had evolved from experiences in other situations, notably South America. USG does not normally use recognition as political instrument of support and therefore has evolved pattern of objective criteria fulfillment. In this connection I stressed YAR attempt to hamper or cut off AID activities and current articles in UAR press needling USG on non-recognition were self-defeating tactics and tend to delay, rather than hasten, favorable action.

3. Review of deep and continuing USG interests in Arabian Peninsula stability, with particular emphasis on Saudi Arabia. I pointed out it was fear of UAR and not fear of Yemen regime that caused Saudi and Jordanian support Hassan. If either in its own right or as facade for UAR, YAR becomes spearhead for subversive action against Aden and Saudi Arabia, UAR could expect American reaction of serious character. I then suggested imminent possibility of Faisal leadership of Saudi Arabia offered opportunity to re-assess and mend UAR-YAR-SAG relations.

4. UAR-USA Relations. I reviewed hopeful development of these during past year, pointing out there are few problems directly between USG and UAR, the possibility of friction lying almost exclusively in "third country" situations. Arabian Peninsula is such "third country" and I would hope UAR activities in relation to it would not be of such character as to effect continuation and strengthening of our program here.

In response Saadat stated:

A. Our military estimate of situation substantially correct. While some of the tribes may not be enthusiastically pro-YAR they have definitely repudiated Imamate. He foresaw drawnout skirmishes along northern and eastern borders.

B. As to recognition, UAR Government could understand deliberate and judicious process by which USG makes decisions to recognize. However, this was not comprehensible to either Yemen Government or Yemen-UAR populace who could only interpret present position as deliberate delay. Saadat then made an urgent plea for USG help to Yemen "with or without recognition" in the form of clothing, foodstuffs, petrol, and AID program. He said UAR much concerned over possibility of further Soviet inroads into Yemen and that during his trip to Sanaa he saw Soviet Charge "sitting in chair next to Sallal at all meetings". He urged we make at least token gesture of supplies on emergency basis.

C. The YAR has no intention of stirring up Aden or Saudi Arabia for at least next decade "which is as far ahead as I can predict". It has so much to do within Yemen that there is neither energy nor funds for anything else.

D. As to UAR, Saadat gave most absolute assurance there was no intention of using Yemen as subversive spearhead against anyone. "We are satisfied with establishment of republican government", he said, and maintained only future UAR connection with Yemen would be that of badly needed technical assistance. Saadat returned to this absolute disclaimer of designs against Aden and Saudi Arabia repeatedly.

E. As to Faisal, Saadat counted him personal friend and believed him to have greater rapport with UAR than any other member of Royal Family. However, would be impossible for UAR to take initiative in approaching Faisal should he become effective head of Saudi government since Faisal's attitude re continuation of Saudi support for Hassan unknown. If Faisal stopped flow of money and arms support for Hassan, some rapprochement would be possible.

Comment: As usual Saadat friendly, receiving me within an hour of my request. However, he appeared more restrained in conversation and used more dogmatic tone than in previous interviews. Consider it significant that Saadat did not press for recognition although indicating its value to us and to UAR in relation to Soviet activities. Haikal took almost parallel line with British Ambassador Beeley yesterday, so presumably this reflects Nasser thinking. As to timing USG recognition, I question statement in reference telegram that we would be letting UAR "emerge with easy victory". I suggest this victory practically won. Beeley told me this morning that from representations just made by British Ambassador to King Hussein on UK criteria for recognition, he judges UK recognition may be imminent. He himself urges accelerated action, believing success of YAR-UAR now fait accompli and hoping UK can obtain at least minimal values by prompt action.



83. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, October 19, 1962, 10:36 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86H/10-1962. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye on October 18, cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to London and Cairo.

187. Assistant Secretary Talbot called on Crown Prince Faysal in New York evening October 17/2/ view latter's increasing concern over turn of events in Yemen. Faysal had been reported by Ambassador Khayyal as seeking US intervention in Yemen./3/ After congratulating Faysal on his appointment as Prime Minister (which Faysal claimed to have heard only third hand) Talbot stated following:

/2/The memorandum of Talbot's conversation with Faysal, held between 8:10 and 9:05 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, is ibid., 786A.13/10-1762. Earlier on October 17, news broadcasts had announced that King Saud had appointed Prince Faysal Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia.

/3/The memorandum of Talbot's conversation with Ambassador Al-Khayyal on October 16 is ibid., 786H.00/10-1662. During the morning of October 17, Prince Faysal subjected Isa K. Sabbagh, Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy in Jidda and translator during Faysal's New York visit, to a lecture on the dangers of U.S. inactivity in Yemen. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., 786H.00/10-1762.

1) In light of glimpse given Faysal earlier of US global responsibilities we hoped he would realize direct involvement US forces in Yemen could have very serious repercussions for entire free world.

2) US has deep and abiding interest in stability Saudi Arabia and its progress. We consider our interests in Saudi Arabia vital and would justify full US support for maintenance of Saudi Arabia's integrity and preclusion of active outside intervention. We prepared consider measures indicating concrete support for SAG in addition to destroyer visits and civic action.

3) Imam Mohammed and Prince Hassan have not appeared able muster sufficient support among Yemeni people carry forward their attempt overturn YAR. UAR appears have committed its prestige to preservation YAR and to taking steps necessary insure its continuance in power. Yemeni national forces should prove an effective bar against UAR control of government and we doubt likelihood of UAR/YAR merger. Should we recognize regime, we intend endeavor persuade new regime concentrate on internal problems in Yemen and eschew foreign adventures. This, together with strengthening fabric of government and society in Saudi Arabia, most practical effective means preventing Yemeni conflict from threatening SAG.

4) US has made known in Cairo its concern for stability of Saudi Arabia and has stated in no uncertain terms its intention protect vital US interests there. We seeking influence UAR policy in direction moderation. We believe matters will be facilitated were His Highness to return and initiate dynamic program of reform and modernization to which we will lend full moral support and all possible material assistance.

While Faysal appeared reconciled prospect US non-intervention Yemen, he asked we delay recognition further. Seemed moderately satisfied Talbot's expression of assurances re Saudi Arabia. We concerned he may misinterpret latter to connote stronger guarantee than intended, including perhaps preservation Royal Family at all costs. We shall provide further guidance for purpose clarification following Faysal's return Saudi Arabia. Faysal EDT NY October 21, ETA Saudi Arabia October 24.

Would be useful receive from Jidda (1) list of reform measures by which SAG might meet more serious internal criticisms (you may wish to consult with Aramco), and (2) list of measures which might be feasible for USG undertake as means of demonstrating concrete support for SAG in addition to fleet visits, and civic action which already in process. We envisage need for both short run and perhaps dramatic demonstrations during possibly critical period over coming weeks in Saudi Arabia, as well as long term efforts.

Accordingly, still intend withhold recognition new regime until situation clarifies. Ambassador Hart's views invited.



84. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, October 20, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/10-2062. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford on October 18 and cleared by Sisco, Strong, and Talbot.

Arab Response to Dr. Johnson's Refugee Plan

On October 15, Dr. Johnson received Arab responses to his plan for settlement of the refugee problem. UAR Foreign Minister Fawzi acting independently of the other Arab delegations, posed certain questions about implementation (what are Israel's true intentions with respect to repatriation? what would be the physical situation of refugees returning to Israel?), but said UAR representatives in New York have full authorization to continue discussion with Johnson on all aspects of his plan. Later the same day, Johnson was handed a joint Lebanese-Syrian-Jordanian Note (text enclosed)/2/ which puts up a strong objection to the plan's lack of assurance that Israel will permit return of refugees choosing repatriation. An Arab representative (Rifai of Jordan) subsequently confirmed that the Note should not be construed as rejection, but that further discussion of other plan features is precluded until there has been clarification on this point of Arab concern.

/2/Attached but not printed.

The Arabs' response puts them superficially in parallel with the Israelis. Each side now demands a prior assurance it knows the other cannot give. The Arabs ask that Israel agree in principle that all refugees who opt for repatriation will be permitted to go back, and they express concern regarding treatment of those who return. The Israelis, inter alia, call for Arab recognition that repatriation will be possible, at most, for no more than one refugee in ten.

This seeming equivalence aside, the positions appear to differ in that Israel's line is somewhat harder. The Arabs have let it be known that there is a good measure of protective coloration in their objections, and they have stressed that they are not rejecting the plan. Israel, on the other hand, tells us privately (we suspect to strengthen its hand in bargaining) that it has rejected the plan. Israel is careful, however, to avoid doing so in public and is in fact working to unload the public onus on the Arabs. In addition, Israel representatives voice a variety of other objections to the plan, some being reasonable concerns which can conceivably be dealt with through continued discussion if there is a basic will to progress, and some being reiterations of old arguments, thoroughly gone into by Dr. Johnson, that would effectively preclude any useful movement on the problem.

Over the next few weeks, we look to further discussion with both sides (1) to keep the plan in play; (2) hopefully, to overcome reasonable apprehensions; and (3) to counter, as appropriate, Israel's lobbying against the plan in Congress, in the U.N., and in the American Jewish community.

John Lloyd/3/

/3/Lloyd signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.


85. Paper by Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, October 20, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries, Iran 11/1/62-11/30/62. Secret. Komer sent this paper to Bundy under cover of a memorandum that reads: "Here are the thoughts on Iran which I've been firming up for months. The paper is mine alone, though I've talked discreetly around with Polk, Hansen, and a few senior Agency types (latter only to explore whether any new faces on horizon). Nonetheless I think that it roughly approximates the consensus of those around town who, like myself, see our present Iran policy as inadequate to the need but find it too pat to say let's back another horse than Pahlavi (when we don't see one running yet). We all agree that the US must do more than it's doing, but are leery of such radical solutions as pressing for a Majlis or backing the National Front, with the Shah relegated to figurehead status or replaced by a regency. We stick with realpolitik. Am sending copies to Bobby [Kennedy?] (to counter flak he's getting from the Douglasites--he charged me again the other day) and Ralph Dungan. Next move is yours."


Just now we're in a hiatus period in Iran; even the SAVAK chief says that "at least for the short term immediate future there is no reason to feel uneasy." But Pakravan, or anyone familiar with this feeble country, knows this as just another lull before the storm.

It is equally trite to point out that Iran, as one of the most vulnerable soft spots around the Bloc periphery, is potentially as serious a crisis area as any we confront. Though we've tended in the past to view this problem more in terms of external threat than internal upset, we're even past this hurdle. Most of us regard the greatest threat to US interests in Iran as arising from the combination of a modernizing revolution and a weak, archaic government (and ruling group) which seems unable either to contain or adjust to it fast enough. As Khrushchev told Kennedy at Vienna, this place will collapse from within.

Despite this consensus, US policy toward Iran has hardly been commensurate to the need. For fifteen years we've pursued an essentially reactive policy. We've rushed into the breach whenever a clear threat reminded us of Iran's crucial position (as in the 1946-47 Azerbaijan crisis, the Mossadegh period, the Shah's 1958 flirtation with the Soviets, or the May 1961 crisis). But as each was over, we relapsed into an essentially passive acceptance of things Iranian as they are.

Our attitude toward the abortive Amini experiment is especially instructive. Here the Shah, running scared, decided to put in Amini and take a flyer at reform. We too ran scared; the Iran Task Force mapped out the most constructive policy I've seen yet toward Iran's domestic problems. But we, the Shah, and even Amini were capable of only a short spurt of activity. Once the Shah and his entourage realized the crisis was over, they resumed the perennial game of cutting the new boy down to size. We too relapsed into our usual preoccupation with the military rather than the internal problems of Iran (we got real movement in the last year only on a $300 million, five-year MAP package, nothing else).

From one standpoint, to be sure, our Iranian policy has been a success. We've bought time and helped preserve a friendly country. We've had little luck, however, in stimulating sufficient internal movement to channel and stabilize the forces released by the gradual crumbling of the traditional society. Admittedly our attempts to do so have been exercises in frustration, but there's been little sustained drive on our part. We've taken refuge in the argument that we can't push the Shah too hard because, however weak, he's the only existing source of power. But this gets us into a vicious circle, because unless they do more than at present, the Shah and the group around him can't last.

Thus our present approach of stepping in only when crisis occurs, and then only to help paper it over so we can relax again till the next one, doesn't meet the problem. Crudely stated, our goal in Iran is enough stability to avoid violent revolution, from which we doubt we'd emerge the gainers, which means rapid enough progress to satisfy growing popular frustrations. As Amini put it, we need a controlled revolution rather than an uncontrolled one. The Shah genuinely seems to prefer this too, but on his own is too weak to risk the effort required.

What policy for the US? If then, the present Iranian regime is not effective enough to provide the reasonably stable but progressive government needed to forestall repeated crises and eventual chaos, what are the alternatives? As I see it, we confront two basic dilemmas in Iran: (1) Should we continue to back the existing power structure or acquiesce in political revolution? (2) Under either alternative, should our role be active or passive?

One course would be to ride with anti-Shah forces and perhaps encourage them. There is much support for this line, depending on the degree to which one thinks an early political overturn inevitable. And the US could no doubt bring down the Shah, simply by withholding aid and letting nature take its course. If this weren't enough, US could press for elections and a new Majlis, disengage from its present close relations with the court, invite National Front leaders to US, etc. The Shah in desperation might flirt with the Soviets or try open dictatorship, but would more likely flee.

