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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 117-143

117. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, December 21, 1962.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B/12-2162. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Jones on December 28.

US Policy Toward UAR

Ambassador John S. Badeau
NEA--Phillips Talbot
NE--Robert C. Strong
NE--Curtis F. Jones

Ambassador Badeau met with Mr. Talbot and Mr. Strong to review the results of his two weeks' consultations in the Department. The following was agreed:

Arab Propaganda War--Upon his return to Cairo, the Ambassador should take steps to discourage the UAR from its sponsorship of the Saudi revolutionary, Nasser Said, and to encourage the UAR to return to the countries of origin the military aircraft flown to Cairo by the defecting pilots. In the interest of eventual reconciliation between the UAR and the traditional governments, Embassy Cairo will in the light of the forthcoming INR study on the inter-Arab propaganda war seek ways to moderate the tone of the UAR's broadcasts.

Yemen--Since the UAR's involvement in Yemen is in the form of a costly expeditionary force of low morale, the UAR could begin to disengage with immediate effect. Royalist involvement is built on indigenous tribesmen who are happy to fight for a few thalers. Supplying these with arms and money is no great strain on the Saudi budget. Even if the Saudis should pinch off the flow, it would take some months in the normal course of events for the tribes to feel the attrition.

The great danger, therefore, is that continued tribal harassment will cost the YAR some defeats and exasperate the UAR into retaliating on a large scale against Saudi Arabia. It is essential to reverse the present trend while there is still time. The US Government must lose no opportunity to promote disengagement and discourage reprisals. The Department will work for dismantling of the royalist staging areas in Saudi Arabia. It will keep Embassy Cairo informed of progress, and the Embassy will relay such reports promptly to the UAR.

It may prove useful to send neutrals to Yemen to verify the disengagement. Lebanon seems the likeliest source of personnel qualified for such an operation. It would also be helpful if Badr could be induced to move out of the Peninsula.

Shortly after the Ambassador's return to Cairo, the Embassy will institute exploratory discussions regarding the modalities of disengagement.

US-UAR Economic Cooperation--There should be no substantial new commitments for the next year or two, while the UAR is digesting the Multi-Year PL-480 program. DLF credits should be accorded the UAR at the same level as in the past. The Department should continue to support the UAR's request for an Export-Import Bank loan for the purchase of Boeing transports, provided that a study now under preparation indicates that UAR operation of these aircraft would generate enough foreign exchange to meet the foreign exchange operating costs and service on the debt. Such a transaction would markedly increase the UAR's technical, industrial, and political involvement with the West. NEA places more importance on the Boeing loan than on the Diesel loan.

In its continuing effort to observe the progress of the UAR's economic development program, NEA favors a visit to Cairo by Dr. Edward Mason in February, will carefully consider the IBRD mission findings, and proposes to send Mr. Walt Rostow to Cairo once the IBRD findings are in.

It was agreed that the US Government could not exert any appreciable effect on general UAR policy by imposing delays in its aid program.

The Embassy should continue to seek the conclusion of an investment guarantee agreement with the UAR.

US-UAR Diplomatic Relations--NEA and the Embassy will begin at once preparations for a possible presidential guest visit to the US by President Nasser. The possibility of a visit by Governor Williams in the late spring of 1963 to consult with Nasser on US and UAR interests in Africa is also under consideration.

Israel--By renouncing missiles, the UAR could keep the Middle East out of the missile race. By accepting Soviet-made missiles, the UAR makes it necessary for the US to offer defensive missiles to Israel. The resultant entry of the Middle East into the missile age will make the Arab-Israel hostility that much more dangerous and the UAR's cooperation with the United States that much more difficult. Arms limitation would be a useful item on the agenda of a meeting between the President and Nasser. The Polk study/2/ would be a good introduction to the subject.

/2/Reference is to a paper by William R. Polk of the Policy Planning Council entitled "The Palestine Problem: The Next Phase," dated December 3. (Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 69 D 121, Near and Middle East) An extract is included in the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

The US should continue to seek to avoid confrontation with the UAR on the question of Palestine. Such a confrontation is threatened by the proposal to link US financial support with the substantial Israeli reservoir of technical skills for the benefit of the emerging states in Africa. NEA and the Embassy will continue to collect data to determine which factors are over-riding, the advantages of this program for Africa or the dangers it presents for the United States' relations with the Arab states.

While there is no hiding from the Arabs the strength and enduring quality of the United States' relationship with Israel, announcements of US economic or military aid for Israel might be least upsetting to our relations with the Arab states if made in low key, as a matter of course, and outside the context of domestic US politics.

US-UAR Cultural Relations--NEA approves the American Research Center's plan to expand its operations in Cairo.

It would be desirable for a prominent American to go to Cairo to officiate at the opening of the projected new cultural center.

Correspondence Between [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]--This channel of communication should not be an invariable concomitant of our relations with the UAR, but it is useful from time to time for the purpose of conveying to the UAR sensitive material such as intelligence estimates.


