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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 95-116

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

Washington, November 12, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-1262. Secret; Limit Distribution. An attached note from Talbot to Secretary Rusk indicates that certain unspecified changes had been made in the memorandum and its attachment in response to directives given by Rusk on November 11.

The Johnson Plan and Consideration for the Forthcoming General Assembly Debate

Since other items on the United Nations Special Political Committee agenda have been disposed of more quickly than expected, we have at most only a week or ten days before debate commences on the future of UNRWA. This will inevitably include discussion of broader aspects of the refugee problem, particularly the actions (Johnson mission) taken by the Palestine Conciliation Commission in response to the specific directives of the last three Assemblies.

Following a middle ground tactical approach generally similar to that employed successfully last year, we wish to use this forthcoming debate to advance the extremely valuable work which has been done. The first task will be to use our influence with Israel to move its position away from its private (but incipient public) opposition and into parallel with the objection-but-no-rejection stance of the Arabs. In exchange for this shift, we would agree that the general elements of the Johnson approach should from now on be carried forward by the PCC rather than continue with the Johnson label. This metamorphosis should help Israel off the horns of the dilemma on which it finds itself by virtue of the opposition it has generated to the Johnson Plan per se. It will also help deal with Arab objections.

The enclosed "Analysis of Current Situation and Proposed Actions" describes the present state of play and our planned actions designed to utilize the coming debate to greatest advantage.

Dean Rusk/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.



/3/Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford.


Present Situation

With authorization of the PCC members, Dr. Johnson took up his proposals in confidence with the parties in early September. Predictably, there were objections on both sides resulting from the fact that neither found in the proposals a reflection of all its demands. The reactions differed, however. The Arabs assured Dr. Johnson that despite their objections they did not reject his proposals. Israel both objected and rejected. At one point, Israel came dangerously close to public statement of this, but retreated when it was brought to understand that such action would leave it bearing the full onus of responsibility for resisting progress. Thereafter, with the objective of keeping the plan in play until we could have a somewhat freer hand, we induced Israel to sit down with us for a more patient examination of elements essential to any realistic approach to solution. The specific balance sheet of where we now stand with each of the parties is as follows:

(A) With the Arabs: The Arabs have not been cohesive on this. The UAR's break with the Arab League has been reflected in its refusal to join in intra-Arab discussion of Johnson's proposals. UAR representatives have been dubious about the viability of Johnson's ideas and, particularly, Israel's willingness to take back any refugees. But in accord with the generally unperturbed, wait-and-see attitude Nasser displayed when we told him about the proposals before they were floated, UAR representatives have been passive and non-obstructionist.

Of the three Eastern Arab states which have been reacting in consultation with one another, Syria came very close at one point to jumping the traces in a public statement of apparent rejection by Prime Minister al-Azm. Subsequently, Jordan and Lebanon induced it to back away from the brink and Syria joined with these states in submitting to Dr. Johnson on October 15 a Note Verbale. This said that further discussion of Johnson's proposals would be of no avail unless Israel accepted in principle the refugee "right" of return. However, the Note avoided rejection, and from some of the Arabs we received signals that this stance was to some extent for public consumption. Unfortunately, this same domestic concern spilled over into one or or two defiant public utterances by Arab leaders, but their position of record remains as submitted to Dr. Johnson in the Note Verbale, and no Arab action taken thus far, either public or private, would conclusively preclude acquiescence in the Johnson approach, particularly if a way can be found to show that this derives from the principle of refugee choice that the Arabs insist be honored.

(B) With the Israelis: In four detailed talks between Assistant Secretary Talbot and Ambassador Harman over the last month,/4/ agreement has been reached on a dozen or so "building blocks" as essential to any attempt at solution. These cover such factors as (1) The need to tackle this problem, which is getting worse not better, separated out from the issue of a general peace; (2) The improbability of a negotiated settlement in view of the insistence by each party that the other make the first concession; (3) Unavoidably, we are seeking progress within a UN framework which establishes the principle that the true wishes of the individual refugee, when confronted with a real choice without outside pressure, must be ascertained but this process must have effective controls; (4) There must be full recognition of sovereignty, security and the economic rights and interests of the parties; and (5) The only fair and realistic solution lies in resettlement of most of the refugees. (A full listing of these is included in the Annex to this paper.)

/4/The memoranda of conversation among Talbot, Harman, and other U.S. and Israeli officials held on October 12, October 22, November 1, and November 9 are in Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/10-1262, 611.84A/10-2262, 325.84/11-162, and 611.84A/11-962, respectively. The memorandum of the October 12 conversation is in the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

In our talks with Harman, we have sought to demonstrate the extent to which these are realistically embodied in Johnson's approach. We have tried, also, to show that this approach is fully consistent with the broad lines of the President's May 1961 conversation with Ben-Gurion.

We have been partially successful in getting the Israelis to agree to these propositions. However, we have run again and again into Israeli insistences which would in effect preclude any progress, inter alia, (1) that the Arabs must recognize in advance that no more than one refugee in every ten can return to Israel;/5/ (2) that Israel opposes any operation for free expression of refugee preference; (3) that the Arabs must cease all hostile propaganda; and (4) that in any case our talks bear no relation to the Johnson Plan, which they consider dead. In rejoinder, we have made it clear that we do not regard the Johnson proposals as dead and that we think there is significance and hope in the fact that Israel has been unwilling to translate into public rejection its initial, precipitate private opposition and continued vigorous lobbying against Johnson's proposals. We have stressed, also, that Johnson is a free agent and were Israel's attitude to oblige him to report that it had rejected his proposals without even the courtesy of careful scrutiny, while the Arabs have not rejected, Israel would have to bear sole responsibility for its appearance of intransigence and resultant isolation in the eyes of an international community which has overwhelmingly endorsed this endeavor.

/5/On November 13, the Israeli Knesset adopted by a vote of 63 to 11 with 13 abstentions a resolution reconfirming a position previously adopted in November 1961 that Arab refugees should not be returned to Israel and that the solution to the problem was resettlement of the refugees in Arab countries. (Reported in telegram 413 from Tel Aviv, November 14; Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-1462)

While Ambassador Harman has so far stuck to his hard line that the Johnson proposals are dead, we continue to receive indications at other levels which lead us to believe that, if Israel cannot get us to drop the Johnson approach, under appropriate circumstances and with some firmer assurances on specific points of concern, it might be prepared to make a deal. (Our willingness to drop the Johnson label will go a long way to smooth the path for Israel.) Obviously, Israel's first objective remains the burial of Johnson's approach or in fact any approach involving repatriation and there is no chance of its being persuaded to deal in serious terms unless our firmness persuades it that we cannot be diverted.

As we see the present situation, our leverage to induce acquiescence in a procedure following the general lines suggested by Dr. Johnson is at a high point. Both parties are highly sensitive as to what Dr. Johnson might report; both parties urge us to come up with an innocuous PCC annual report; both would like to slither through the debate with no result except an extension of UNRWA financed by the US; both hold in reserve (or may intend to introduce) resolutions designed to put the other at disadvantage (Arabs--appointment of a custodian of refugee properties in Israel and PCC reconstitution, Israel--direct peace negotiations); both threaten public rejection if the debate is carried on in such way as to place additional pressure on them to go along with what Dr. Johnson proposes; and both hold out the lure of leisurely constructive talks on the refugee problem following this year's debate if only we will refrain from rocking the boat. Both sides, in short, alternately threaten and cajole in an effort to persuade us not to use the debate as a means of advancing this effort. Our problem is that if we do not so use it, our cumulative leverage will be dissipated and the parties, finding the heat off, will go back to the starting line.

Our Specific Objectives:

Our tactical objectives in and before the forthcoming debate are to:

(1) Shift gears from a "Johnson Plan" to a "PCC approach" without losing momentum on the valid principles for any solution of the refugee problem which Dr. Johnson has identified.

(2) Create generalized international support for the proposition that the broad lines of the "PCC approach" are realistic, equitable, consistent with previous UN directives, and in the interests of the refugees, the parties, and Near East stability; and that the PCC should carry on further consultations with the parties in an effort to move forward along these lines.

(3) If possible, avoid having the specifics of the PCC approach subjected to debate.

(4) Avoid building up so much pressure that one or other of the parties feels it must publicly come out in opposition.

(5) Prevent introduction of unproductive partisan resolutions, if possible, or at minimum prevent their adoption.

(6) Provide for a modest (presumably one year) extension of UNRWA; i.e., from June 30, 1963 to June 30, 1964.

(7) Incorporate objectives (2) and (6) in a resolution as simple and non-controversial as possible, and win broad support for such a resolution.

Planned Courses of Action:

A. Our first critical hurdle is to move the Israeli position into parallel with that of the Arabs; i.e., to persuade them to "clarify" their reply to Dr. Johnson and inform him that despite such-and-such objections and apprehensions, they do not entirely reject, under appropriate circumstances, the possibility of cooperation in a PCC operation along these general lines.

A fifth meeting between Messrs. Talbot and Harman is to take place November 13 or 14./6/ To bring about the desired shift, we plan to talk firmly in terms of: (1) our belief in the merits of Dr. Johnson's general approach; (2) our inability to prevent his reporting the parties' reactions as he understands these; (3) the dangers of exposure and isolation which Israel will incur, on its own responsibility, if it translates its initially expressed opposition into public rejection; (4) the contradiction in terms apparent in Israel's statement that it shares our desire for progress and its insistence on prior Arab agreement to conditions (a repatriation ceiling and a cessation of propaganda) of a nature which could not be accepted, which are unmatched by parallel prior Israeli concession to the Arab demand for a recognition in principle of the "right" of return, and which would therefore preclude any progress; and (5) the problems for our relationship with Israel which would inevitably arise if it disdains this very earnest effort to remove a festering sore that precludes Israel's acceptance by the Arabs, particularly when we had gone to such lengths recently to create an atmosphere in which Israel could take this step in confidence and safety.

/6/Recorded in a memorandum of conversation of November 14. (Ibid., 325.84/11-1462)

At the same time, we propose to facilitate this desired shift on Israel's part by assuring Ambassador Harman at this fifth meeting that (1) we would seek to dissuade Dr. Johnson from including in his final report any mention of Israel's peremptory first response and virtual refusal to discuss his proposals; (2) we would take the lead in bringing about a metamorphosis of the Johnson proposals so that their ingredients would be retained but they would drop the Johnson label and become a PCC approach (our willingness to do this is one of our strongest bargaining counters); (3) we will not press for a "do or die" resolution on implementation of the proposals, but rather a palatable directive to the PCC to seek through continued consultation with the parties initiation of a PCC operation consonant with the broad principles charted; (4) if Israel wishes, we would be willing to put in writing the background assurances we have so far given orally, in exchange for firm Israel assurances of cooperation in an operation consistent with the "building blocks" which our recent talks with Israel have identified; and (5) we would undertake to tell Nasser, and other selected Arabs of our choice, of what we see as the probable numerical result of this operation, in terms of repatriation-resettlement.

B. If the Israeli position can be moved, we would urge Dr. Johnson to make an appropriately brief report to the PCC, noting (1) the essential elements of his approach to a solution; (2) the parties' concerns as expressed to him; (3) his judgment as to how these concerns are met by the elements of his approach; (4) his gratification that despite the grave doubts recorded neither party had entirely precluded the possibility of acquiescing in an approach of the general nature suggested; and (5) his belief that it would be worthwhile for the PCC to consider favorably the merits of seeking, in further consultation with the parties, progress by a process along these general lines.

C. The third hurdle is the required annual PCC-to-Secretary-General report. The Turks and French have caught the above-all-don't-rock-the-boat line being urged by the Arabs and Israelis, and their backs will need strong diplomatic stiffening if we are to win their assent in the sort of report we would hope to see. This (1) would be brief, (2) would commend Dr. Johnson and refer to the elements he had identified in his report as being a very valuable contribution to progress on this problem pursuant to Paragraph 11 of Resolution 194, and (3) would state the intention of the PCC to carry on further consultations with the parties in an effort to move forward along these lines.

D. The nature of the simple resolution we would be enabled to introduce in the Special Political Committee, if these previous steps had gone smoothly, has been described. We believe such a resolution would command overwhelming support, as did ours of last year. The result would be to give renewed and more sharply focused impetus to the PCC effort, without having brought such great pressure to bear as to have impelled a rejection by either of the parties.





1. The refugee problem is becoming more acute, not less so. Progress on it is in the interests of Israel and the United States, and exploration of the possibilities, separated out from the general problem of Arab-Israel peace, is worthwhile.

2. Realistically, progress is dependent upon a solution containing concurrent elements of repatriation, resettlement with compensation in the Arab states, and resettlement with compensation elsewhere.

3. Since the "legislative" framework within which any solution now proposed should be placed is Resolution 194, the true wishes of the individual refugee, when confronted with a real choice, without external pressures, should be ascertained.

4. Israel is not prepared to meet the Arab request that it recognize in advance the alleged "right" in principle under Paragraph 11 of every refugee who so opts to be repatriated; the Arabs are not prepared to meet the Israel request that they recognize in advance that the only solution lies in resettlement of most of the refugees. Therefore, a negotiated settlement does not appear feasible.

5. While there should be some repatriation, the only practical solution lies in resettlement of most of the refugees.

6. The process by which refugee preferences are obtained should have effective safeguards and controls.

7. Recognition of the sovereign rights of the parties is essential.

8. There should be due concern for the security interests of each of the parties.

9. There should be due concern for the economic and financial burdens which progress will entail.

10. There should be a realistic definition of simultaneity as applied to the process of repatriation and resettlement.

11. Israel recognizes an obligation to pay compensation to resettled refugees.

12. In accord with their sovereign rights to determine the admissibility of individuals, governments should be assured that there is provision for their appropriate screening in any process for movement of the refugees.