To what, however, would this policy lead? Hopefully, we would increase our leverage with whatever new political forces came to power. But what are these forces? The chief opposition at present, the so-called "National Front", is one in name only; its only unifying element is a common antipathy to the present regime. It is a loose grouping of minor league politicians with little popular base. The young technocrats detest them. They are against everything but have no constructive platform of their own. Could the NF or some variant thereof run the country? I doubt it (and so do those "young Turks" like Gudarsi and Farman-Farmaian whom I talked with in Teheran).

The Bill Douglas solution of a regency, thus preserving the monarchic institution, is to me a non-starter; it preserves the shell but without even the little substance that the Shah himself provides. Even to press the Shah prematurely toward new elections and a Majlis is an invitation to chaos in a country like Iran; these are not a stabilizing institution or even a safety valve (look at the record of the "stacked" Majlis of the recent past). Iran simply is not ready yet for democratic consensus (any more than Pakistan was in 1950-56).

So it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we'd have a series of weak, ineffective governments (a la Mossadegh), near political chaos, and open sesame for the growth of Tudeh influence. Of course there might emerge, out of the chaos, a leader or group (no doubt from the military) who would impose authoritarian rule. Iran may yet go in this direction. At this time, however, we see no contender worth considering1 (though we're keeping eyes peeled).

A possible exception is Timur Bakhtiar, ex-SAVAK chief, who certainly has such ambitions, but in whom we don't see much (except as a course of desperation). Indeed, we specifically warned him off at time of May 1961 crisis. [Footnote in the source text.]1

So the above alternative is not a real one yet. While we could slough off the old regime in Iran, we'd just be out of the frying pan into the fire. We'd have no way of assuring that we could protect our interests satisfactorily in the chaos likely to ensue. Indeed the odds are that, in the absence of even the modest source of stability the monarchy and army now provide, we'd have less leverage with whatever regime eventually emerged. Would it at least be a stronger, more satisfactory regime from the US standpoint? I doubt this too. If a strong man emerged, there's at least as much chance he'd be more like Kassem than Ayub. The odds are that the Soviets would benefit far more from this type of situation (as they did with Mossadegh and have with Kassem) than we. We may have to live with a neutralist Iran but it's got to be one strong enough to resist pressures from both sides.

The above picture may change. A viable alternative may emerge. So let's keep actively looking. But there is no presently foreseeable alternative better than some combination of the Shah and a reformist cabinet with his full backing or at least acquiescence.

I'm persuaded of one thing--the Shah does mean something in Iran. He's more than a symbol; with all his weaknesses he's the chief existing source of power in a country with few if any competing power centers. Let's not forget he still has the army and the peasantry. Yet (as I've consistently argued), backing him in the manner we do at present isn't a very viable proposition either. It only buys us a bit more time. Sooner or later, unless he and his show more energy than they have (and are), there's going to be an explosion in Iran. Most observers agree on this proposition; their chief differences are essentially over how soon.

Left to its own devices, the present regime in Iran will not move fast enough to avert the otherwise inevitable. Its greatest deficit is that intangible I'll call leadership. The Shah means well; so do many of his ministers. As Bill Douglas says, talk two hours to the Shah and you come away thinking he's FDR./3/ What they lack is the capacity for sustained, dynamic effort. They don't have what it takes to run a country themselves.

/3/In an August 22 memorandum, Komer described the views of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who had a longstanding interest in Iran, on the Shah of Iran. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Iran, 8/12/62-8/31/62) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Iran.

So we must try to provide what's missing. At any rate, if we won't try who will? This isn't country like Greece or Pakistan (even Turkey) with strongminded and reasonably competent leadership. It is Iran.

Therefore, an essential corollary to supporting the present regime is that the US must pursue a policy deliberately calculated to maximize its chances of its survivability and popular acceptability. If we're going to support it we must simultaneously make every effort to enhance its effectiveness by actively pushing, prodding, and cajoling it in directions we favor, rather than bailing it out only when its own mismanagement gets it in a box. We must attempt to reshape the regime to give it greater life expectancy than the 3-5 years it otherwise has.

What would a more vigorous US effort involve? First and foremost, it would mean pressing the Shah and his government to move faster on planned development, land reform, anti-corruption, better revenue collection, reform of the bureaucracy, public relations, and the like. It would involve efforts to control the military budget, and to influence the budgetary process in general. It might also mean more money, but we could reasonably expect to get more for it too.

One key element would be to press the Shah to install (and keep in power) reform-minded cabinets. We need a series of Aminis; indeed one bet would be to push for the reinstallation of Amini himself. If we did so, however, it should be on some clearly defined conditions which would enhance his chances of success.

Would US "intervention" work? Amini himself, even with the Shah's lukewarm support and ours, ran out of gas after fifteen months of trying, largely single-handed, to move Iran. The closer he got to effective reform the more the interests being hurt tried to clip his wings. And he too made plenty of mistakes. But it is shortsighted to regard the Amini interlude as a flop. While he didn't achieve what we optimists expected, he did accomplish more than anyone else in the last fifteen years. Land reform at least acquired sustained momentum; both the Shah and Alam are continuing to push it hard.

Nonetheless, a more vigorous US effort to encourage revamping of the present regime is admittedly a gamble. If pushed too hard, it will breed countervailing pressures from those interests on whose feet we trod. It may well run into difficulties with the Shah, who though intellectually convinced of the need for reform is more concerned with protecting his own short term position from any prime minister grown too powerful. Yet I think we underestimate our leverage with him; he needs us and knows it (and he's never had a strong lead).

Another argument is that too overt a US identification with any Iranian regime is the kiss of death. We should stand aloof, not engage our prestige with possible failures. Let's retain flexibility. To me, these traditional worries are out of date. The US is already so identified with the present regime, and the "hidden hand" theme so pervades Iranian thinking, that no one believes we aren't really pulling the strings. We're committed to the present Iranian regime, and our prestige will suffer if it fails no matter what. So let's not kid ourselves with what are essentially arguments for inaction. Moreover, if the US is frankly identified with pushing reform and development in Iran, this cannot really hurt us much with whatever successor regime takes power if the present one fails.

Can our present team do the job? If we ought to stick with what we've got in Iran but mount a real effort to refurbish it, we need people who will give the necessary push. Talbot and Grant on the Washington end would pitch in if given the word in no uncertain terms. They know we're living on borrowed time. But I've found from 18 months of needling that they're weak on follow-through. They haven't really sat on top of Embassy Teheran (in justice I'll say that other more immediate problems always seem to claim their time).

The opposite vice grips Teheran. Julius Holmes is one of the most toughminded operators in the Foreign Service. His problem is that he's toughminded about the wrong things; he's great on military aid and earthquake relief, but fails to understand what really ails Iran. I'm afraid he's too much of a traditionalist for the role./4/ His Embassy is weak too on the political side; it badly needs a stronger DCM.

/4/Nor is his political judgment so hot. Ed Mason, in late May, found Amini a spent force. So I'm told did everyone in the Embassy. Yet when Holmes returned from two months home leave, he found this judgment "premature" (Tehran 15, 4 July). Twelve days later Amini quit. [Footnote in the source text.]