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

Washington, December 22, 1962.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 12/22/62. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "Ret'd frm Mrs. Lincoln 1/9/63."

Here are the papers bearing on Golda Meir talk at 10 a.m. on 27 December. This talk could be critical in setting the future tone of US-Israeli (and to a great extent Arab-Israeli) relations, which will pose recurrent knotty problems throughout your Administration.

Therefore, I'm sending the papers down early in the hope that you can look at them beforehand. As State's powerful memo (Tab A)/2/ brings out, our policy to date toward Israel has been one of all give and no get. We need in our own interest to bring more balance into this relationship, and now (just after the 1962 elections and the Hawk offer) is the time when we can exert the maximum leverage on Israel at minimum political cost.

/2/Reference is to a Scope Paper, prepared by the Department of State in preparation for President Kennedy's meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Meir. The Department of State transmitted the Scope Paper to the White House, together with proposed talking points, a paper outlining a U.S.-Israel "Package Agreement," and a biographic sketch of Meir, under cover of a December 21 memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy. (Ibid., 11/23/62-12/21/62; also in Department of State, Central Files, 033.84A11/12-2162)

There will be some cost, however, and the key point on which you must base your decision is whether there is sufficient to be gained from pressuring the Israelis to justify even this. For example, there are so many ways in which a refugee initiative could come unstuck even if we gained Israeli acquiescence in a modified Johnson-type approach that I'd still give it only a 50/50 chance of success at best.

Nonetheless, I see two strong arguments for a tougher line toward Israel. First, movement toward Arab-Israeli settlement would be so much to our interest (and Israel's) as to justify the effort. Second, even such movement will be interspersed with yet further flare-ups in which our restraining influence will depend largely upon both Arabs and Israelis regarding us as tough as well as fair-minded. Only if we can convince the Israelis we mean business will we be able to restrain them when necessary; only this in turn will give us the necessary leverage to do the same with the Arabs (at Tab B is a longish memo developing this argument in detail)./3/

/3/Tab B is the Talking Points prepared by the Department of State; not printed.

State may have too big a menu for you to take up with Golda. The meeting would be a success if you got across that in return for our aid we expect: (1) greater reciprocity on Israel's part; (2) Israeli collaboration in a refugee effort involving some repatriation, and standing some chance of Arab acceptance; and (3) greater Israeli cooperation with UN peacekeeping machinery.

At Mac Bundy's urging, Phil Talbot and I will come down to Palm Beach for the talk. I hope you could spare a half hour Wednesday afternoon so Phil and I could join Mike Feldman in airing these issues in advance./4/

/4/President Kennedy's Appointment Book does not indicate that such a meeting took place. (Kennedy Library) Briefing papers prepared for Talbot from Strong, December 21, and Davies, December 24, are in Department of State, Central Files, 611.84A/12-2162 and 325.84/12-2462, respectively.

R.W. Komer


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

Taiz, December 22, 1962, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-2262. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, Jidda, London, and Beirut.

240. Presented confirmation US recognition YAR to Baydani December 20.

Principal points ensuing private conversation follow:

1. I strongly and repeatedly stressed importance restraint Sallal and other YAR leaders as well as Sanaa Radio in public statements, saying inflammatory propaganda could have adverse effect on future course US-YAR relations. Baydani mentioned violent attacks by Mecca Radio against YAR and said he would be willing order Sanaa Radio moderate anti-Saudi line for 5 days and cease campaign entirely if Radio Mecca reacted by softer line. I said this unrealistic, as 5 days too brief period to permit informing SAG of YAR intentions; furthermore, behooves YAR adopt statesmanlike attitude rather than engage in "chicken or egg" controversy based on reciprocity principle. I added perpetuation propaganda battle jeopardizes prospect success disengagement process contemplated in President Kennedy's message as next step after US recognition. Baydani asserted that, despite statements made for psychological effect, YAR fully intends fulfill all promises he had made to me during past month of negotiations.

2. Baydani asked whether I had anything to propose along line moralities [modalities] disengagement, e.g. meeting of representatives countries involved. I replied in negative but said I available discuss any YAR ideas on subject as mentioned President's message.

3. In response enquiry re raising level US-YAR representation I replied our Mission would become an Embassy "in due course"./2/ Further pressed re timing I said I not aware Department's thinking, but assumed change might occur when I replaced by Resident Chief of Mission; also, time factor might be affected if YAR requested accreditation of Ambassador to US.

/2/The Legation in Taiz was raised to Embassy status on January 28, 1963.

4. Re PL-480, I replied as instructed this under consideration. In reply his question I said he could so state publicly although it generally preferable avoid public discussion any US activities until definite decision reached.

5. Baydani reverted to subject US loan. I made clear YAR should not expect budget-support type credit and emphasized our lending agencies required thorough advance study establish fact project suitable and would result in sufficient economic benefit permit servicing of loan. He stated project YAR has in mind is Wadi Sirdud development, including sugar production. I said we would be glad study how we might be of help on this project and others within limits resources available; I emphasized, however, our present projects must be placed on efficient and cooperative operating basis before any new activity undertaken. I undertook ask AID/Y Director with key members staff proceed Sanaa in near future discuss all phases US aid program with him and other appropriate YAR officials.