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

Washington, November 12, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86H/11-1262. Confidential. Drafted by Seelye. A covering memorandum from Talbot to Rusk indicates that McGhee and Strong concurred in the memorandum. An earlier version of this memorandum was sent to the White House on November 4. Marginal notations on the source text indicate that the memorandum was sent to Komer on November 5 and that the original was returned to the Department of State on November 7. A November 7 memorandum from Komer to Bromley Smith, attached to the White House copy of the earlier document, noted "I've told Jim Grant we're returning these Yemen recognition papers in the light of the changed situation resulting from Saudi-UAR split. Grant agrees we now have to take a new look." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 11/1/62-11/15/62)

United States Recognition of Yemen

We believe the time is now propitious for the United States to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic which has been in firm and effective control of most of Yemen since its establishment on September 27. Further delay risks causing (1) a further escalation and extension to Saudi Arabia of the armed conflict in Yemen; (2) increased internal disaffection in Saudi Arabia and Jordan (principal supporters of the generally discredited Yemeni Royalists' cause); (3) a deepening of the Yemen Arab Republic's obligation to the United Arab Republic; and (4) the development of an anti-American--and perhaps pro-Soviet--attitude in the new Yemen regime. We believe the Royalist forces incapable of wresting control of Yemen. Accordingly, I request your approval of this course of action.

We have delayed recognition until now primarily in order not to damage our interests in Saudi Arabia. We believe these interests are now protected in the light of developments in Yemen and in the wake of Egyptian air attacks on Saudi territory by (1) categorical assurances by President Nasser that the United Arab Republic will not use Yemen as a springboard for invasion against Saudi Arabia; (2) a confidential undertaking by the United Arab Republic gradually to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia; (3) United Arab Republic and probably Saudi willingness to consider disengagement from the Yemeni conflict; and (4) the formation of a new Government in Saudi Arabia under Prince Faysal's relatively enlightened and wise premiership, to which we have pledged our strong support. Among the measures we are taking to demonstrate our support for Faysal are the despatch of a United States destroyer and certain United States aircraft to Saudi Arabia and publication of your letter to him. We also have United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic assurances that they will not seek to destroy the British position in Aden which is necessary to stability in the Persian Gulf.

The following states have already recognized the Yemen Arab Republic: West Germany, India, Bolivia, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, the United Arab Republic, Syria, Lebanon, the Sudan, Somalia, the Soviet Union, Communist China, Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany. At such time as United States recognition is extended, we expect several Free World countries to follow suit, including Italy, France, Australia, and Canada. The United Kingdom will probably delay its recognition a little longer but is not opposed to our impending recognition as long as it occurs after the House of Commons debate, scheduled for November 13, on the Aden Federation Plan.

Before extending recognition we shall (1) discuss with Prince Faysal and the United Arab Republic a formula for mutual disengagement from the Yemeni conflict; (2) prepare identical messages from you to President Nasser, Prince Faysal, King Hussein and President Sallal proposing termination of external support of the Yemeni Royalists, a phased withdrawal of United Arab Republic forces from Yemen, the withdrawal of Saudi forces from the vicinity of the Yemeni border and statements by the Yemen Arab Republic eschewing adventures outside Yemen; and (3) notify our Western allies and the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) powers of our forthcoming recognition. We hope also to obtain an advance undertaking from the United Arab Republic to state publicly upon our recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic that it will remove its troops when the situation stabilizes, when Saudi forces are removed from the frontier and when Saudi-Jordanian support for the Yemeni Royalists stops. We would also seek public United Arab Republic assurances not to attack Saudi territory and a statement by the Yemen Arab Republic that it has no designs on Saudi Arabia or the Aden Protectorates. If they are unwilling to make public statements we would be willing to settle for private assurances for transmission to Faysal.

If you approve, we plan to announce our recognition on or about November 15.

Dean Rusk/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.


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

Washington, November 13, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 785.00/11-1362. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong.

Rationale for Our Proposed Course of Action on Yemen

(Ambassador Badeau telephoned at 10 a.m. today, referring to the defection of 4 Jordanian pilots with planes and stating his fear that unless the formula we proposed November 10 for the Yemen is implemented promptly the UAR will change its mind.)

In creating our approach to the Yemeni problem (Tab A)/2/ we had in mind the following:

/2/Not printed.

1) While the royalists may be able to control part of Yemen, we doubt their ability to conquer the principal centers, whatever the support received from Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Continuation of a serious civil war would only lead to greater complications. Termination of outside support for the royalists would reduce the scale of the conflict.

2) The UAR is heavily committed, both materially and in prestige. Unable to afford a serious setback the UAR will be forced to take whatever measures it considers necessary to assure the survival of the Republican regime, including extension of hostilities to Saudi territory.

3) We believe the Republican regime and the UAR will prove willing to call on the Soviets for effective assistance if it proves needed. Several hundred Soviet advisors and technicians are already in Yemen.

4) Our actions should not appear to favor restoration of the discredited Imamate.

5) The fabric of Saudi and Jordanian stability is strained by their participation in the Yemeni conflict. We consider it essential that both concentrate on internal reforms and development.

6) By obtaining public commitments from both the UAR and the YAR, the former to phased disengagement and the latter to concentration on internal affairs, we shall have a basis for exerting leverage, particularly psychological and economic.

7) It is unrealistic to expect the UAR to start reducing its forces before the Saudis and Jordanians disengage. Total withdrawal of UAR forces cannot be expected until a measure of stability is achieved in Yemen.

8) Our principal concern is not Yemen itself at present (barring a serious Soviet threat). Rather we are concerned to maintain stability in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and to prevent serious pressures on the UK base at Aden.

9) By our measures of open support for Faysal and Saudi Arabia (President's letter, visits of military aircraft and naval vessels) we are promoting stability in Saudi Arabia and are underlining to the UAR the seriousness of our purpose, explained several times orally to UAR officials.

10) We consider the proposed circular letter to Faysal, Hussein, Nasser and Sallal as a needed appeal and symbol to which response can be made. In the absence of such a letter of appeal, favorable actions by the parties would be much more difficult./3/

/3/On November 14, Brubeck transmitted to Bundy the text of a draft message from Kennedy to Faysal, King Hussein, Nasser, and Sallal. Brubeck's covering memorandum reads in part: "The Presidential message is proposed in conjunction with moves which were reported to the President in a memorandum from the Secretary dated November 12 recommending United States recognition of Yemen." (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1462) The November 12 memorandum is Document 95. A November 14 memorandum from Komer that transmitted the memorandum to Kennedy advised: "State's proposals are well worth the try." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 10/63) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen. For text of the letter as sent, see Document 100.

11) We consider our recognition of the YAR, in conjunction with the President's letter, as the catalytic action which will lead to normalization of the Yemeni situation. Other major nations will follow suit plus a good many smaller states. Impact of our recognition on Saudi Arabia will have been reduced by our measures of open support.

12) We believe the UAR is under considerable strain and would like to disengage. Further, we believe that as a more normal situation is created in Yemen, there will be frictions and stresses between the Yemeni Republicans and the Egyptians which will reduce the role of the latter in Yemen.

13) Finally, our AID mission in the Taiz area is having difficulties, which could become serious if recognition is withheld much longer.

Delay in U.S. recognition of the YAR stemmed originally from our concern for Saudi Arabia and the uncertain internal situation. We wished to wait until Faysal returned to Riyadh and formed a government. Then when in early November we began preparing for recognition the UAR bombed and shelled Saudi Arabian territory near the Yemeni border (November 5-6). At that time the UK also asked us to delay recognition until after the Parliament debated the Aden Federation on November 13 and to give the UK time to consult the protectorate rulers. We agreed to wait until November 15 but indicated further delay might be difficult.

Something is needed to break the vicious cycle. We are in the best position to do so. While the UAR will have a "victory", pursuit of proper domestic policies in Saudi Arabia and Jordan should protect those regimes. We believe that there should be no thought of trying to inflict a defeat on the UAR or to weaken it. The consequences would be unhappy.


98. Message From President Kennedy to Prime Minister Macmillan/1/

Washington, November 15, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, President Kennedy's Correspondence with Prime Minister Macmillan--1962-1963, Volume II. Secret. A typed note at the top on the source text reads: "To be delivered at opening of Business November 16."On November 13, during a meeting with Rusk, Lord Hood asked that the United States delay plans to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic. Rusk responded that the United States was reluctant to delay recognition beyond mid-November. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Central Files, 786H.00/11-1362) That afternoon, Lord Home telephoned Rusk to convey British concern over Aden and the need to get something from Nasser in exchange for U.S. recognition. Rusk said that the United States would not recognize without a public UAR commitment to begin prompt disengagement. (Memorandum of telephone conversation; ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations) On November 14, Macmillan sent a message to Kennedy asking that the United States withhold recognition until the UAR presented a timetable and a final date for complete withdrawal. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, UK Official Correspondence with President Kennedy)

My impression from our talk this evening/2/ is that you see the advantages of our going ahead with our plan on Yemen but are concerned over (1) the lack of any provision for simultaneity in the proposed withdrawals by the several parties; and (2) the impact of our recognition on the current delicate situation in Aden.

/2/A record of Kennedy's side of the 6 p.m. conversation is in a memorandum for the record, November 15. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, Macmillan Telephone Conversations, 10-62-11-62) During the exchange Kennedy indicated that he realized that the U.S. proposal on Yemen was "full of hopes, but believe Egypt has enough force to make a revolution successful. We can postpone recognition, but will we be better off a week from now than we are now?"

Before discussing these, let me review the next plays as we see them. The key elements of our plan are:

1. Expeditious and phased withdrawal of the UAR forces from Yemen;

2. Termination of external support to the royalists; and

3. Withdrawal of Saudi-Jordanian forces from the vicinity of the Yemeni border.

In effecting withdrawal we envisage direct contact between the parties concerned, the good offices of a third party, or possibly recourse to the UN in some form.

I would propose to address identical private messages to Nasser, Faysal, Hussein and Sallal urging the above scheme and proposing that the following initial steps be taken simultaneously:

1. US recognition of the YAR.

2. A UAR statement signifying its willingness to undertake a reciprocal disengagement and expeditious, phased removal of troops as Saudi and Jordanian forces are removed from the border and their support of the royalists is stopped.

3. Public YAR reaffirmation of its intention to honor international obligations, seek normalization of relations with neighboring states, and concentrate on domestic affairs.

Once Nasser and Sallal issue their statements, we would recognize. Our purpose in doing so without waiting for Saudi and Jordanian acceptance of the proposals is, quite frankly, that we believe only the shock action of our recognition will bring Faysal and Hussein to abandon their venture. We fear that prior detailed agreement from all parties on the nature and terms of disengagement is impossible of attainment.

I sense, however, that your chief concern is over the immediate impact on Aden. I should hope that the Yemeni statement called for above would go far toward permitting you to portray it as a pledge of non-intervention in Aden. We could, however, go further and ask Sallal to disavow specifically any designs on neighboring territory, including Saudi Arabia and Aden.

I think we could also reasonably ask Nasser to press this point with his Yemenis, though we are not sure Sallal would agree. If he did, it would of course justify your recognition too, and greatly ease any pressure on Aden.

Would you have any objections to our going ahead on this basis? I, of course, can't guarantee that our plan will work, but even paper promises from Nasser and Sallal will give us more to build on than if we delay much longer and then end up having to recognize without even these./3/

/3/In Macmillan's November 16 response, he expressed the hope that Nasser's statement on phased withdrawal would be made as concrete as possible, Sallal's statement would disavow designs on Aden and contain an appeal to Yemenis in Aden to behave as law-abiding citizens, and the United States would delay its announcement of recognition to allow time for debate within Yemen over British merger proposals. (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, UK Official Correspondence with President Kennedy)


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

Washington, November 16, 1962, 10:22 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1662. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Strong, Davies, and Barrow; cleared by Cleveland, Rogers, and Komer; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Jidda, Amman, and Taiz and repeated to Dhahran, London, and USUN.

524. Deptel 506./2/ We mindful difficulties for Ambassadors Hart and Macomber by our proposals, especially in light peripheral royalist military successes recently. We also recognize that conciliatory UAR attitude may stem in part from pinch caused by casualties and drain on finances occasioned by Yemen operations. However, we estimate as Nasser has indicated, UAR prepared commit additional forces as necessary to stem royalist advances, and we fear UAR willing carry battle into heart of Saudi Arabia itself rather than accept defeat. Thus we think it important take immediate action freeze situation on basis which will cause least loss of face and create atmosphere for early withdrawal from costly and dangerous conflict for all parties concerned.

/2/Document 94.

Dept believes priority objective is to get UAR on public record re disengagement and YAR on public record re normalization relations neighboring states. It would also be highly desirable if the UAR could be persuaded to announce a limited withdrawal of forces as a token of its sincerity with future withdrawals contingent upon reciprocal Saudi and Jordanian disengagement. Modalities of disengagement likely be complicated but soluble if proper atmosphere created by foregoing actions. Following instructions based on this concept:

For Jidda

1. In transmitting soonest to Faysal personally letter from President (immediately following telegram)/3/ you should note President's regret at Saud's illness. Also convey gist Cairo Embtel 728/4/ to Faysal and state that in context considerable evidence our moral and material support to SAG which now on hand (including previous letter from President which he or we can publish if he deems useful) we believe he can see wisdom our going ahead on basis suggested. He may be assured that we will insist on implementation by UAR and YAR of their commitments. Strong pursuit of domestic reforms is best counter to republican revolution Yemen. Re modalities effecting disengagement, our order of preference would be (a) SAG reception of YAR emissaries; Sallal mentioned possibility to Stookey and we will urge in Taiz and Cairo that proposal for despatch mission be made publicly; (b) our good offices; or (c) observation or supervision through UN. Desire know Faysal's preference now but decision best made after UAR and YAR on public record. You might note that type military operation in which UAR involved easier to observe than SAG-Jordan activities.