But let's see the alternatives before we change. There aren't many ambassadors who could do better in this touchy situation who aren't already fully employed. In fact, what we need is a good non-professional with drive, perhaps a good defeated candidate from '62 elections.

Recommendations. I offer my prescription, not as a sovereign remedy but as the best available to us in a deteriorating situation. And let's start moving now--the Shah is already thinking of a new PM and we want to influence his choice. The Iranian trend line is so adverse, and the stakes so important, that the one thing we can't afford to do is stand still. Therefore:

1. Stick with the Shah, but push him a lot harder in the direction we think he must go. Give him a strong lead, instead of always kowtowing to his fantasies.

2. Press on him (at the right moment) another reform-minded PM and cabinet. The best bet might be Amini (perhaps we should start re-grooming him). We vigorously press this guy too, with advice and where necessary aid.

3. Make the theme of our pressure vigorous reform and sensible development; insist on a good development plan (as the condition for our aid) and on sufficient control over the ordinary budget (including military) that adequate local resources and oil revenues can be diverted to this task.

4. Also intervene more vigorously with advice and where necessary pressure at other points where we can do so effectively, not just with the Shah and PM.

5. Soft-pedal for a while longer on elections and a parliament. In fact, let's strengthen the internal security apparatus.

6. Look for a better Ambassador, preferably a non-professional with drive; someone like Dilworth (if he doesn't win) might be great.

7. Start the ball rolling, not with another NSAM and task force (which scare the bureaucrats but not enough to get action), but with a tough presidential word to Rusk or Ball (and a strong follow-through mandate to thee and me). Then Talbot and I could go out to Teheran to pass the word (and bring home the verdict).

R. W. Komer


86. Telegram From the Department of State to the Legation in Yemen/1/

Washington, October 24, 1962, 8:07 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86H/10-2262. Secret. Drafted by Seelye, cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, Jidda, London, and Aden.

167. Legtel 142./2/ You may at your discretion convey to Prime Minister Sallal or other appropriate YAR official all or that portion of following which in your judgment can be safely held in YAR confidence:

/2/In telegram 142 from Taiz, October 22, Stookey reported on a conversation with Prime Minister Sallal that took place in Sanaa on October 19. (Ibid., 786H.02/10-2262)

USG is gratified at: (1) Prime Minister Sallal's assurances to Charge re YAR desire for US friendship; (2) YAR's expressed intention concentrate on internal reform and progress; (3) YAR's evident desire maintain independent policy and eschew undue outside influence; (4) YAR officials' statements to effect YAR will refrain from foreign adventures (e.g. actively pressing claims to Aden Protectorates and Colony); and (4) YAR desire establish friendly relations with Saudi regime in Saudi Arabia.

We believe foregoing are welcome indicators of good intentions on part republic regime and are pleased they are matter of record. We wish YAR confidentially to understand, however, that reasons for continued USG delay in extending recognition are found outside Yemen and relate to need avoid damage to our interests in Arabian Peninsula flowing from Yemen conflict. We must first assist in creating situation in which others can gracefully disengage from conflict. One step in this direction is reduction in area tensions. In helping reduce these tensions we wonder if YAR intends to proceed with course of action proposed to Charge Stookey re dispatch friendship mission to Saudi Arabia.

We believe, therefore, YAR will appreciate necessity further delay before extension USG recognition while other Western states such as West Germany are doing so. As Charge Stookey has informed Prime Minister Sallal, continuation of AID projects is earnest of US desire assist people of Yemen.

FYI. We are still undertaking talks with UAR re possibility reducing tensions between UAR and Saudi Arabia. At same time we must give Prince Faysal time appoint a cabinet, familiarize himself with developments and cope with internal stresses flowing from SAG commitment Yemen conflict. We are seeking ways assist him in latter endeavor and have assured him of our support./3/ End FYI.

/3/Telegram 1559 from USUN, October 30, confirmed that in response to a telephone call from Seelye, an officer of the U.S. Mission gave to YAR Foreign Minister El Ainy the substance of telegram 167 to Taiz with the exception of the third sentence in the third paragraph. El Ainy expressed gratification and said he would relay the message to Sallal. (Ibid., 611.86H/10-3062)



87. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/


Washington, October 31, 1962, 4:17 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 884A.1901/10-3162. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford on October 24; cleared by Strong, Thomas (DOD/ISA), Burdett, Newsom, and Herron (P); and approved by Talbot. Sent to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Jidda, and Oslo and repeated to Algiers, Bonn, Cairo, Khartoum, London (by pouch), Ottawa (by pouch), Paris, Rabat, Rome, Taiz, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, and Tunis.

Israel's Dimona Reactor

Depcirtel 2047 of July [June] 17, 1961

/2/Circular telegram 2047, June 17, 1961, advised Near Eastern posts regarding the recent U.S. inspection of the Dimona nuclear reactor. (Ibid., 884A. 1901/6-1761)

Reftel (sent all addressees except Algiers) authorized addressees inform governments to which accredited of results unpublicized visit in spring 1961 by two qualified scientists to Israel reactor site at Dimona. According to observations then reported, Dimona project appeared of type and magnitude described publicly by Israel leaders (e.g., research reactor with 24 megawatt capacity). While they also concluded reactor upon completion in two or three years would produce small quantities plutonium as do others of comparable size and character, our experts found no evidence Israelis preparing produce weapons. We noted, accordingly, that observations US scientists tended support public and private assurances re peaceful intent Dimona project. We further noted that highest levels this government opposed to proliferation nuclear weapons production capabilities and had so informed Israel.

Recently there has been further visit by American scientists to Dimona reactor./3/ This enables us renew statements of June 1961 that latest observations again confirm Israeli statements that reactor intended for peaceful purposes only. There no evidence of preparation for nuclear weapons production. Work on reactor progressing normally.

/3/On June 22, Talbot suggested to Harmon the possibility of a second visit by U.S. scientists to Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona, arguing that such a visit could help prolong the relaxed feeling toward Israel's nuclear program since the first U.S. visit in May 1961. (Memorandum of conversation, June 22; ibid., 611.84A45/6-2262) On September 14, the Department asked Harman if a visit could be arranged for two U.S. Atomic Energy Commission scientists who would be visiting Israel September 25-28 to inspect another smaller reactor. The next day, Harman conveyed Israeli regret that a decision could not be made until Ben Gurion returned from a foreign trip at the end of September. (Memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, September 21; ibid., 884A.1901/9-2162) On September 26 during the visit of the two U.S. scientists, Israeli officials took them without prior warning to the Dimona facility where they were given a 40-minute tour of the site. (Memorandum from Davies to Talbot, December 27; ibid., 984A.8138/12-2762; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Israel)

Unless strong objection perceived, action addressees should orally convey information preceding paragraph promptly and in confidence to host governments at level deemed appropriate, although we would wish be assured information will become known at highest levels. Missions should report action taken and reactions noted.

For Damascus: Since no approach was made in Damascus last year, your statement should be altered appropriately.

Info addressees, with exception Tel Aviv, may use foregoing in discussions with local government as seems desirable and useful do so. We discussed with Canadian and UK Embassies October 23./4/ Cairo instructed separately re approach UAR./5/

/4/The memorandum of conversation, October 23, is in Department of State, Central Files, 884A.1901/10-2362.

/5/In telegram 451 to Cairo, October 22, the Department of State instructed the Embassy: "Connection your approach to Nasser regarding Cuban situation you should inform him in confidence recent visit by American scientists to Dimona reactor enables USG renew assurances of June 1961 that latest observations again confirm Israeli statements that reactor intended for peaceful purposes only. No evidence of preparation for nuclear weapons production. Work on reactor progressing normally." (Ibid., 884A.1901/10-2262)

Department intends initiate no publicity with regard visits by scientists. If leaks occur, US spokesman will say two US scientists recently in Israel in connection with US Atoms-for-Peace Agreement had opportunity visit Dimona installation which they observed to be of nature and scope publicly disclosed by Israel Government. Suggest addressees take similar line in response responsible press inquiries.



88. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, November 2, 1962, 6:45 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State. Central Files, 786A.11/10-2562. Confidential. Drafted by Seelye on November 1; cleared by Strong, Kaysen, and Little; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Cairo, London, and Amman.


213. Deptel 198 not repeated to all addressees./2/ During his forthcoming call on Crown Prince Faysal in connection exposition necessity US recognize YAR (subject separate cable to follow in few days) Ambassador requested deliver following Presidential letter, indicating President wishes make it public soon under appropriate circumstances discussed in cable referred to above. Should Faysal care to prepare a reply, we would propose simultaneous publication Presidential letter and Faysal reply.

/2/Telegram 198 to Jidda, October 25, transmitted the text of a proposed letter from Kennedy to Faysal (same as printed here), indicating that the text would be made public when the United States recognized Yemen. The telegram noted that the letter served the following purposes: "(1) reassure Faysal of US support; (2) make his path of modernization and reform matter of record; and (3) serve nonprovocative notice to Cairo of our SAG commitment." (Ibid.) These three reasons are also cited in a memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, November 1, recommending that the letter be sent. (Ibid., 786A.11/11-162)

"Your Highness:

"As Your Highness assumes new and important responsibilities upon returning to Saudi Arabia, I wish to recall your visit to the White House on October 5. I then stated, and would like to repeat, that Saudi Arabia can depend upon the friendship and the cooperation of the United States in dealing with the many tasks which lie before it in the days ahead. The United States has a deep and abiding interest in the stability and progress of Saudi Arabia. Under your firm and wise leadership I am confident Saudi Arabia will move ahead successfully on the path of modernization and reform which you so clearly desire. In pursuing this course you may be assured of full United States support for the maintenance of Saudi Arabia's integrity.

"I am fully aware that in order to accomplish your goals you must have the requisite tranquillity--an atmosphere reasonably devoid of recriminations and instigations from within or without. I share your concern at the tensions which prevail in the area and which hamper your design to strengthen the fabric of government and society in Saudi Arabia. As I indicated to you in Washington, the United States desires to be helpful in finding means of reducing these tensions.

"I foresee for our two countries not merely the continuance of the cordial relationship which began so auspiciously during the reign of your illustrious father, His Majesty Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud; rather I foresee the opening of a chapter in Saudi-United States relations in which the common bond of enlightened self-interest is firmly riveted by a common dedication to the inalienable rights of man for self-fulfillment, progress and freedom.

"I wish you success and send you my warmest personal regards. May God keep you and the Saudi people and grant you peace.

"Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"

FYI. We plan withhold recognition YAR until able publicize correspondence and in any case until have completed talks in Cairo and have determined what other supporting measures we can provide SAG. End FYI.

For Cairo: Embassy Cairo will note that in deference Embassy Jidda's strong recommendation and view precariousness situation in Saudi Arabia, we have chosen not delete sentence per your telegram 683 to Dept./3/

/3/In telegram 683 from Cairo, October 26, Badeau expressed concern over plans to publish Kennedy's letter to Faysal and predicted that the UAR Government would almost certainly interpret the first sentence of the second paragraph as a direct accusation, which might stimulate Nasser to react publicly in a manner detrimental to U.S. interests. Badeau urged the sentence be removed. (Ibid., 786A.11/10-2662) In telegram 316 from Jidda, October 28, Hart disagreed with Badeau's proposal and recommended that the text be delivered without change. (Ibid., 786A.11/10-2862)



89. Editorial Note

On November 3, 1962, the Saudi Government issued a communique over Radio Mecca, expressing concern about UAR intervention in the internal affairs of Yemen and noting that "an attack had taken place on several Saudi localities by combat aircraft supplied by the government of the UAR to the Yemen insurrectionaries who call themselves the Yemen Army Arab Republic." The communique stated that the attack had come on November 2 and included sorties across the Saudi frontier during which bombs were dropped on five Saudi locations. The same day, Radio Mecca also announced that: "The (National Egyptian) Middle East News Agency has stated on the basis of a report from radio Sana that there are 5000 Saudi soldiers in Yemen who took part in the combat in Harad. The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia categorically denies this news and announces that the government of Saudi Arabia does not have a single officer or soldier operating in Yemen." (Reported in telegram 333 from Jidda, November 4; Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-462)

During the evening of November 3, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf called on Hart to relay an extremely urgent message from Faysal calling the attacks "savage acts against Saudi Arabia" and announcing that Saudi Arabia held the UAR responsible for these acts of aggression and reserved the right of response. Saqqaf said that Faysal wanted to know where the United States stood concerning this aggression and what procedures it planned to follow. In response to a question, Saqqaf affirmed that there was not a single Saudi officer or soldier on Yemeni soil nor had any Saudi aircraft passed into Yemen. (Telegram 334 from Jidda, November 4; ibid., 786A.5486B/11-462) A similar approach was made in Washington by Saudi Ambassador Khayyal on November 5. (Telegram 217 to Jidda, November 5; ibid., 786A.5486B/11-562)

On November 4 in Riyadh, Prince Sultan bin Abdula Aziz summoned the Chief of the U.S. Military Training Mission (CHUSMTM) in Saudi Arabia, Colonel Wilson, to a series of meetings during which Wilson was informed that the Saudi Government would soon formally request U.S. assistance to establish an active air defense system for the maintenance of internal security. This would involve the sale of certain arms on credit, the transfer of 11 F-86 U.S. aircraft located at Dhahran to the Saudi Government, with continued maintenance and operational assistance from U.S. personnel, and U.S. assistance in reorganizing Saudi defenses. (Telegram 117 from Dhahran, November 5; ibid., 786A.5622/11-562)

On November 7, Prince Sultan again summoned Wilson and asked that he convey to President Kennedy Faysal's request for a U.S. show of force in Saudi Arabia. Faysal did not wish for the participation of U.S. forces in the defense of Saudi Arabia, but the appearance of U.S. air and naval forces to provide convincing evidence to the Saudi people and others of the depth of U.S. interest and support for Saudi Arabia. He asked for more visits of U.S. warships and possibly an aircraft carrier. (Telegram 346 from Jidda, November 7; ibid., 786A.5811/11-762)


90. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, November 5, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451, Minutes of Meetings, November 5, 1962. Secret.