/3/Document 100.

/4/See footnote 3, Document 94.

2. When delivering letter please tell Faysal that President wants him to know he has been very conscious of difficulties in which Yemen affair has placed HRH, and has decided proceed on this course only after most carefully considering Saudi and Jordanian interests. Judging all aspects of this regrettable business, President genuinely and firmly believes course he proposes will serve their interests better than any other course.

For Cairo

You should see Nasser earliest, present letter from President, and express regret certain difficulties have precluded meeting optimum schedule for implementation of proposals explored week ago through Ambassador Kamel. Formula presented in letter adheres closely to those proposals. Certain refinements introduced and timing of US recognition retarded slightly but we believe this perhaps even helpful to UAR.

Reference points raised Embtel 728: (a) believe accounts of intervention from Beihan exaggerated but in any event our formula would serve to quiet that area; (b) we cannot necessarily control movements of Badr nor can SAG, but with cessation external support Badr unlikely be able mount effective long-term campaign; (c) our plan envisages eventual relations between SAG and YAR. Believe preferable this problem be settled bilaterally by Sallal renewing offer send emissaries to Faysal which we would encourage Faysal accept. If this not feasible our good offices available or some UN offices might be feasible.

You should stress importance conciliatory nature its public statement and need for actions to match words. You should make clear to Nasser that our recognition dependent upon satisfactory statements by YAR as well as UAR and that in light recent inflammatory words from Sanaa we think it imperative Sallal be forthcoming. We request UAR press Sallal to issue conciliatory statement including offer to send emissaries negotiate basis neighborly relations with SAG. Department would be reassured if UAR would consult us re its statement. You should also frankly tell Nasser you think our formula is very helpful to UAR and we believe to underline good faith he should consider including in public statement that first withdrawal of military unit will occur in four or five days if others agree to proposals. It question of good faith on all sides that is principal problem here. Finally, you should express willingness consult Nasser's designee on modalities of disengagement using material from other portions this telegram./5/

4/In telegram 529 to Cairo, November 17, the Department of State sent additional instructions: "In your initial discussions with Nasser and Sallal or if they have already occurred, in your later negotiations, you should stress desirability of specific mention by YAR of Aden and Federation of South Arabia in order avoid possibility YAR may later seek interpret 'neighbors' as not applying them." (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1762)

FYI: We prefer not make public statement re economic assistance. However prepared continue present TA program and to consider reasonable PL-480 requests from YAR. End FYI.

For Taiz

You should deliver Presidential message to Sallal soonest and strongly urge that he incorporate into statement all elements proposed therein. You should remind Sallal Aden and Persian Gulf just as important to US as to UK. You may say we fully intend continue AID program. In addition seek his views on modalities of disengagement and remind him our recognition dependent on establishment normal working conditions for AID mission.

For Amman

You should deliver President's letter to Hussein and brief him and Prime Minister on US proposals. You should note Department considers Jordanian pullback of its aircraft and army technicians an essential element in disengagement process. You should use with Hussein language in paragraph two of instructions to Jidda.

For London

You may pass copy of President's letter in confidence to Lord Home along with substance this telegram and add that part of package involves termination of any intervention in Yemen by local rulers.


You should inform SYG or Bunche in confidence generally of our proposals. We hope transmit shortly for exploration our thoughts on possible UN role if this proves best for all concerned.

All parties should be reminded these discussions should be held in strictest confidence.



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

Washington, November 16, 1962, 10:24 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1662. Secret; Niact; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Seelye and Strong; cleared by Cleveland, Rogers (S/S), and Komer; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Cairo, Jidda, and Taiz and repeated to London, USUN, and Dhahran.

213. Deptel to Cairo 524./2/ Following message from President to be delivered addressed respectively to Hussein (Your Majesty), Nasser (Mr. President), Faysal (Your Royal Highness) and Sallal (Excellency). Gap in body of message in each case to be filled in with names (and titles) of other three addresses.

/2/Document 99.

"I am grieved at the differences that have arisen among states with which the United States desires to maintain the friendliest of relations and am gravely concerned that the conflict over Yemen will jeopardize the stability of the area. Accordingly, I urge the leaders of the states now involved to reflect on the greater dangers if present developments are permitted to proceed unchecked and propose for your urgent, confidential consideration and for early implementation the following plan of action to normalize the situation. I am addressing identical messages to (hiatus), (hiatus) and (hiatus).

The key elements of the plan are: 1) phased but expeditious withdrawal of external forces from Yemen; 2) termination of external support to the Royalists; and 3) phased but expeditious withdrawal of forces introduced after the revolt in Yemen into the vicinity of the Saudi-Yemeni borders. In effecting withdrawal I would envisage direct contact between the parties concerned, the good offices of a third party, or possibly observation or supervision of the disengagement process by the United Nations. My representatives will be prepared to discuss modalities further.

I propose the following initial steps be taken promptly:

1. Issuance by the United Arab Republic of a statement signifying its willingness to undertake a reciprocal disengagement and expeditious and phased removal of troops as: a) Saudi and Jordanian forces are removed from the frontier and b) Saudi and Jordanian support of Yemeni Royalists is stopped.

2. Reaffirmation publicly by the Yemen Arab Republic of its intention to honor international obligations, to seek normal and friendly relations with its neighbors and to concentrate on domestic affairs; and an appeal by the Yemen Arab Republic to Yemenis in neighboring areas to be law-abiding citizens.

3. Upon issuance of suitable statements as envisioned above and upon establishment of normal operating conditions for the United States AID Mission in Yemen, the United States will immediately extend recognition to the Yemen Arab Republic.

While the disengagement envisaged is being undertaken, we would of course hope that none of the parties would engage in activities contrary to the spirit of this understanding.

I invite your urgent and immediate cooperation in this important task before the conflict over Yemen enters a more dangerous phase.

May God grant us all the strength and wisdom to pursue these important endeavors to their successful conclusion.

Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"



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

Jidda, November 19, 1962, 10 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-2062. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Dhahran, Cairo, Amman, London for CINCNELM, and Paris for CINCEUR POLAD.

401. Policy. Whether Faysal had been in consultation with King Hussayn before I arrived Riyadh late November 18, I do not know. There is certain parallel in his reaction as compared that of Hussayn (Amman telegram 273 to Department)/2/ but also significant differences. In any case am sure Faysal's powerful negative reaction to President's letter entirely sincere. Yet I do not believe we have his last word. His face very grave as I entered room and he had little to say by way of introductory phrases.

/2/Dated November 17. (Ibid., 786H.00/11-1762.) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

I delivered President's message of regret over King Saud's health. Faysal expressed gratitude adding King's health had reached serious stage which according doctors warranted immediate attention. He had been having spells in past but his condition had recently deteriorated badly. (Saqqaf, protect source, has just told me there is doubt King will live more than few days.)

I handed Prince Faysal Arabic and English version of President's letter regarding Yemen. Faysal acknowledged he had received message from Saqqaf re letter but proceeded read Arabic text through twice. After pause in which he struggled with his feelings he said coldly "at first look this is very regrettable. He did not expect his Excellency the President and his government to put us in this position. We had depended greatly on US. This thing is actually what Nasir wants. It therefore means that Nasir's point of view has been adopted and is imposed on us." At this point I said that I had number of comments I was instructed to make and asked permission to proceed. I then delivered to Prince Faysal contents numbered paragraph 2 Section 1 of Department telegram 264./3/ I then took up modalities affecting disengagement in US order of preference (a), (b), and (c) in paragraph 1 Section 1 Department telegram 264. With respect to proposal that SAG receive YAR emissaries I reminded him of previous conversation in which I had stated (Dhahran telegram 122)/4/ that Sallal offered send delegation to Riyadh and that if Faysal agreed we could urge Sallal renew his offer. Faysal immediately interjected that we need not worry ourselves over this matter as he would under no circumstances receive Sallal's emissaries. SAG recognized al-Badr and was not going to recognize YAR. He did not state his preference with respect to proposal (b) or (c). I do not think he would object to either one. I then stated I wished enlarge on my instructions. US moral and material support promised by President to Faysal during latter's recent visit had been made abundantly and repeatedly clear to everyone and particularly to Nasir and his men.

/3/Telegram 264 to Jidda was sent for action to Cairo as telegram 524, Document 99.

/4/Dated November 10. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1062)

This accomplished not only by recent military gestures of solidarity with Saudi Arabia but also by strong statements delivered to Nasir personally. There had been no intimation in delivery that they were result of any request from SAG but were made as positive expression of basic US interest. Nasir could be in no doubt whatever US supported Faysal's regime in its program of reform and was determined to give it chance to succeed. Clear warning had been given US would not stand idly by and see this regime attacked or undermined by UAR. US considers stability of Saudi Arabia matter of vital interest. Nasir and his men had answered of course that they had no intention of interfering with Faysal regime and had agreed Faysal might inaugurate better days for Saudi Arabia. They knew however we not prepared to take their statements at face value for we had sent our F-100s and a destroyer to Saudi Arabia and RB 66s had just visited Dhahran. I was under instructions to tell Faysal that he could be sure US Government will insist on implementation by UAR and YAR of their commitments under President's proposal.

With respect to Yemen itself revolution was fact and whatever our respective assessments might be of military-political situation in that country, UAR was prepared to engage itself more deeply than ever to keep YAR alive and danger of escalation of conflict was therefore clear and immediate. Important consideration which we knew Faysal fully shared was to get UAR forces out of Yemen. Once out chances of direct Saudi-YAR conflict could be reduced and would be possible for us with our presence in Yemen to oversee UAR activities in that country and (more important) considerably developing activities of USSR. Only force which could neutralize USSR in Yemen was US. Only two sources of economic aid to Yemen were USSR and USA. Our presence could not remain without recognition and once our AID team was out most unlikely it could be reestablished in foreseeable future whatever might be regime governing Yemen. Faysal now somewhat calmer but still agitated referred back to President's letter (phased but expeditious withdrawal of external forces from Yemen). SAG had already proposed withdrawal in its declaration (Embassy telegram 381)/5/. and therefore automatically accepted idea except for word "phase". Why should there be any phases and what were they for? I explained that in situations of this kind it obvious each antagonist would suspect other of bad faith and would demand verify performance on progressive basis. However he should note we used word "expeditious". Faysal replied this would play into Nasir's hands as he could easily claim that his withdrawals were as "expeditious" as he could make them while moving very slowly or not at all. I responded USG would not be governed by Nasir's timetable as to what was "expeditious". We mean to monitor his moves closely and make certain he carries out his public commitment. Faysal then asked what was meant by termination of external support to royalists. I replied that I assumed it meant supplies and training. He then asked why same condition not made to apply to other side. He meant military supplies from UAR to YAR as well as training of YAR forces by UAR. Did USG intend to make it possible for YAR to liquidate royalist forces?

/5/Not found.

I said USG wished to stop fighting within Yemen as soon as possible and permit that country much needed peace in order to push forward with development. Who rules YAR was far less important than need for Yemeni population to have tranquility and development. Stoppage of fighting was therefore of major importance. Did he have any suggestions as to how it could be done. Faysal responded angry emphasis "no power on earth can stop this fighting; one side or other must prevail. He who thinks otherwise does not know Yemenis. How could USG propose so one-sided a program? In effect liquidate Royalists?" I replied quite frankly USG had to make surgical decision, which was to recognize YAR.

Faysal stated with greatest emphasis his Government would never agree to U.S. recognition of revolutionaries except after clear and complete withdrawal of all external forces from Yemen. SAG of course would continue to recognize and support Al-Badr as Imam and would in no circumstances be swayed from this stand or be prevailed upon to withdraw such recognition, "not that we can or do presume to dictate to US its policy. I have said this repeatedly to President and to US officials, but I am giving you our stand."

Faysal emphasized again every foreign element should get out of Yemen--USSR, UAR, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and USA. (He tossed in his own country in heat of discussion.) I asked whether he meant by this that US AID Mission should be withdrawn. He replied emphatically no. He meant military. At this point we both agreed we at least had in common withdrawal all foreign forces. He concurred but underlined we differed in methods of achieving withdrawal. He would like to have it said to Yemenis that latter have time limit in which to determine their choice of regime by any methods they desire. Majority choice would be accepted by all states and recognized. In reply to my question whether he meant plebiscite, he said plebiscite could be used or any other method such as fighting to conclusion. He bitterly objected to US recognition in advance of total withdrawal UAR troops and later, when quieted down, said: "I plead with you not to trust Nasir and not to accord your recognition before they have withdrawn all their forces." I replied problem was to get withdrawal started since this was what we all wanted. If he was so confident that Royalists would win if UAR troops gone (at one point he had said inconsistently that fight in Yemen was not between Yemenis but between Yemenis and UAR forces; a statement which I disputed) then would not Nasir's withdrawal be real gamble which it was worth our while to make him take? Faysal replied recognition would be devastating blow to morale of Royalist forces since it would cause a chain reaction of recognitions. I pointed out US presence in Yemen should not affect outcome of struggle of Yemenis against Yemenis in self-determination if it was characteristic of them, as he had said, to fight to death for regime they wanted and that no one could stop that fight.

Returning to text of President's proposal I asked him for comments on Number 3 (withdrawal of forces introduced after Yemen revolt into vicinity Saudi-Yemeni borders). Faysal replied how could USG expect one side to move forces to desired positions within its own territory when it let external armies continue in Yemen? I replied UAR forces would be leaving and that our aim was to do what is often done in such cases: Seek reciprocal withdrawals of concentrations on both sides to what might be considered normal positions. Faysal stated once Egyptians had left he did not care if Yemenis kept troops on Saudi frontier. Furthermore "we are people of honor, once we give you our word it is our promise and is unalterable. If after Egyptians withdraw we should introduce any armed men into Yemen then you can come back at us hard". He added if UAR attacks and harassments continue against Saudi Arabia, "we would not be able to tolerate this endlessly." (Faysal obviously feels withdrawals so soon after recent attacks a one-sided imposition. However I felt there was room for more talk here.)

Again he said I beg you to be wary of Nasir and Yemen Republic. Do not believe what they say.

I said revolution in Yemen being a fact, let us turn to Saudi Arabia. I had been hearing cliché in Royal Family entourage (which I had not heard expressed by ordinary people in Jidda or in East province) that if Yemen Republic Government won Saudi regime was finished, that struggle in Yemen between SAG and Nasir was matter of life and death to SAG. This I hoped His Royal Highness did not share. I believed in his heart he did not share it for it would be in [a?] form defeatism and misconception of Saudi Arabia's basically strong Arabia, whereon future depended was internal reform, not what happened in Yemen or even in Cairo. Imamate had no resemblance to SAG and family of Hamid Al-Din totally unlike house of Saud, thank God. Faysal was symbol of progress and enlightenment--known as such in Saudi Arabia and Arab world. Not even voice of Arabs had been able tarnish his image materially. Somewhat calmer, Faysal thanked me very graciously for my remarks and said voice of Arabs was unimportant. I said I was glad to hear him say this because this was to have been my next point: Let us forget about voice of Arabs and forge ahead on progress for Saudi Arabia. People of Saudi Arabia in my firm belief were not concerned over who rules Yemen but they were concerned over what is done here. Faysal gave emphatic agreement.

With respect to Jordan I said Ambassador Macomber now discussing with King Husayn Yemen problem in similar terms to those I using with Faysal today. USG deeply worried over internal situation in Jordan should King Husayn continue to involve his country more deeply in restoration Imamate. This was an unpopular policy and danger was far greater in Jordan than in Saudi Arabia as illustrated by defections more serious than those from Saudi Arabia.

Referring to Amman telegram 273 I cited King's remarks regarding planes to Macomber and added that leader of F-100 contingent which had just visited Saudi Arabia, Col. Rauscher as well as Col. Buchanan, Chief Air Force [garble] USMTM, confirmed F-86s faster than Hawker Hunters. It now seemed that stage set for return of Hawker Hunters to Jordan as clearly desired by King Husayn. Faysal however stuck to his earlier position that King Husayn would have to make first move to have them returned. He would release them if King requested. I added our worries regarding use of Hawker Hunters aggravated by remarks Wasfi Al-Tall to Ambassador Macomber that flights beyond borders might be undertaken once forward base established (F-86s due Taif tomorrow or next day. Believe there is now no likelihood overflight of Yemen in absence another attack on Saudi soil).

Conversation returned to President's proposal and Faysal continued absorbed with Nasir's trickery. I responded again we intended to see to it he carried out commitment and we had, we thought, some leverage for persuasion. Why don't you, he said, promise them recognition will take place after UAR as withdrawn troops? I [garble] would convey this to USG but doubted it would be useful. Faysal stated premature recognition would please Nasir more than anything else because he could then assume a victorious war even after withdrawal, for he would have established through US chain of recognitions of YAR already bound to him by pacts and obedient personnel. I said posings and posturings less important than getting tranquility and peace in this area so that common man of Arabian Peninsula and entire Near East could focus on what needed most: development and reform.

Faysal's last substantive remark was "do not estrange yourself completely from Al-Badr. Mark my word, he may come in handy some day".

We agreed I would transmit his comments to Washington before he replied to President's letter.

Comments: 1. If Faysal replied to letter in writing at this stage it would not advance our purposes. Palace pressures on him enormous and unhealthy. Response would close door to progress.

2. It obvious extra conditions attached by UAR Government (Cairo telegram 728 to Department)/6/ could not be acceptable to Faysal and I did not convey them to him for two reasons: (1) They were not embodied in President's letter, (2) They are so one-sided I knew they would be thoroughly offensive and counter-productive. Even if he wished Faysal has no means of removing Al-Badr from Yemen. Faysal could hardly be asked to drop Al-Badr so quickly or pledge to do so at this stage. Stopping Sharif of Bayhan's activities not in Faysal's bailiwick. Furthermore, I felt it most unwise to underscore in this matter that proposal for disengagement had not only been cleared in Cairo, but to intimate that USG was prepared to support these added UAR conditions beyond terms President's letter.

/6/See footnote 3, Document 94.

3. Faysal demands that termination external military support to Royalists be balanced by termination of external military support to YAR. Problem here is that even if UAR agreed USSR could carry on. Faysal might overlook this if UAR thoroughly disengaged from training and supply program, but this creates situation inviting further YAR direct investment in Soviet military hardware and advice. I suspect UAR would be unwilling to drop its training of UAR soldiery and leave this to Russians. For us to undertake it at this stage would be most unfriendly act vis-à-vis Faysal.

4. Faysal does not accept withdrawal Saudi forces from his frontier area. However, if reciprocal renunciation supply of military equipment and ammunition to both sides were achieved reason for Saudi forward depots would disappear. Faysal might keep soldiers for while in Jizan Town, in view recent attacks but I believe he would shift most of them back to normal bases (Tabuk and others) in time as conditions become quieter.

This aspect of problem poses need for on-the-spot monitoring by impartial observers.

5. Faysal has already proposed complete withdrawal of outside military forces from Yemen. He has already agreed to international monitoring on reciprocal basis.

6. Faysal will not recognize YAR, will not now give up Al-Badr and deeply fears orientation YAR under UAR and USSR influence. At one point he said he would have supported any force against YAR even if Badr were not there, "I would support any organized opposition to YAR which is spearhead of Communism in Peninsula. You will see, he said, whether history proves right. Your presence which you speak of necessity of maintaining will be eliminated once YAR has lined up itself with USSR". He obviously had Cuba in mind which frequently referred by palace circles for our benefit.


1. We obtain something more than token preliminary actual withdrawal of UAR forces (say full battalion with good publicity) before we announce recognition YAR.

2. We inform UAR that the extra conditions reported Cairo telegram 728 are out of question and they will have to settle for less. Removal Al-Badr could not in any case be accomplished by Faysal. SAG will not recognize YAR in foreseeable future. Unrealistic to expect Faysal thus turn his back on Arab traditions of loyalty to friend in need.

3. We balance out, as far as possible, proposal for withdrawal SAG support to Royalists by asking UAR, following our recognition, to reciprocally and progressively cut down its military supply to YAR and discourage YAR from further military build-up with help USSR. YAR to maintain what is necessary repel Royalist attacks on vital targets and wait out time when Royalists, their supplies drying up, melt back into landscape leaving leaders without power to attack.

4. We work on UK to stop activities from Bayhan.

5. Re Department telegram 269,/7/ suggest possible Arab intermediary might be President Chehab of Lebanon.

/7/Dated November 18. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-1862)



102. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/

Washington, November 21, 1962, 7:53 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-2162. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford; cleared by Sisco, Davies, and Breisky; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to USUN.

369. Secretary discussed Johnson Plan and refugee problem with Israel FonMin Meir for hour-and-half November 21. Following based on uncleared memcon./2/

/2/The memorandum of conversation by Crawford and a briefing memorandum from Talbot and Cleveland to Rusk of November 21 is ibid.

Mrs. Meir's arguments differed hardly at all from those she has used previously and which were repeatedly stressed by Ambassador Harman during recent series five talks between Talbot and Ambassador Harman: (1) Johnson Plan or anything derived from it has been rejected by Israel and cannot be basis for further useful conversation. (2) Israel will not cooperate in any process unless there has been prior agreement with Arabs that 90% of refugees will be resettled. (3) Israel will not cooperate in any operation involving expression of refugee preference. (4) If Israel is pressed on any of these points against its will, it will return to its position of pre-1951; i.e, that there can be no discussion of refugee problem except in context an over-all peace settlement. (5) Israel must pursue direct negotiations resolution "as its only secret weapon" in GA, and could only desist from having this brought to a vote if Johnson Plan is totally out of picture and there is specific Israel-US agreement on a common opposition to possible Arab resolutions and other tactical concerns and there is no citation of Paragraph 11. (6) The remaining time very short and we must get down to such tactical considerations on urgent basis. (7) Mrs. Meir said she would also like see President Kennedy to put to him Israel point of view on refugee problem.

Secretary commented Israel's position seems to add up to no progress and this is something USG cannot accept. Any return to Israel's position of decade ago that refugees could only be discussed in general context of peace would necessarily be very serious and would cause re-examination of broader aspects our relationship. Israel's view of precise nature its assurance re direct negotiations resolution contains at least one element that is new to Department (insistence Johnson Plan be dropped). Mrs. Meir's request for meeting with President will be conveyed. Meanwhile USG will give close study to Israel's stated position.



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

Washington, November 21, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer. Secret.

We are now ready to go ahead with our Yemen disengagement plan. The YAR again seems to be winning, which is additional reason for moving.

The UAR has accepted our proposal (Tab A),/2/ with caveat that their announcement and our recognition be simultaneous (as we originally proposed). We may accept this if they're sticky, since UAR will clear its announcement with us fully beforehand.

/2/Tab A is telegram 761 from Cairo, November 20. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-2062.)

Sanaa is being difficult, but the UAR engages to bring it around. Sanaa's declaration of intent will be cleared beforehand too; if unsatisfactory, no dice.

Hussein has sent you a formal reply (Tab B)./3/ He and Faysal (Tab C)/4/ are bitter, and want simultaneous withdrawal of all external forces. They will be most unhappy if we go ahead with recognition. But it is precisely this which we count on to get them to abandon their futile war in Yemen, lest they end up being brought down themselves. Note agreement of key Saudi with this view (Tab D);/5/ top ARAMCO people also agree our course is the only sensible one.

/3/Tab B is telegram 278 from Amman. (Ibid.)

/4/Tab C is Document 101.

/5/Tab D is telegram 410 from Jidda, November 20, which contained an account of a conversation between Hart and Saqqaf. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-2062)

Therefore, we plan to go ahead, if the UAR and YAR announcements prove satisfactory. Negotiating these will take at least till Saturday, so we'll have given Macmillan the additional time he wanted. Thereafter, of course, we still face the painful task of insuring actual disengagement, but at least we'll have started the trend toward settlement rather than escalation.

R. W. Komer/6/

/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


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

Washington, November 28, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, 11/16/62-11/30/62. Secret.

After a bit of arm-twisting, we've gotten a very responsive reply from Cairo to our Yemen disengagement/recognition package.

The UAR came up initially with a highly-slanted propaganda document. Buried in the middle was a grudging semi-compliance with the proposals in your letter of 16 November. We went back at them strong on the assumption this was an oriental bargaining tactic, and they bought almost completely the counter draft we prepared (Cairo 783 attached)./2/ With one change to remove explicit reference to Saudi and Jordanian intervention, we find it acceptable. Our hunch is that Nasser is bleeding a bit from his extensive commitment in Yemen and is rather grateful for our offer to help close it out.

/2/Telegram 783 from Cairo, November 28, transmitted the text of a UAR proposed statement on Yemen. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-2862) In telegram 566 to Cairo, November 29, the Department of State instructed Badeau to seek additional changes in the statement from the UAR Government. (Ibid.)

We now have to get a satisfactory YAR declaration. They will probably balk at the reference to Aden and the new Federation which we seek at UK request. Our fallback position is to propose instead that Yemen announce willingness to adhere to the 1934 treaty with UK which binds them to respect Aden's sovereignty. Our recognition statement will then interpret this to mean precisely that. We are keeping the British fully informed.

Though the Saudis and Jordanians are still most unhappy, their lack of further efforts to change our minds suggests they realize the die is cast. Do not be surprised, however, if both recognize USSR as a means of being nasty to us (this foolish gesture won't hurt us much).

If final UAR/YAR texts are satisfactory, we are then committed to recognize once they are issued (probably this weekend). We propose to go ahead along the above lines unless you object.

R. W. Komer/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


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

Washington, November 28, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-2862. Secret. Drafted by Strong, Crawford, Jackson, and Palmer. Talbot sent this memorandum to Rusk under cover of a note that reads: "As our meeting with you has been postponed to 3:30 p.m., I hope you will have an opportunity before that to consider whether a meeting with the President to discuss the U.S. posture in the Arab refugee issue should be requested for later this afternoon. As the attached memo indicates, we believe we can progress no further with tactical plans until a basic strategic decision has been made. In addition, Mr. Feldman is anxious that the White House be involved in this matter. Unfortunately time is short. We under- Continued stand that the President's schedule might permit a meeting about 5 o'clock today." A handwritten notation on this note adds: "Secretary read, discussed with Clevelend, Talbot, et al. 11/28, & used as basis for talk w/JFK 11/28, but memo itself not sent to WH." Rusk, Talbot, and Feldman met with Kennedy on November 28 between 5:05 and 5:30 p.m. Rusk stayed an additional 15 minutes alone with Kennedy. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book)

Future of Our Initiative on the Arab Refugee Problem

We have reached a crossroads in this initiative. There are before us both short and long range considerations, the former related to handling of the Special Political Committee debate now scheduled to begin November 28, and the latter dependent on a basic Presidential decision (sought in proposed Memorandum for the President attached at Tab A) as to the degree of US interest in progress on this problem and willingness to commit greater US influence than has been the case to date. In addition, Mrs. Meir is expected to see the President soon.