Minutes of Meeting of the Special Group (CI)

2 p.m., Monday, November 5, 1962


The Attorney General, Mr. Johnson, Mr. McCone, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Bundy vice Mr. Gilpatric, General Krulak vice General Taylor, Mr. Wilson vice Mr. Murrow

Mr. Cottrell was present for Item 1.

Mr. Komer and Mr. Forrestal were present for Items 1 and 2.

Ambassador Holmes and Mr. Bowling were present for Item 2.

[Here follows item 1 on Southeast Asia.]

2. Iran

The Group discussed with Ambassador Holmes and Mr. Bowling the internal security situation in Iran, and the proposed outline internal defense plan for the country./2/ It was noted that the plan represents current rather than new programs for strengthening Iran's internal security. Mr. Bowling and the Ambassador emphasized that Iran is not faced with a clear definable threat, and that accordingly it would be difficult to identify specific targets against which counterinsurgency programs should be aimed. In their opinion, the general program for improving the socio/economic and security situation is the most practical. Overall United States support to Iran is expected to run at the level of 95 million dollars for Fiscal Year 1963. This is slightly less than last year's expenditure of 100 million dollars.

/2/The paper was circulated to members of the Special Group on November 1. (Ibid.)

The Ambassador stressed that the first priority is the maintenance of stability, under which socio/economic improvement may take place; that stability is provided by the Shah, supported by the Army; and that our main objective must be to support the Shah in order to gain the time required for necessary reforms, and socio/economic progress. The Shah recognizes the potential threats and is seeking to implement necessary reforms. His land reform program is described by the Ambassador as truly revolutionary.

Mr. Bowling described a shift in the political situation which has occurred during the last several months. Whereas in the past the Shah was allied and supported by the Army and the elite versus the middle class and students, he has now through his reform programs allied himself with the Army, the peasantry and the urban proletariat versus the traditional elite, students and middle class.

The student problem is complicated by their inability to participate in meaningful political activities, as elections are not being held during this period, and participation in politics is accordingly limited to meetings and discussions./3/

/3/Following this meeting, Komer sent Bundy a memorandum (with copies to Kaysen and Robert Kennedy) that called Ambassador Holmes' presentation at the meeting "one of the better snow jobs of recent memory." He quoted Holmes as saying: "Iran is the most stable country in the Middle East" and described the Holmes/Bowling presentation as: "(1) in general things are going well in Iran; (2) existing programs are adequate, though of course some more money would be welcome; (3) the present regime is being pushed as hard as is feasible and is moving as fast as it can on the road to reform." Komer found "such euphoria hard to believe," and advised: "if moving at the Shah's pace means just bottling up revolution, we're again postponing the inevitable. We need a 'controlled revolution' in Iran, and today's performance reinforces my conviction that we must promote one. We don't know where we're going in Iran, and are inviting greater risks by refusing to take lesser ones." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Iran, 11/1/62-11/30/62)

[Here follow items 3 and 4 on unrelated matters.]

Thomas W. Davis, Jr./4/
Executive Secretary

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


91. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, November 7, 1962, 7:46 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.54866/11-762. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye; cleared by Strong, Kettelhut, Quinn (DOD), and Gaud; and approved by Grant. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, Dhahran, Taiz, Aden (by pouch), and USUN.

225. Ambassador should immediately call on Crown Prince Faysal and 1) express concern with which US views UAR bombing of Saudi villages and shelling of Muwassam; 2) state USG has indicated its grave concern to UAR;/2/ 3) USG preparing appropriate military measures to underline its Saudi commitment. (FYI. Measures include destroyer patrol Saudi Red Sea coast and visit US aircraft Dhahran. Latter likely be in form visit 2 B-66's or 6-8 F-100's within week. Other possible arrangements include joint US-SAG military exercises in Saudi Arabia later in FY 63. End FYI); 4) USG agreeable loan SAG 11 F-86's at Dhahran for duration crisis together with maintenance and limited operational assistance, provided SAG guarantees their use limited purely defense purposes, and provided operational assistance confined well inside Saudi border (however, we must first sign agreement being cabled immediately); 5) USG willing allow use limited quantity rocket warheads if guaranteed not to be used for offensive operations outside Saudi territory (FYI. Unclear whether warheads located Saudi Arabia. Please clarify. In any case wish insofar possible drag our feet on this. End FYI) and 6) USG will make strenuous effort to effect termination all outside military participation Yemen and we counting on SAG cooperation. USG cannot refrain indefinitely from recognizing YARG but will not do so in immediate difficult circumstances.

/2/Telegram 487 to Cairo, November 6, instructed Badeau to inform Ali Sabri that reports of recent bombings of Saudi Arabia were of "grave concern" to the United States and, if true, would greatly complicate early resolution of the Yemen problem and U.S. recognition. (Ibid. 686A.86B/11-662) Telegram 492 to Cairo, November 8, instructed Badeau to seek an interview with Nasser to discuss the Yemen situation. (Ibid., 786A.5486B/11-862). Telegram 208 to Taiz, November 10, instructed Stookey to impress upon Yemeni leaders that the United States was satisfied with Saudi assurances that no Saudi troops were fighting in Yemen. (Ibid., 686B.86H/11-762) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

Assure Faysal, as he earlier informed in US, USG has deep and abiding interest in stability Saudi Arabia and its progress. US wishes demonstrate this interest in variety of ways and continues to welcome Prince Faysal's suggestions. Among measures contemplated are following:

(a) Presidential letter--(in earlier telegram)/3/ which Ambassador should deliver. Should Faysal wish to reply this letter and agree make public, we would propose early release of correspondence. FYI. If Faysal reply raises extraneous issues such as attack on Nasser and Palestine problem preferable have no reply since this would disrupt our plans for publication President's letter. We wish make latter public. On line 2 second para of letter delete word "reasonably." End FYI.

/3/Document 88.

(b) Civic actions--As President informed Faysal, USG making plans initiate civic action program. As plans crystalize Ambassador will discuss further with Faysal.