Regarding the problem posed by the imminent debate, you had earlier approved a course looking toward a non-specific, non-abrasive, US-sponsored resolution tied back only obliquely to the general substance of Johnson's approach. In effect, this would have patted the PCC on the back and said: you have gained some useful experience, keep up the good work. After debate, with impetus clearly preserved by the Assembly's action and with a broadened international appreciation of some basic do's and don'ts on this problem, we would have looked forward to renewed substantive discussion with the parties within the conceptual framework of Johnson's approach, with Johnson in or out of the picture as the situation warranted but almost certainly with a more active role by the US.

In the acting out of this scenario there were two important developments so far this week. On November 26 Dr. Johnson handed us a 28-page draft report (Tab B)./2/ This does not present his "Plan", but reviews the history of his endeavors, presents an analysis of broad elements which would have to be part of any solution under Paragraph 11, and gives the parties' reactions, including Israel's peremptory rejection. We understand he has sent you a copy. He is understood to be willing to modify his report, or defer its presentation, only if there is sufficient modification of Israel's adamantly negative response as to permit reasonable expectation that there could be useful discussions carried on after the debate.

/2/Not found.

The second important development was the holding on November 26 of an informal PCC meeting. At this, the Turks took a far harder line than we had expected, insisting that there must be no Johnson report and no substantive reference to his work by PCC members at any stage in debate. The Turks went so far as to say they would come out in opposition to Johnson's work if we alluded to it favorably. (However, Ambassador Menemencioglu today said Turkey would support whatever course we elect to follow.) The French position was "in-between" and recent reports indicate considerable flexibility.

Thus, neither the parties nor our PCC colleagues want to deal with Johnson's work or the substantive aspects of this problem. We are asked to limit our objectives in the General Assembly to an extension of UNRWA and go on subscribing 70% of its budget in the absence of political progress on this problem of ever growing dimensions--with all the troubles this stores up for us with Congress. So far, the French and Turks have been hearing largely the do-nothing demands of the parties, particularly the Israelis. Their positions, particularly the Turk, are probably susceptible to change. We suspect there is also give in the Israeli position which has not yet been exposed. It is difficult to believe that they would wish to sustain in open debate the obdurate position Mrs. Meir took with you November 21. But moving either our PCC colleagues or the Israelis, or for that matter keeping the Arabs in line, requires an immediate Presidential decision as to whether this Government can now and in the longer run use a greater measure of its influence to induce cooperation, or whether we should move rapidly to achieve our fallback objective (set the stage for withdrawal of our support from Paragraph 11, for a new look, and for gradual United States disengagement or modification of the nature of its involvement). In this regard, a Memorandum for the President is attached for your consideration (Tab A). This also suggests that, if it is decided we should sustain a firm line, he signal this to Mrs. Meir at his impending meeting with her. We would like to know his decision as soon as possible as it will also determine what we will do vis-à-vis Johnson's report and our PCC colleagues over the next few days, and our course of action in debate.

If your decision and that of the President is that we are unwilling to engage sustained US influence in the effort to advance a solution built on Dr. Johnson's valuable experience, and if we are directed to achieve our fallback position, we would urge Dr. Johnson in the national interest to submit a full report. If such a report were rejected by the Arabs, or by both the Arabs and Israel, we should have achieved our fallback objective.

If the decision is to place greater United States weight behind a continuation of the refugee initiative, there are two alternative courses of action we might take:

First Alternative

This is premised on the belief that it is undesirable for Johnson to submit a report embodying his original "Plan" and written "Explanation," but that it is important that his distillation of the principal considerations, concepts and elements involved in any settlement of the refugee issue under Paragraph 11 should be put in writing in order (a) to allow the world community better to understand the problem and more intelligently to deal with it, (b) to offer the refugees reasonably full and accurate information concerning Johnson's work in the hope of increasing the ferment now at work among them, and (c) to provide the US Government with a document for use in informing accurately those American citizens who are subject to misconceptions. There is also the longer range purpose of preserving them for possible future use. This alternative postulates that to keep these elements under the table would be to lose a singular opportunity to put misconceptions to rest and build support for the initiative; one of the recurrent problems in winning support and countering distortion has been the lack of a public awareness of the dimensions of this problem or of the general nature of Johnson's proposals.

This would involve our urging Johnson to avoid unnecessarily, in his report, antagonizing either the Arabs or Israel. For example, he could change the last few paragraphs to show that neither party was willing to acquiesce in initiation of the process he had originally proposed. We would make necessary efforts with the French and Turks to get them to go along with us in agreeing to Johnson's submission of a report. We would tell Israel we would expect it to do nothing to embarrass us or Johnson; we would advise the Arabs not to isolate themselves, not to lose any chance of a reasonable amount of repatriation, and not to force us to disengage from the refugee problem; we would issue a brief press release praising the Johnson report and requesting all UN members to examine and consider it carefully. In debate, our initial speech would urge moderation upon the part of both parties and would propose that the PCC effort continue. We would reserve our position on the extension of UNRWA until our two-pronged resolution is introduced calling for: (1) continuation of the PCC effort, and (2) extension of UNRWA for one year.

Under this alternative, if the Arabs kick over the traces we shall still have achieved our fallback objective. If they do not, and if Israel stands still, we shall be enabled to pursue the initiative, allowing time for world and refugee opinion to marshal.

To persuade Israel to cooperate, we would propose that the President speak firmly to Mrs. Meir along the lines suggested in the proposed memorandum to him.

Second Alternative/3/

/3/Another copy of this memorandum has attached a copy of a note from Cleveland to Rusk that reads: "The attached memorandum which I have initialed describes two courses of action. I want to put on record, however, my strong preference for the second alternative which USUN also recommends. This would then permit us to go ahead along lines the Turks have suggested--non-substantive Johnson and PCC reports and a procedural type GA resolution continuing the PCC effort and extending UNRWA for one year." (Department of State, IO/UNP Files: Lot 72 D 294, PCC--Johnson Mission)

This, too, would involve the President's giving a strong signal of our firm intention to Mrs. Meir. The main difference from the first alternative is that Dr. Johnson would be asked not to submit a substantive report at this time. In exchange for going along with their collective wishes in this respect, our PCC colleagues, the Arabs and Israel would be asked to agree that (a) they will not attack in the General Assembly debate the Johnson initiative, (b) discussions under the aegis of the PCC (carried out either by Johnson or the USG) within the general conceptual framework of the Johnson proposals would be carried on following debate, (c) partisan proposals, including Israel's direct negotiations resolution, would not be introduced, and (d) the PCC would publish a substantive report, including a report from Dr. Johnson, by mid-February if no progress had been made. We understand Dr. Johnson is informing the Turks and French that assurances in accordance with (b), (c) and (d) are prerequisites if he is to consider submission of a non-substantive report or no report at this time. In addition, Dr. Johnson has made clear that under this alternative he would expect, if any misrepresentations of his proposals were made in the General Assembly debate, a member of the PCC would promptly take exception.

This approach would minimize the risk of a cross-fire debate centering on the Johnson proposals and perhaps leading one party or both to a foreclosure of continued meaningful negotiation along the lines of the Johnson proposals.

This general line of approach is set forth in the attached cable from New York (Tab C)/4/--sent prior to Ambassador Menemencioglu's remarks here.

/4/Tab C is telegram 1974 from USUN, November 27. (Ibid., Central Files, 325.84/11-2762)


1. That you sign the attached Memorandum for the President and urge that he inform the Department at the earliest possible moment of his views.

2. That, if the President decides to proceed with the more active US role, you direct us to pursue either

Alternative One

Alternative Two


Tab A/5/

/5/Secret; Limit Distribution. The memorandum has two enclosures: "Score Card," a memorandum entitled "Review of our Talks with Israel on Refugees," not printed, and Rusk's November 12 memorandum, Document 95.


Arab Refugees

1. The Situation

Our efforts to advance the Arab refugee problem toward solution have now reached a crossroads: (a) the Arab governments, having objections to the Johnson proposals and fearing their acceptance would constitute tacit recognition of Israel, but not wishing to bear the onus of outright rejection, have kept relatively quiet and are maintaining freedom of maneuver; (b) the Arab refugees are reported by qualified observers to be showing interest in the prospect of receiving compensation and to be largely in favor of resettlement rather than opting to live under a Jewish government; and (c) in private Israel has flatly rejected the Johnson approach or anything deriving therefrom, has scorned the utility of the Harman-Talbot talks that sought to find common "building blocks" for a refugee settlement, but has avoided clear public rejection of the Johnson Plan.

In our discussions with the parties we have not directly supported Johnson's proposals but have limited ourselves to describing their merits as we see them and commending them to the careful attention of the Parties.

2. Objectives

a) Primary. Resolution of the Arab refugee problem over a period of years on the basis of a reasonable amount of repatriation and a large amount of resettlement with compensation.

b) Fall-back. Freedom to cease active support of Paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 as a result of rejection of the Johnson proposals by both the Arabs and Israel or by the Arabs only and to move at a time of our choosing toward disengagement from the Arab refugee issue.

3. Possible Course of Action

Two acceptable courses of action are available: (a) we can give up, or (b) we can decide it to be in our interest to seek seriously to gain the acquiescence of the Parties to a process roughly along the lines charted by Johnson and our bilateral negotiations with Israel. The latter course would require engaging our influence with both the Arabs and Israel, but we would be obliged to "lean on" Israel particularly hard because the process envisioned by Johnson cannot begin unless Israel changes its position from rejection to acquiescence. Likewise, our fall-back objective becomes more difficult of achievement if Israel does not acquiesce.

Whatever our decision, the principles of the Johnson approach should be made public at some time so that they become a part of the Parties' thinking in the future just as Eric Johnston's unsuccessful Jordan Valley plan has been a determining element in projects for the development of the Jordan waters.

4. Pro's and Con's of Giving Up

By giving up we would avoid fully engaging United States prestige in a project which at best has only small chance of succeeding, and we would avoid creating stresses in our relations with Israel and to a lesser extent with the Arabs. If in the process of giving up we were successful in achieving our fall-back objective we would be in a position to disengage when and if circumstances permit.

But if we give up now, rising domestic pressures for disengagement may rule out another major effort to find an equitable solution involving repatriation of a reasonable number of refugees to Israel. In any event a new major effort based on equity probably could not be cranked up for five or six years (the last major effort was in 1955-56). In all fairness, the Arabs should not be forced to resettle all the refugees unless they have refused a reasonable proposition. If we stop our effort now, the Arabs will know that Israel is blocking us. As a result (a) our image of even-handedness as between Israel and the Arabs will be tarnished, and (b) our effectiveness in dealing with the Arabs on other Arab-Israel issues such as the Jordan waters will be impaired. Further, if we give up now, we shall have greater difficulty in achieving our fall-back objective without transparently forcing Arab rejection. Also, by giving up we would clear the way for Israel to press its troublesome direct negotiations resolution and for the Arabs to urge reconstitution of the PCC and establishment of a custodian for Arab properties in Israel. Finally, if Israel defeats us on this issue, Israel will be encouraged to believe it can defeat us on other important issues such as improvement in the effectiveness of UNTSO.

5. Pro's and Con's of Leaning on Israel to Acquiesce

Your Administration is pledged actively to seek progress in ending the Arab-Israel conflict. The present PCC initiative, which is a step in this direction, was undertaken at the instance of the United States Government and was launched by despatch of your letters of May 11, 1961, to six Arab leaders and your talk with Ben-Gurion on May 30, 1961. Given the central role of the refugee problem in the Arab-Israel conflict, there is merit in mounting a full-scale effort to resolve it. The problem becomes more pressing each year with the growth in the number of refugees and their discontent, and the rising impatience of contributor nations to get out from under the financial burdens of supporting the refugees. Ben-Gurion agreed with you that a solution on the twin bases of resettlement with compensation and repatriation was "worth a try". Yet Israel so far has refused to acquiesce in proposals which would enable a try to be made despite our far-reaching efforts to meet Israel's vital concerns. (In this connection, I recommend you read Enclosure 1.) There is general consensus, including domestic Jewish leaders, that Israel can accept 100,000 Arab refugees without endangering its security. If Israel acquiesces, any failure to achieve progress will clearly be attributable to the Arabs and will open the door to United States and United Nations disengagement.

Generation of influence strong enough to move Israel from a position of rejection to one of acquiescence will create stresses in our relations with Israel, with a reflection of these stresses in the attitude of the domestic supporters of Israel toward the Administration. Creation of the stresses may bring no immediate benefits in terms of progress on the refugee issue (but would facilitate achievement at least of our fall-back position).

If we do decide to "lean on" Israel, we would propose also to exert on the Arabs, to encourage their acquiescence, those limited pressures available to us, such as hinting at a change in our attitude toward the direct negotiations resolution, reduction of financial support for UNRWA, and movement toward disengagement from the refugee issue.

6. Consequences of Failure

a) Failure of a strong line with Israel. If you take the decision to "lean on" Israel but Israel does not cooperate despite the pressures and the present favorable conjunction of circumstances, our ability to induce Israel's cooperation in other courses of action we consider useful would be correspondingly reduced.

b) Failure of a strong line with the Arabs. We believe that failure to obtain Arab acquiescence need not result in any marked change in the nature of our relations with the Arab states.

c) Failure of a strong line to achieve progress. We believe that engagement of United States prestige in an effort that eventually fails to solve the Arab refugee problem will not be damaging to the United States. To the contrary, the international community is likely to applaud our attempt and will be more likely to go along with the withdrawal of our support from Paragraph 11.

7. Conclusion

Your decision is required whether it is in the over-all United States interest to pursue seriously the PCC initiative on the Arab refugee problem understanding that (a) there is only a limited possibility of achieving our primary objective; (b) it will be necessary to "lean on" both parties--Israel probably harder than the Arabs--to gain acquiescence; but (c) if no progress is made, we would at least be able to achieve our fall-back objective under which it would be possible in due course to disengage from or modify our existing commitments on the refugee issue.

If you decide that the United States should throw added weight behind the PCC initiative, we recommend that you (a) inform Mrs. Meir of this fact and request that Israel take no public action either in the coming General Assembly debate or elsewhere which would embarrass the United States or Johnson, (b) make clear to her that following the General Assembly debate the United States will expect there to be meaningful consultations under the aegis of the PCC on the refugee issue, using the conceptual framework which Johnson's work has established, and (c) advise her that you are displeased at Israel's lack of reciprocity on a matter of major importance despite the numerous benefits received from the United States.

If you decide, however, that we should give up the PCC initiative, we recommend that you (a) inform Mrs. Meir only that we look to Israel to do nothing in the General Assembly debate that would embarrass either the United States or Johnson, (b) state our expectation that Israel will honor its commitment not to introduce the direct negotiations resolution, and (c) express to her your dissatisfaction with Israel's attitude in dealing with us on this matter.

Whatever decision you take, we recommend you receive Dr. Johnson prior to initiation of the General Assembly debate on the refugee item.

Dean Rusk/6/

/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


106. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, November 29, 1962, 8:47 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-2962. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Sisco; cleared by Talbot, Cleveland, and Little; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Tel Aviv.

1414. After consideration this matter by President,/2/ following is background for UNRWA item. Dept sending officers today to brief Stevenson, Rowan and staff more fully. You should defer discussions with PCC members and others pending negotiations with Israelis here on following basis:

/2/See the source note, Document 105.

1. We would urge Johnson to submit as non-substantive report as possible to PCC;

2. We would support PCC report that does not endorse Johnson Plan;

3. We would sponsor GA resolution contained in Deptel 1371;/3/

/3/Dated November 25. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-2562)

4. We would also maintain our past position against recognition of Palestine entity, reconstitution of PCC, and Arab Custodian proposal.

Assumption is Johnson's role would be concluded and PCC effort would be pursued by US in post-GA period.

We seek commitments from Israel that:

1. It will not introduce or support a Direct Negotiations resolution for next two years;

2. It will be free to maintain its present private rejection of the Johnson Plan, but would not attack it publicly (including in GA debate);

3. It will resume discussions with the US shortly after GA to consider how progress can be made on refugee question with an acceptable mixture of repatriation and resettlement. This would include consideration of any ideas Israel has, twelve principles developed in the Harman-Talbot talks, and possible ways to resolve refugee question bilaterally, i.e., Jordan;

4. It will commit itself to continue to avoid actions along the border and to support effective use and improvement of UN instrumentalities in area.

If foregoing agreement achieved, it ought to be possible to guide debate in such way that onus for failure make progress on basis Johnson Plan will fall more or less equitably on both sides. Moreover, since Arabs, as well as the Israelis, would welcome non-substantive Johnson report which does not surface Johnson Plan, we ought to be able to use this and our willingness to extend UNRWA for a year as leverage with them on the Palestine entity, PCC reconstitution, and Custodian proposals.

In meeting November 29 with Ambassador Harman, U.S. officials discussed problem along above lines. Harman promised to seek instructions soonest. Reporting telegram containing further details on this meeting follows./4/

/4/Document 107.



107. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/

Washington, November 30, 1962, 2:14 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-3062. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford, cleared by Talbot, and approved by Cleveland. Repeated to Tel Aviv.

1425. Deptel 1414./2/ Following reports additional details USG (Feldman, Talbot, Cleveland) talk with Israel Ambassador Harman November 29./3/

/2/Document 106.

/3/The memorandum of conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/11-2962.

In reply Harman's urging earliest consultation re text draft resolution, we emphasized New York proper locus for discussion this or other tactical-procedural problems; consultation re draft resolution, which must in any case be matter of multilateral concern, premature until we have Israel's reply re USG package proposal.

We said USG objective is not to add to legislative history of para 11 at this session but since citation this para probably inevitable as result of Arab insistence we think it safer have an innocuously-placed citation in our draft from the beginning.

We estimated chances of blocking Arab proposals to be at least as good as last year provided there is created proper appreciation of need for PCC's continuing its work and obligation of GA protect this.

We further made it clear Johnson is an independent agent and even if Israel accepts proffered package we cannot dictate his report but only use what influence we have with him to urge merits of a non-substantive report at this time. Harman argued strongly of need to squelch further references to idea of refugee "preference poll" futility of which USG must now understand. We said PCC must be free after debate consider any and all courses of action, including free expression refugee preference; certainly no one wishes push individual refugee across borders against his will.

Harman sought assurance PCC would not transmit or publish Johnson report at this time regardless of content. We refused give such assurance, again emphasizing that first step is hearing Israel's reply and subsequent step is Johnson submitting non-substantive report.

Harman said Israel might have some difficulty re direct negotiations resolution which has developed head of steam. We pointed out we had earlier expressed to Israel concern on just this point and had received firm reply Israel could control situation.



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

Washington, December 4, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries, Israel Security. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford. Komer sent this memorandum to President Kennedy under cover of a memorandum that reads: "I'm told Rusk will be calling you shortly on the Israeli reply to our Arab refugee package (attached is Talbot's memo to Rusk for your background). State and Mike Feldman apparently disagree over whether or not the Israeli response is satisfactory. State thinks emphatically not. Our proposals to Israel were most forthcoming. If we retreat further now we should do so in full recognition that we will be abandoning any hope of a refugee initiative along the lines we've favored (and which, in my judgment, offer the only hope of movement on this painful issue). I urge that we review this problem again, since a basic decision as to whether it is worthwhile to proceed further with any refugee plan is the underlying issue really involved."

Israel's Response to U.S. Proposals Regarding General Assembly Arab Refugee Debate

As you know, Harlan Cleveland, Mike Feldman and I met Israeli Ambassador Harman on December 4 to hear Israel's reaction to our proposals./2/ On two uncertain points, I telephoned Ambassador Harman after reporting orally to you. The following sets forth the Israeli replies on the points sought by the U.S.:

/2/The memorandum of conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/12-462.

1. Israel will not introduce or support a direct negotiation resolution for the next two years:

The resolution will be introduced. It will not be pressed to a vote. Israel is confident of control. Israel cannot commit itself regarding next year. However, it would undertake to be in close touch with us. (In my subsequent telephone conversation, I tried out the formula that "Israel will not put the resolution forward next year unless the U.S. and Israel find this mutually advantageous." In response, Harman said he "would not like to make a blanket commitment for next year in view of the uncertainties of the situation.")

2. Israel will be free to maintain its present private rejection of the Johnson Plan, but will not attack it publicly, including in GA debate:

Israel has no desire to mention the proposals or any element of them. "If the development of debate is such as to make this tenable, this is Israel's position."

3. Israel will resume discussions with the U.S. shortly after the GA to consider how progress can be made on the refugee question with an acceptable mixture of repatriation and resettlement. This will include consideration of any ideas Israel has, of the twelve principles developed in the Harman-Talbot talks, and of possible ways to resolve the refugee question bilaterally, i.e., Jordan:

"Within the framework of U.S.-Israel agreement on this package, and the clarification sought by Israel, Israel accepts this suggestion and is ready for discussions on the refugee question. The U.S. is well aware of Israel's attitude toward the preference poll and Paragraph 11. It would be our assumption that these would not be the basis of discussion. What the Prime Minister told President Kennedy stands, and this would be the basis. Any agreement between the U.S. and Israel would also have to be the basis of agreement with the Arabs." (In the later telephone conversation I said "we foresee these talks as being without preconditions. Particularly, we understand that there would not be certain topics excluded from discussions." Harman replied that he would like to be confident of U.S. understanding that "Israel has rejected these devices and has the attitude it does regarding Paragraph 11.")

4. Israel will commit itself to continue to avoid actions along the border, and to support effective use and improvement of UN instrumentalities in the area:

"The U.S. has expressed satisfaction at Israel's cooperation on the border. What Prime Minister Ben Gurion wrote to President Kennedy on June 24 stands, and is the basis of Israel's approach. (See attached copy of Ben Gurion's letter.)/3/ The Prime Minister's letter is a clear indication of the spirit in which Israel shall approach this."

/3/For text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XVII,Document 308.

In the meeting with Harman we made clear that, depending on the consideration of Israel's response by the highest levels of this government, we would be prepared to do the following. Harman sought the "clarifications" indicated./4/

/4/On December 3, Feldman, Talbot, Cleveland, and other U.S. officials met with Harman, Gazit, and Bar-Haim to obtain Israel's response to a series of questions posed by the United States (see Document 107). Instead of responding, Harman requested "clarifications" concerning U.S. willingness to meet Israeli desires. (Memorandum of conversation by Crawford, December 3; Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/12-362; and memorandum of telephone conversation between Feldman and Harman, December 3; ibid.)

1. We would urge Johnson to submit as non-substantive a report as possible to the PCC.

2. We would support a PCC report that does not endorse the Johnson Plan. (Harman sought clarification that the report would not endorse or refer to the Johnson Plan or Johnson elements. He also sought to persuade us that the Johnson report regardless of its nature, should not be transmitted by the PCC or made public. We replied that, if the report takes the form we hope, it will not matter whether it is or is not conveyed by the PCC.)

3. We would sponsor a GA resolution commending the PCC for its work carried out pursuant to Paragraph 11; direct the PCC to continue its endeavors; and extend UNRWA for one year. (Harman sought to persuade us that there should be no mention of Paragraph 11. We said we consider the citation of Paragraph 11 unavoidable. We will try to keep the citation in its present innocuous form (i.e., unrelated to the mention of future PCC activity), but cannot guarantee this since consultation regarding our draft will necessarily be a multilateral process.

4. We would also maintain our past position against recognition of a Palestine entity, reconstitution of the PCC, and the Arab custodian proposal.

By way of further clarification Harman sought assurance that U.S. statements in debate would not refer to the Johnson Plan or elements thereof. We said our statements would necessarily be "derivative" from what had gone before.


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

Washington, December 5, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 12/22/62. Secret.

Israel's reply to our package proposal on Arab refugees confronts us with a basic decision as to whether the US ought to battle uphill any farther on this issue. The Israelis say in effect they will talk as long as we want about refugees but will not accept any plan involving expression of refugee preferences (the heart of the Johnson approach).

If we now temporize further with Israel (when they know you personally signed off on the above proposal), the Israelis will conclude we've in effect given up on our refugee approach. The only way to forestall this conclusion is if in the UN and in your talk with Golda Meir you make our stand crystal clear.

Before doing so, however, you'll have to be convinced that pursuing a Johnson-type approach any further is worth the headaches involved. Here is an initiative which at best rates only a 50-50 chance of success. Even to get these odds the US would have to use forms of pressure on Israel which would entail a real domestic backlash here. And if we could deliver Israel, we have no assurance that the key Arabs will agree. Finally, even if we got a refugee program started it could easily get short-circuited by another Arab-Israeli flare-up.

If we decide to disengage from any such problematical exercise, we ought to do so now (though in such a way as to make Arabs and Israelis--not us--share the blame). Before we close the book, however, let me argue the larger case. This issue has been presented to you too much in terms of short run tactics instead of overall rationale.

In essence, the issue is whether the US should accept the costs involved in a major attempt to move toward settlement of the Arab-Israeli problem. Like Trieste, Kashmir, and so many others, here is one of those intractable problems which are rarely ever solved by the parties themselves. Nor do they fade away with time; instead they tend to keep eating so at the parties that, in the absence of an external catalyst, they often end up in war.

Arab-Israeli disputes have caused the US so many headaches over the past 15 years, and are liable to cause so many more if not moved toward settlement, that the difficulties of starting up the Johnson Plan seem pale by comparison. There are few issues on which the US has had to expend more capital, political and financial, over the years.

It is precisely because of our special interest in Israel that any move which offers reasonable prospect of starting a trend toward settlement seems worth a try. What is the alternative? It is continued bickering between Israel and Arabs with periodical flare-ups which put us squarely in the middle. We face another one next year over the Jordan waters. Meanwhile, the refugee problem grows worse; a million Arab refugees breed and agitate in their camps, kept in sullen order only by a largely US dole.

Hence an Arab-Israeli settlement is as much in Israel's interest as ours. How long does Israel want to live as a semi-garrison state, surrounded by a million discontented refugees, and forced to divert a high proportion of its assets (and our aid) to security needs?

The trouble is that the Israelis feel there is only one way to achieve such a settlement, i.e. to keep bloodying the Arabs every time they get mean. Israel has lived so long within a hostile Arab ring that it is afraid to show weakness. It relies on time. But time may be against it; its tough policy leads to repeated minor clashes which only serve to feed Arab hostility, not lessen it.

More important, the secular trend in the Near East is against Israel. In another decade Nasser and others may well acquire at long last the resources to risk a war. Our threatened intervention would still be a powerful deterrent, but such action might cost us a lot at that juncture. We will also find ourselves giving a lot more than Hawks to maintain a local deterrent balance.

If we want instead to move the Arab-Israeli dispute toward settlement, the refugee issue is the only one of its many aspects susceptible of movement toward solution at this point. And we have no better lever to this end than the Johnson Plan.