(c) Technical assistance. USG wishes be as helpful as possible in assisting SAG move ahead rapidly on economic development program and has taken careful note recommendations US Economic Survey Team. We prepared assist in finding experts in appropriate fields interested in temporary service with SAG who can aid in work of Supreme Planning Board and SAG ministries. FYI. Department and AID consulting on five recommendations contained part II Jidda's 321.3 AID has no funds for technical assistance or grant activities in Saudi Arabia in FY 6/3/. AID/W assistance will have to be limited locating personnel.

3/Telegram 321 from Jidda, October 31, contained specific recommendations relating to U.S. technical and economic assistance. (Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/10-3162)

(d) Nature US commitment. USG officials Washington made clear to Faysal vital US interest in Saudi Arabia would justify full US support for Saudi Arabia's integrity and preclusion of active outside intervention. We wish Faysal fully understand our commitment to Royal Family as such contingent upon progress and reform in Saudi Arabia and does not connote preservation Saudi Royal Family at all costs. US pleased at evidence of serious intent carry out reforms. USG fully accords with Faysal's view that SAG requires tranquility in order cope with internal affairs. President alludes such need in his letter and USG, while deploring disruption SAG-UAR relations, will use its best efforts bring about accommodation. FYI. We leave to your discretion how best to handle this. Perhaps discussion this subject should await subsequent talks with Faysal. We fully endorse your recommendation we arrange occasional visit to Saudi Arabia of distinguished Americans and note such arrangements would be facilitated by modifications SAG visa policies which President raised with Faysal (Deptel 142)./5/ Also endorse your recommended reform measures (Jidda's 321)/6/ and leave to your discretion method and timing presentation to Faysal. End FYI.

/5/Telegram 142 to Jidda, October 6, contained a summary of Document 71. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/10-662)

/6/Reform measures mentioned in telegram 321 from Jidda, October 31, included: eliminate the extravagance [text not declassified] of the Royal family; establish mechanisms for increased popular participation in government; eliminate the power of [text not declassified] religious officials; accelerate the government's decisionmaking process; permit economic development program to get underway; reduce bribery and graft in government; improve the administration of justice; intensify efforts to improve the Saudi educational system; restrict expansion of the government bureaucracy; and abolish slavery.

FYI. Until receipt reports of UAR bombings and shelling of Saudi territory, we had planned inform Prince Faysal, King Hussein and UAR this week our intention recognize YAR November 15, after House of Commons debate on Aden federation plan. However, we now forced postpone discussions leading to recognition since would appear to be giving in to UAR use of force and would be totally unacceptable Faysal while UAR forces attacking Saudi territory. Our efforts must be focussed on somehow securing disengagement outside forces involved Yemen conflict with recognition to follow. In your discretion you may inform Faysal our concern opposition in Jordan to Hussein's efforts aid in restoration Imamate and our hope that he will not further involve himself lest very fabric Jordan state be seriously weakened./7/ End FYI.

/7/Hart met with Faysal on November 8 and delivered the 6 points of the first paragraph of this telegram. Hart then gave him the letter from Kennedy as directed in the next paragraph. Hart reported that Faysal appeared satisfied with the U.S. response. (Telegram 120 from Dhahran, November 9; Department of State, Central Files, 611.86A/11-962) Hart continued the discussion with Faysal on November 10 and 12, leaving until the final meeting the execution of his instructions in paragraph d of telegram 225. Hart reported that Faysal "took this in excellent spirit and without making direct response dwelt on some of problems he confronting in pushing 'fundamental' reforms amid protests of still powerful religious leaders on one side and clamor of urban elements for changes of 'secondary' importance such as 'cities of entertainment.'" (Telegrams 362 and 374 from Jidda, November 10 and 12; ibid., 786A.5622/11-1062 and 611.86A/11-1262)



92. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/


Washington, November 9, 1962.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1962 Files, 9180/3100 (19 Oct 62). Secret.

Possible US Military Support to the Saudi Arabian Regime (U)

1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-20659/62, dated 17 October 1962, subject as above.

2. In the present situation, the exact nature of the threat to the Saudi Arabian Government is not clear. It is difficult to divorce the problem within Saudi Arabia from the external problem, particularly as it arises out of the Yemen affair. Therefore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have examined the situation with a view to determining those objectives toward which US military measures within Saudi Arabia might be applied. Proceeding from the basic assumption that the US interest is to maintain the existing Saudi Arabian Government, they conclude that the following objectives are appropriate:

a. Strengthen the reciprocal confidence and loyalty of the armed forces and the monarchy.

b. Identify and neutralize subversive elements seeking the downfall of the Government.

c. Deter the United Arab Republic (UAR) from exploiting any apparent success in Yemen.

d. Defeat any overt aggression from the UAR, or elsewhere.

3. In furtherance of these objectives, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend the following US military measures as being appropriate:

a. Instruct the Chief, United States Military Training Mission (USMTM), to consult closely with the leaders of the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, to inform them of US support for the Saudi Arabian Government, to impress them with their responsibilities to the Government, and to emphasize the necessity of assuring the loyalty of all personnel.

b. Continue visits by MIDEASTFOR ships to Saudi Arabian ports, to include visits to Red Sea ports on the basis of about one ship per month./2/

/2/On November 10, the JCS instructed the U.S. destroyer scheduled to visit Jidda to proceed there as soon as possible, to transit the Suez Canal without informing Egyptian authorities as to its destination or mission, to maintain contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Jidda, and to avoid public statements. If asked to patrol the coastal area near the Saudi-Yemeni border, "the purpose would be to discourage, by its presence, UAR hostile naval actions against Saudi territory." The destroyer's command was instructed not to "maneuver in a manner threatening UAR naval ships," but if fired on to take "appropriate defensive reaction." (Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5811/11-1062)

c. Utilize Dhahran Air Base for US forces now scheduled to participate in CENTO air defense exercises, 13-21 November 1962.

d. Offer now to conduct joint exercises with Saudi Arabia in 1963 if the world situation in 1963 permits and make public announcement once the offer is accepted.

e. Assign appropriate personnel to the USMTM to evaluate the subversive insurgency situation and to recommend a program to assist the Saudi Arabian Government in counterinsurgency.

f. Provide assistance as required to deploy some of the F-86 aircraft now at Dhahran to Jidda and to maintain the aircraft while Saudi aircrews operate in an air defense role. Before undertaking this operation, the Chief, USMTM, should report a reasonable degree of assurance that defections will not occur.

4. CINCNELM has prepared contingency plans for the Middle East based upon introducing various levels of force depending upon the situation. These plans would provide additional US military measures, if implemented.