It is no panacea, but is at least a carefully reasoned scheme evolved from the long and painful history of past attempts to deal with the refugee issue. One need only look at this history to conclude that Johnson's indirect approach is about the only one with any chance of success.

Israel itself would be delighted if such an approach actually resulted in resettling nine-tenths of the refugees (with us footing the bill). The Israelis are unwilling, however, to risk the experiment. They fear that far more than one in ten refugees would opt (at least initially) for repatriation, and that Israel, when it refused them, would be arraigned before the UN. So they won't allow any expression of preference; they insist instead that the Arab states agree beforehand to a 10-1 ratio. But only a plan based on tacit Arab acquiescence, rather than formal agreement, has a prayer.

We have told the Israelis we will stand by them if the plan doesn't work. We have in effect offered to guarantee Israel's security. But even on these terms Israel is unwilling to take the short-term political risks involved in seeking even a major long-term gain. BG boggles at the domestic political risk to his shaky coalition if he tries to push such a plan through.

In their efforts to short circuit the Johnson Plan, the Israelis have mounted a pressure campaign with which it is almost impossible for State to cope. Since this is an issue where our foreign policy goals must necessarily be formulated with an eye to our domestic flank, they take full advantage of this fact. I can't blame them for doing so, but in this case I believe they do themselves and us a disservice.

Your Administration has done more to satisfy Israeli security preoccupations than any of its predecessors. We have promised the Israelis Hawks, reassured them on the Jordan waters, given a higher level of economic aid (to permit extensive arms), and given various security assurances.

In return, we have gotten nothing from our efforts--both in Israel's own interest--to improve the UN peace machinery and to move forward on refugees. The score is 4-0. In fact, the Israelis have visibly retreated from Ben Gurion's May 1961 statements to you and those to Mike last August. They are unwilling even to talk about the Johnson approach.

In my frank opinion, our tactical handling of the Plan has been poor. We should not have launched it in August, nor have given the Hawk assurances beforehand, nor have let Joe Johnson put out a detailed plan before we had nailed down the basic principles. Be this as it may, we may be making a mistake (and Israel an even bigger one) to let the Johnson Plan die at this point.

If our long term interests (and Israel's) justify attempting to move toward Arab-Israeli settlement, the refugee issue is where to begin, and the Johnson approach the only viable one. While no one is optimistic that this approach will work, no other plan has even its chance of success. Hence, as on Kashmir and similar issues, there may be fewer risks to us in pressing for solutions than in letting such dangerous issues fester on and on.

Another reason for moving ahead is that for the first time we may have leverage with the key Arab--Nasser. We also have a new regime in Saudi Arabia and the Jordanians are our prisoners. Our overall prestige in the Middle East is higher than it has been in years. Thus circumstances have never been more propitious for a refugee initiative, if only we could get the Israelis off the dime.

To do so, however, we have to do something we have never done before, except briefly at Suez. We have to pressure Israel to come around. According to State's Middle East experts, we have never been in a better position to do so. We have just promised Israel Hawks, it needs our support on the Jordan waters, and it might well be susceptible to a combination of pressures and further reassurances on our part. I would add, however, that Mike Feldman (who may know far better) flatly disagrees.

Whether we push hard now or wait until after the GA is irrelevant if we decide (and tell Israel so) that we are not giving up. But unless we make a firm decision, we are only prolonging the agony. A clear signal is needed one way or the other, and it is one only you can give.

R.W. Komer


110. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, December 5, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, IO/UNP Files; Lot 72 D 294, PCC---Johnson Mission. Secret. Prior to this meeting, Secretary Rusk telephoned President Kennedy, and in Talbot's presence, told him that Israel's response to the U.S. proposals on the Palestine refugee question was not adequate, and asked the President to chose among three options; (1) the United States would proceed on the basis of its own understanding of the proposals; (2) the United States would not proceed until it reached agreement with Israel; or (3) the United States could agree to immediate submission of the Johnson report to the PCC. The President chose the first alternative. (Memorandum for the files by Strong, December 6; ibid.; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israel dispute)

Ambassador Harman of Israel
Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary for New Eastern and South Asian Affairs

I told Ambassador Harman that the United States Government would proceed in the Special Political Committee debate on Arab refugees along the lines of the understanding that he and we had discussed. I said that we would follow our interpretation of these points, recognizing that in the event of a difference in interpretation Israel and the United States would have to consult to resolve the difference. He asked the significance of my second statement. I said that we had expressed our understanding of each point and would adhere to that. For example we had made clear our feeling of the importance of having a two year commitment that Israel would not support a direct negotiations resolution, and while understanding Israel's reluctance to commit its future position at this time, we would expect to be closely consulted if at any moment Israel should decide to support a direct negotiations resolution. On the question of resuming talks about an Arab refugee settlement at the General Assembly session, we interpret the understanding to be that we will enter these talks without preconditions and without Israeli refusal to discuss elements that seem significant to us. The Ambassador replied that he was glad to hear of our agreement to this package and that of course we already knew the Israeli position on these subjects, such as a preference poll, which he had repeatedly brought to our attention.

The Ambassador asked if this meant that the agreement was now in effect between our two governments. I replied that it did. He then asked if he could take it that there was no change in our opposition to the Arab-sponsored resolutions for reconstitution of the PCC and a property custodian. I replied that there was no change in our position. Finally, he said he assumed that this meant our delegations would be in close touch with each other. I said I assumed that the U.S. delegation would be consulting closely with all other delegations involved in this issue.

In a separate telephone conversation, having negotiated this item in our first talk, I told the Ambassador that we had been informed that Israeli representatives had told another government that Israel and the United States had made an agreement providing that the U.S. would not recommend the Johnson Plan in the United Nations, that in exchange Israel would not criticize the Plan in the General Assembly, that Israel and the U.S. would jointly discuss the refugee problem after the General Assembly, and that Israel would not put the direct negotiations resolution to a vote. I said that we were disappointed to learn this, because we believed that our talks were private. I also reminded him that we had spoken to him only a few weeks ago about an Israeli representative informing another government of private talks between Israel and the U.S. He said he had not heard of this incident and did not know what may have happened, but he would pass my comment along./2/

/2/The Department of State transmitted the gist of this conversation to USUN in telegram 1521, December 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/12-662)


111. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts/1/

Washington, December 6, 1962, 8:57 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/12-662. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford; cleared by Talbot, Sisco, Strong, and Newsom (in substance); and approved by Cleveland. Sent to USUN and repeated to Paris, Algiers, Amman, Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Benghazi, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Khartoum, London, Mogadiscio, Rabat, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Tunis, and Jerusalem.

1053. Depcirtel 970./2/ GA Palestine Refugee Debate. Considering strong opposition to substantive treatment Johnson proposals in UNGA evinced not only by Arabs and Israelis but also by our Turkish and French PCC colleagues, and bearing in mind our objective that this debate give PCC initiative fresh impetus benefiting from excellent work of past year, guidance reftel modified as follows:

/2/Dated November 25. (Ibid., 324.8411/11-2562)

Mission should inform our PCC colleagues we prepared join them in urging Johnson defer submission report. We suggest meeting be convened with Johnson for this purpose afternoon December 7. We think Dr. Johnson should additionally be informed by PCC that (a) full PCC report, of which his work would form major element, might be issued in due course if he and PCC consider this desirable in light evolution of post-GA discussions; (b) during GA debate Johnson could properly refer questions re status his report to PCC Members who would state that PCC had conveyed to Johnson its view that interim report by him would not now serve useful purpose; (c) PCC very much hopes he can remain on scene; and (d) PCC Members would use their best influence with parties ensure post-GA discussions bear fruit.

PCC colleagues' support should be sought for revised draft PCC report developed in light consultations with them (text by separate tel)./3/ US draft resolution unchanged, except you authorized substitute first preambular para from last year's res, plus reference to Res 1725,/4/ for our present first preambular para. We believe this would make it more acceptable to both parties.

/3/Text of the PCC report, as worked out in meetings among officials of the U.S. Mission, representatives of Turkey and France, and Joseph Johnson, is in telegram 2212 from USUN, December 7. (Ibid., 324.84/12-762) It is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 757-760.

/4/U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1725 (XVI), adopted December 20, 1961. For text, see ibid., 1961, pp. 680-681.

With Israelis, Mission should take position we desire avoid debating matters of substance. Low-key debate will contribute to continuation useful explorations, which Israel has said it desires, following debate. We confident Israel will be comparatively temperate in its remarks and will not bring Johnson Plan elements into public discussion. We have consistently made clear our opposition to introduction any partisan proposals, including direct negotiations resolutions. If, despite our advice, Israel's friends introduce Brazzaville-type resolution we expect Israel's influence will be used prevent it being brought to vote. Should it come to vote, we would vote against it. Our draft resolution cites para 11. While we realize Israel will object to mention para 11 in draft resolution, citation unavoidable and inclusion from outset improves chances keeping citation innocuously placed.

FYI: Israelis will undoubtedly seek this year as in past a special relationship of tactical coordination with USG. Mission should of course consult with Israeli Del in normal friendly manner but make clear consultation on handling of debate is necessarily a multilateral process. End FYI.

With Arabs, Mission should point out we initially hoped for thorough airing of Johnson elements in debate to win international understanding and support for them. However, we willing heed Arab counsel that keeping Johnson elements out of debate will create better atmosphere for continuation PCC initiative following debate provided there is cooperation in keeping debate low-key. We have consistently made clear our opposition to all partisan proposals including that for direct negotiations. We hope these will not be introduced. We will vote against them if they are pressed to vote. We hoped there would by this time be more tangible progress toward refugee solution that we might have used within USG to justify UNRWA extension. In view resistance of parties and lack of tangible results, we unable justify, and therefore cannot now support, more than minimal UNRWA extension to insure refugee welfare is provided for during coming year while PCC search for political solution continues.

Conversations with other dels should stress our desire to keep substance disentangled from present deplorable debate in expectation PCC will continue useful work with renewed impetus thereafter. In essence, what we seek is well deserved pat on back for PCC that will help it in its dealing with reluctant and insufficiently cooperative parties.

Draft speech materials also being forwarded by separate tel./5/

/5/Telegram 1564 to USUN, December 9. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/12-962)



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

Washington, December 6, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-662. Secret. Drafted by Seelye and Strong and concurred in by Talbot. Komer transmitted this memorandum to President Kennedy under cover of a December 6 memorandum recommending that the President approve the Department of State request. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, Nasser Correspondence) Komer's memorandum also forwarded telegram 464 from Jidda, December 5, in which Hart emphasized Royalist military gains and their ability to continue military action. Hart recommended that the United States not give up its recognition plan, arguing that without recognition, a Soviet presence would replace the U.S. presence in Yemen, and that continued Saudi involvement in Yemen would undermine Saudi stability. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/12-562) A handwritten notation on Komer's memorandum reads: "Oked by Pres. per McGB evening 6 Dec `62." For text of Komer's memorandum, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

United States Recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic

Our negotiations with the United Arab Republic and the Yemen Arab Republic over the content of the public statements we have suggested they issue may be in the final stage. Therefore we consider it desirable to have authority to proceed with recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic and to agree promptly with the United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic on the timing of release of their statements and of ours, contingent upon final agreement on the texts of the United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic statements.

Texts of the United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic statements, with appropriate indication of the final changes we are seeking, are enclosed as is the text of our proposed release which would follow by 12-24 hours the publication of the United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic statements./2/ If the United Arab Republic and Yemen Arab Republic agree to the suggested changes, their statements not only will meet the conditions outlined in the President's letter of November 16 but also will be acceptable to the United Kingdom, as is our own proposed statement. We have kept in close touch with the United Kingdom throughout.

/2/Attached but not printed.

While it is believed in some quarters that the royalists' position in Yemen is improving, it is our considered judgment that the royalists will be unable to regain effective control of Yemen as long as United Arab Republic forces are present in strength. Whether the royalists can long continue a serious military campaign after withdrawal of external support and after general recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic seems doubtful. Our immediate concern is less with what transpires inside Yemen than the prospect that our failure to recognize the new regime will lead to escalation of the conflict endangering the stability of the whole Arabian Peninsula. Likewise, failure to recognize will result in termination of an American presence in Yemen and is likely to lead to a considerable increase in Soviet influence. Following recognition we shall be confronted with the difficult task of working out the modalities of disengagement by all external parties. The United States may have to play the leading role in this operation. After foreign intervention has terminated the Yemenis should be in a position to work out their own future and we believe the natural frictions between Egyptians and Yemenis will serve to limit United Arab Republic influence in Yemen.

Prince Faysal and King Hussein have expressed displeasure with our formula for recognition, advocating delay until United Arab Republic troops are withdrawn from Yemen. However, we are convinced that our action is in their overall interest as well as our own. Just before extending recognition to the Yemen Arab Republic we plan to release publicly the President's letter of October 25 to Prince Faysal and to deliver to King Hussein a letter from the President (telegram enclosed)/3/ underlining the identity of United States-Jordanian interests. These measures are designed to make more palatable to them our recognition of Yemen, to show clearly our continuing support, and to stress our interest in a strong reform program in Saudi Arabia. We plan to continue periodic, overt military demonstrations in Saudi Arabia as long as these are welcomed by Faysal.

/3/Sent as telegram 254 to Amman, December 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/11-2062) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

E.S. Little/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that indicates Little signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.


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

Washington, December 10, 1962, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 686B.86H/12-1062. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, Taiz, and Dhahran.

471. Omar Saqqaf summoned me Foreign Ministry December 9. He had two messages which he had personally received from Crown Prince Faysal who wanted them conveyed to me.

Message number 1 (practically verbatim).

"We see no advantage in publishing letters now (letters from President to King and Faysal) especially since there is difference between us and them (the US) about remedying situation resulting from Nasser's interference in Yemen and about direction which American policy is taking in helping Nasir at time when Nasir is directing his attacks and interference against friends of US in area, in addition to Nasir inciting peoples of area, against those friends of US. Therefore it is undesirable to us that these letters be published because publication will be contrary to our interest."

Message number 2.

Faysal says that when he was in Washington viewpoints between him and American officials headed by President Kennedy were in agreement that policy of Nasir constituted danger to Arabs and to peace and security of area which it is concern of US to create and maintain. Discussions (in US) revolved around what should be done to remedy situation. Faysal added it was decided by responsible American officials that they would as much as possible reduce assistance given to Nasir materially and morally and would continue to apply pressure on him so as to prevent extension of harm he is causing. Faysal however, has noticed these days new trend in US policy. Trend in direction of helping Nasir through increasing material assistance which in turn helps him in his aggression in Yemen. Greatest evidence of trend is "note" (Presidential letter) which we have received and conditions it contained. This is something which Nasir would never have dreamed of achieving. At same time US is trying to recognize revolutionaries with result that this recognition would give Nasir's aggression and Sallal's insurrection a legal face.

HRH would therefore like to have clarification on whether US policy has changed it's direction from way HRH understood it in Washington. HRH is truly disturbed these days by new trend he sees in policy of American Government.

Saqqaf mentioned that copy of second message was sent to Saudi Ambassador in Washington for his information. Saqqaf added that he was recommending that copy of first message also be sent to Ambassador Khayyal.

Saqqaf asked me to secure a quick reply to Prince's request for clarification which occurred in second message. I said that frankly I could give him an immediate reply but would nevertheless pass Faysal's request to Washington for reaction. I made clear Prince's remarks constituted distortion of Washington talks. Saqqaf injected what he called a confidential piece of information, namely, that Foreign Minister of unnamed country had told Saudi Ambassador in that country that US as well as Egypt (sic) were pressuring government of the unnamed country into recognizing YAR. At this point I told Saqqaf emphatically that it did not matter what country was involved. I was sure report had no basis in fact and that US policy was to not apply pressure on any government. We had been approached by various governments who inquired as to our next move. Our stock reply was that other governments were free to follow their own choice. Saqqaf asked me whether he could cable my comment to particular Saudi Ambassador who had reported the alleged "American pressure". I told him he certainly could.

Saqqaf asked me whether I had received further reply from Washington to Faysal's reaction to President Kennedy's message (Embtel 444)./2/ I told Saqqaf that I had received no reply as yet.

/2/Telegram 444 from Jidda, December 1, transmitted an oral message from Faysal passed on by Saqqaf that stipulated two requirements for a Yemen settlement: removal of all foreign elements from interference in Yemeni affairs, including the withdrawal of foreign forces, and no discrimination between the two disputant parties in Yemen. Faysal indicated that if these two requirements were not met there was no possibility for Saudi cooperation in a settlement. (Ibid., 786H.00/12-162)

Saqqaf (protect source) volunteered he had recommended to Faysal President's letters (to King and Faysal) not be published. In explanation he said, "I gave this question great deal of thought and came to conclusion should you recognize YAR one day and have letters published the next day total picture resulting from these two actions would put us in a position of weakness and distress".

Saying it was off the record, Saqqaf said that as a friend he would not wish to see the situation of the Yemen create any lukewarmness or estrangement between US and Saudi Arabia. "To avoid this kind of taut relations is all I am striving for right now", he said.

Later in day I learned Japanese and Belgian Chargés called to Ministry to receive rationale to SAG view on Yemen and complaint re US policy.

Comment: Faysal expected in Jidda in few days. Meanwhile, with Saqqaf and Sabbagh I am preparing notes to set record straight in Faysal's mind re Washington talks. Request Department not react to this message via Ambassador Khayyal who, I have reason to fear, likely relay response in rather misleading or peremptory style. Suggest Department indicate--should he raise subject--that response will be made via Embassy Jidda in view fact Sabbagh, who prepared all memcons, is here. While we now have full story Washington talks I shall be glad of any comments as well as any further observations in response Faysal message transmitted Embtel 444./3/

/3/In telegram 332 to Jidda, December 12, the Department of State informed Hart that, in keeping with Faysal's wishes, the United States would not publish the letter from Kennedy to Faysal unless Hart recommended otherwise. The Department also disputed Faysal's recollection of his Washington conversations, noting that the President's objective was to contribute to area peace and stability by turning UAR attention toward domestic concerns, not by withholding assistance to the UAR or imposing other forms of pressure. (Ibid., 686B.86H/12-1062)



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

Washington, December 14, 1962, 9:08 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-1262. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye; cleared by Strong, Johnson, and Knox; and approved by Talbot. Also sent to London and Sanaa and repeated to Amman, Beirut, Jidda, Khartoum, Taiz, USUN, and Paris for Rusk.

628. Sanaa tels 11/2/ and 13/3/ to Dept and London tel 2210 to Dept./4/ View inter alia willingness YAR publicly honor all treaties concluded by previous government and our belief UK has had sufficient time lay groundwork prior to US recognition YAR, USG intends proceed with recognition YAR. Accordingly, at high level London should inform Foreign Office foregoing, indicating (1) USG convinced further delay will adversely affect US-UK interests, (2) US will refer as agreed to Sanaa Treaty/5/ in its statement (Deptel 3140),/6/ and (3) Baydani has informed us that when UK Minister presents his credentials to Sallal latter will make categorical public undertaking observe this treaty (Sanaa's 11 to Dept).

/2/Telegram 11 from Sanaa, December 9, reported on a discussion between Stookey and Baydani during which Stookey pressed U.S. concerns about Aden and the need for the Yemeni Government to refer to the Aden Federation or the 1934 Treaty of Sanaa in its statement. Baydani refused but offered as an alternative an acknowledgement that YAR intended to honor "all treaties concluded by previous government," and a specific statement regarding the treaty when the British Ambassador presented his credentials. (Ibid., 786H.02/12-962)

/3/Dated December 10. (Ibid.)

/4/Dated December 12. (Ibid., 786H.02/12-1262)

/5/Concluded between the United Kingdom and Yemen on February 11, 1934.

/6/Telegram 3140 to London, December 13. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-1262)

Upon notification by Embassy London of official UK acquiescence, Chargés Cairo and Sanaa should inform UAR and YAR respectively that 12-24 hours following release their statements satisfactory to US (texts follow) we will announce recognition YAR. USG prefers UAR-YAR statements be made in afternoon (any day except Saturday) permitting USG statement occur following morning. Cairo and Sanaa should cable Dept Niact upon release these statements indicating whether or not they follow agreed text. Cairo should seek UAR concurrence replace "whenever" in penultimate sentence by "or earlier if" as discussed previously by Ambassador with Ali Sabry. If UAR demurs, UAR-proposed language acceptable.

Text of acceptable UAR-YAR statements recapitulated as follows:

UAR Statement

"The United Arab Republic confirms and supports the full contents of the communiqué released by the Government of the Yemen Arab Republic. The United Arab Republic is proud of having extended full support to the Yemen revolution since the early hours of its outbreak,/7/ a support in consonance with existing agreements. Now that the Yemen Arab Republic has firmly established itself as the Government of Yemen and inasmuch as we deplore the continuation of bloodshed, the United Arab Republic hereby signifies its willingness to undertake a reciprocal expeditious disengagement and phased removal of its troops from Yemen, as Saudi and Jordanian forces engaged in support of the dethroned King are removed from the frontier areas and as external support as well as Saudi and Jordanian support of the Yemen Royalists is terminated, or earlier if the Government of the Yemen Arab Republic should make such a request. To this we pledge ourselves provided the foregoing conditions are met."

/7/In telegram 863 from Cairo, December 15, Badeau noted that the second sentence of this proposed UAR statement omitted language previously agreed upon. Consequently, the text at this point should include the passage: "proffered in response to the desires of the Yemeni people, who were subjected to various threats from neighboring countries, a support . . ." (Ibid., 786.02/12-1562) The Department of State confirmed that the passage had been omitted and ought to be included. (Telegram 629 to Cairo, December 15; ibid.)

YAR Statement

"From the first day of the revolution in our country the Yemen Arab Republic has declared its determination to dedicate its efforts to raising the standards of the Yemeni people and to see cordial relations with all countries.

"During past weeks we have been forced to defend the territory of our republic against foreign invasion and against elements in contact with foreigners and receiving encouragement and support from them. These unfortunate events may have obscured in some quarters the basic principles and aims of Yemeni peoples revolution.

"We therefore declare once again that it remains the firm policy of the YAR to honor its international obligations, including all treaties concluded by previous governments, and abide by the Charters of the United Nations and the Arab League. We desire to live in peace and harmony with all our neighbors to the extent to which they share this desire, and we call upon our brothers, Yemenis living in adjacent areas, to be law-abiding citizens. We shall concentrate our efforts on our internal affairs, in order to ensure the equality of all citizens before law, raise social and economic standards of Yemen people and develop the country's heretofore neglected resources for the benefit of all the people. With good will and the assistance of friendly countries we shall advance toward these sacred objectives. My God crown our efforts with success."

For Sanaa. When you make approach you should if at all possible see Sallal. In your presentation you should not initiate reference to Baydani's offer to mention Treaty of Sanaa when British discuss recognition. If Sallal (or Baydani) raises subject you should respond only that USG has taken note of it for record. You should state USG intends hold YAR strictly to undertakings in its public statement.

For Cairo. In your presentation you should tell UAR we not insisting YAR include mention of Treaty in public statement but we noting in our statement that Treaty of Sanaa included in YAR treaty obligations. You should also state our intention hold both YAR and UAR to their undertakings.

For Secretary. You may wish discuss with Lord Home.



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

Washington, December 17, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786B.11/12-1762. Secret. Drafted by Strong on December 15. On December 15, Talbot forwarded a text of this memorandum to Rusk with a recommendation that he sign it. Talbot's transmittal memorandum reads: "In his talk with Ambassador Badeau on December 12, the President raised the question of a visit by President Nasser. After discussion, the President approved the visit in principle. We have now been asked to submit a formal memorandum. If at all possible, we desire a final decision before the President departs for Nassau in view of Ambassador Badeau's departure for Cairo on December 22." (Ibid.)

Proposed Visit of President Gamal Abd al-Nasser of the United Arab Republic

We recommend that you formally approve a modified Presidential Guest visit (see enclosure)/2/ by President Nasser during the first half of February 1963, the invitation to be delivered to him in Cairo by Ambassador Badeau upon his return to Cairo (December 23), provided we have by then recognized Yemen. Alternatively, we propose he deliver the invitation prior to the New Year in any event and that after a mutually agreeable date for the visit has been set, a date then be selected for a joint press announcement.

/2/The enclosure, entitled "Outline of Proposed Visit," is not printed.

Nasser has led his country for ten years but has never been invited to the United States for an official visit. In 1960 he met President Eisenhower in New York while attending the General Assembly. Plans to invite him have existed for years but consistently have been frustrated by unfavorable conditions. That we shall ever find a "good time" to invite Nasser seems doubtful; hence our belief we should issue the invitation under the something less than ideal circumstances existing now. The policy adopted just a year ago of seeking to improve relations with the United Arab Republic gives added weight to the justification for doing so.

We believe it desirable that you have an opportunity to meet Nasser face-to-face, that Nasser gain a first-hand impression of the power of the United States, and that he be exposed to the American economic system. By talking with him you would be enabled to expose our policies, our interests and our concerns, both global and Near Eastern. You would be able to gauge what to expect from Nasser in the pursuit of our current policy, and by personal contact you would increase immensely the value and effectiveness of future correspondence with him. We do not view your meeting with Nasser as an occasion for seeking great commitments. Rather, we see it as an opportunity to impress him, to encourage further moderation in United Arab Republic policies, and to strengthen his confidence in the intentions of the United States toward the United Arab Republic.

Widespread hostility toward the visit is to be expected, particularly from a number of the Arab countries, from Israel, and from a good many American citizens and groups. We do not consider that the hostility in the Near East will be such as to do real damage to our interests, and we plan to take such diplomatic action as may be available to allay in part the concerns of Nasser's enemies in the area. As for the domestic aspect, certain quiet preparatory work can be undertaken to reduce the opposition to manageable proportions. We believe it desirable at the time the invitation is issued to Nasser to inform the Government of Israel that either President Ben Tzvi or Prime Minister Ben-Gurion will be invited to make a comparable visit to the United States later in 1963 at a time to be agreed.

We further recommend that you order extraordinary precautions to be taken to avoid a leak prior to issuance of a press release.

Dean Rusk/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.


116. Editorial Note

On December 18, 1962, the Yemen Arab Republic released an official communiqué that embodied the statement proposed by the United States in telegram 628 to Cairo, Document 114. The Sanaa office of the Taiz Legation verified that the Arabic text faithfully reflected the meaning of the English version. (Telegram 18 from Sanaa, December 18; Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/12-1862)

On December 19, the UAR Ministry of Information released a statement that was the same as the U.S. proposal contained in telegram 628, except that the penultimate sentence used "whenever" instead of "or earlier." The Embassy in Cairo verified that the official Arabic text was a close translation of the English version with no difference in substance. (Telegram 883 from Cairo, December 19; ibid., 786.02/12-1962)

At noon on December 19, the Department of State issued a press release indicating that the U.S. Government welcomed the statements made by the Yemen Arab Republic and the United Arab Republic, expressed the belief that they provided a basis for terminating the conflict in Yemen, and extended recognition to the Yemen Arab Republic. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1963, pages 11-12.



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