5. In making the foregoing recommendations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphasize the following related aspects of the problem:

a. US actions in Saudi Arabia should continue to support the objective of insuring availability of Saudi Arabian oil to the Free World on acceptable terms.

b. Military measures in support of the present Saudi Arabian Government may be largely ineffective unless that Government is capable of sustaining the loyalty of the armed forces and finding an effective base of support within Saudi Arabia.

c. US actions in support of the Saudi Arabian Government could be viewed as support for the restoration of the Imamate in Yemen. A clear understanding should be concluded with the Saudi Arabian Government as to its future plans with regard to Yemen.

d. US recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic may make it difficult to implement a cooperative effort toward maintaining the existing Saudi Arabian Government.

e. US military interests in Saudi Arabia would be adversely affected if the Saudi Arabian Government were to adopt a hostile attitude due to lack of US support in the Yemen crisis. In particular, the loss of already limited US use of Dhahran Air Base and the forced withdrawal of the USMTM would deprive the United States of important assets in the Middle East.

f. An effort should be made to establish an identity of strategic interests with the United Kingdom in this situation, not only in sustaining the Saudi Arabian Government but in other situations likely to arise out of the Yemen crisis.

g. As a quid pro quo for US support, the United States should extract an acceptable USMTM agreement, an agreement to continue US use of Dhahran Air Base, and at least a promise on the part of the present Saudi Arabian Government to inaugurate reforms.

6. A detailed examination of the situation from a military point of view, toget her with the alternatives available, is attached as an Appendix./3/ CINCNELM and USCINCEUR have been requested to comment./4/

/3/Attached but not printed.

/4/The views of the JCS in this memorandum were transmitted to CINCNELM and USCINCEUR in JCS telegram 7336, November 10. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia) CINCNELM cabled its concurrence to the military objectives on November 10. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 7275, Middle East Policy 1957-1964)

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

John A. Heintges/5/
Major General, USA
Deputy Director, Joint Staff

/5/Printed from a copy that indicates Heintges signed the original.


93. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia/1/

Washington, November 10, 1962, 6:18 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.5622/11-1062. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, and London.

237. We continue deeply concerned that presence Jordanian combat aircraft Saudi Arabia will lead to incidents inevitably bringing UAR reprisals on Saudi territory far beyond border area and destroying possibility Saudi disengagement. We have just learned US-UK efforts Amman and US efforts Jidda ineffective in delaying or cancellation stationing Jordanian planes Taif./2/

/2/On November 6, King Hussein informed Macomber that he intended to respond positively to a request from King Saud that Jordan send one or two aircraft to Saudi territory to help stop attacks by Yemeni/UAR forces. (Ibid., 786H.00/11-762) On November 7, Macomber and British Ambassador Henniker-Major met with Hussein and sought to discourage him from sending the aircraft, but Hussein and Prime Minister Tell insisted that the planes would be sent, because Jordan had treaty obligations with Saudi Arabia. (Telegram 248 from Amman, November 7; ibid. 786.5622/11-762) After learning that Lord Home had sent a personal message to Hussein on the subject, Macomber met again with the King on November 9 but was unable to dissuade him. On November 10, Tell informed Macomber that six Hunter aircraft had arrived at Taif that morning. (Telegram 256 from Amman, November 10; ibid., 786.5622/11-1062) Additional documentation is ibid., 685.86A, 786H.00, and 785.5622.

Embassy Jidda should pursue vigorously objective of early return of planes to Jordan. Prior to return in no event should those planes operate near or across Yemeni border. Up to Saudis to take appropriate position with Hussein.

Keep Dept informed of status.

For Amman: Dept approves your use, in consultation with UK colleague, of any arguments you deem effective with Jordanians including fact turnover of F 86s to SAG obviates any earlier need for Jordanian planes in Saudi Arabia. We do not wish use threats with Hussein but cannot preclude doing so if his actions risk worsening conflict.

Use of MAP financed GOJ Hawkers in Saudi Arabia constitutes violation terms of sale. You should make clear to GOJ that employment US financed weapons for other than defensive purposes would prejudice future US military aid.

For London: We in close touch with UK Embassy here and have informed it of substance this message.


94. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic/1/

Washington, November 10, 1962, 7:31 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1062. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow, cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Jidda, London, Amman, Dhahran, and Taiz.

506. Assistant Secretary Talbot called in UAR Ambassador Kamel November 10 and with reference Badeau-Nasser conversation November 9 (Cairo Embtel 726)/2/ stated USG appreciated Nasser's assurances non-invasion Saudi territory and willingness consider mutual disengagement. Now necessary take positive actions break vicious cycle. Thus he conveying specific timetable of actions which US thinks would create proper atmosphere for resolution of crisis stating would appreciate UAR reaction by November 12.

/2/Dated November 9. (Ibid., 786H.00/11-962)

1. On November 14 President would address identical secret messages to Nasser, Faysal, Hussein and Sallal proposing following:

a) termination external support to royalists;

b) phased withdrawal UAR forces from Yemen;

c) withdrawal Saudi-Jordanian forces from vicinity Yemen border;

d) public statement by YAR reaffirming intention honor international obligations, seek normalization relations with neighboring states and concentrate on domestic affairs.

2. On November 15 we would hope following steps could occur:

a) US announce recognition YAR.

b) UAR issue statement signifying willingness undertake reciprocal disengagement and phased removal of troops whenever 1) situation stabilized; 2) Saudi and Jordanian forces removed from frontier and 3) Saudi and Jordanian support of royalists stopped.

c) YAR simultaneously to make announcement described in President's message.

d) In order offset blow to Faysal occasioned by US recognition we may also publish separate Presidential message to Faysal affirming our intention support his efforts carry out program internal reforms.

3. US recognition YAR conditional upon no further military acts by UAR exacerbating situation.

Kamel made two personal comments namely 1) simultaneous US recognition and UAR publication of statement would smack of "deal"; 2) publication of President's letter to Faysal/3/ might be exploited against Faysal in sense portraying him subservient to US. Strongly urged quiet diplomacy. However believed proposals essentially along right lines.

/3/Presumably that in Document 88.

For Cairo: Suggest Ambassador follow up appropriately with Ali Sabri with view obtaining UAR response by November 12./4/ FYI: If UAR balks at public statement you authorized state private acceptance of President's proposals would serve purpose with understanding we propose inform Faysal. End FYI.

/4/In telegram 728 from Cairo, November 11, Badeau reported that the United Arab Republic welcomed the U.S. proposals set forth in this telegram. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1162) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen. Ambassador Badeau's presentation to Kamel on November 12 contained somewhat different observations. (Memorandum of conversation; Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1262) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

For Jidda: Suggest Ambassador Hart convey foregoing formula to Faysal changing emphasis in argumentation as appropriate./5/ View expected UAR objection publication Faysal letter (hinted by Kamel) might be preferable let Faysal determine whether should be published or not. If Faysal thinks this unnecessary to strengthening his position, we inclined not publish. Ambassador may at his discretion decide whether put this up to Faysal.

/5/In telegram 364 from Jidda, November 12, Hart objected to several parts of the plan proposed in this telegram as being unacceptable to Faysal. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1162)

For London: You may convey to FonOff for information.

Comments from posts welcome.




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