Comment: Baydani is incorrigible publicity hound and prone distort facts and some elements foregoing conversation reached radio and press media in unrecognizable form.



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

Washington, December 24, 1962, 6:07 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.11/12-2462. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Jones, Seelye, and Badeau on December 21; cleared by Slater, Tonesk (U/PR), Swank (S), Komer, McGhee, Hooper (AFN), and Strong; and approved by Talbot.

650. Verbatim Text. You authorized convey Nasser orally following message from President Kennedy:/2/

/2/On December 21, in a memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, the Department of State proposed that Badeau deliver an oral message from President Kennedy to Nasser upon the Ambassador's return to Cairo and transmitted a proposed text to the White House. (Ibid., 786H.11/12-2162) Komer made several changes in the text, cleared it with Talbot, and sent the revised version to President Kennedy in Palm Beach, Florida, with the report: "All substantive points raised by President have been covered but I've tried not to make message too long. Moreover, nothing in it which seems to be politically sensitive here." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab /Republic, Nasser Correspondence)

"1. I should like to reciprocate the friendly greetings which Ambassador Badeau conveyed to me during my recent meeting with him in Washington. I am pleased at the pattern of frank exchanges of views that has increasingly characterized our relations. I regard the very substantial aid we are providing the UAR as a token of our serious intent to establish a new and more constructive relationship between our two countries.

2. Therefore I feel I can speak frankly when I say that I set great store by the international effort, in which we have both been engaged, to reach an understanding among the parties involved in the current conflict in Yemen. I am confident that your government will cooperate fully with any impartial agencies that may be designated to verify the disengagement and withdrawal process. As you know, the conflict has affected our vital interests in Aden, the Persian Gulf area, and throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and I welcome the earlier affirmations of your government that it recognizes these interests. I hope that we can work together to encourage the new Yemen Arab Republic to give special attention to fostering political and economic stability in its territory and to establishing peaceful and friendly relations with its neighbors.

3. I am also gratified by UAR recognition of the need for orderly progress in a context of political stability in Saudi Arabia. I hope that we both will make every effort to create an atmosphere conducive to a reconciliation between the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia. As the US has made clear in the past, we stand fully behind the integrity of Prince Faysal's regime.

4. Ambassador Badeau has conveyed to me your government's interest in restoring tranquility in Algeria and in helping its economy. As you know I have long taken a special interest in Algeria and I share your judgment that the success of the Algerian Government in its efforts to bring stability to this key country is very much in the interest of both our nations. We are already providing several tens of millions of dollars in hard relief aid to Algeria, and intend to provide other appropriate help. In turn I hope that you will use your influence with the Algerians to encourage them to pursue policies which will enhance our ability to be of such help.

5. We stand with you on the position of principle that the UAR has taken at the Colombo Conference in opposition to the acquisition of territory by armed force. I believe that a similarity of outlook on this and many other issues has created a community of interests which argues well for the success of our cooperative endeavors."



121. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Palm Beach, Florida, December 27, 1962, 10 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 784A.13/12-2762. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Talbot and approved in the White House on January 18, 1963. A summary of this memorandum of conversation was sent to certain posts in circular telegram 1168, January 4, 1963. (Ibid., 611.84A/1-463)


Conversation with Israel Foreign Minister Meir

The President
Foreign Minister Golda Meir of Israel
Ambassador Harman of Israel
Myer Feldman, Deputy Special Counsel to the President
Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary of State for NEA
Robert Komer, White House Staff

Initiating a 70 minute discussion, Foreign Minister Meir said she brought greetings to the President from the Prime Minister of Israel. All the people of Israel, she said, have been watching with joy what the President has been doing, especially the way in which he handled the Cuban crisis. Israel saw it not just as a Cuba-US issue but as a big problem affecting the world, and is delighted at the way it came out.

Israel, she continued, has never questioned whether it should be in the free world. Its path is clear. Thus it appreciates US actions and has gained much encouragement from American concern with its security and from American friendship and understanding. She was glad that this talk was taking place after the meeting of the General Assembly, and would like to convey to the President the Israeli feelings about their area and their neighbors.

She is not really surprised when people do not see Israel's security problems as the Israelis do, Mrs. Meir said, but she does ask that others try to understand Israeli views. Israel is not anti-Arab. From the beginning it has been Israel's desire to live at peace with the Arabs. There is an identity in the kind of developments the US and Israel would like to see in the Middle East, i.e. each wishes an area in which every country is independent, free of fear and free to concentrate on its own development. Israel is sometimes called the only democratic country in the Middle East. Israelis would like to see all the countries in the area both democratic and rapidly developing. Their region should be one of cooperation among the countries for the common good. The area is underdeveloped, but Israel believes that it has possibilities and that Arabs would not suffer from cooperating with Israel in the direction of development.

Israel is perfectly prepared to live within its present borders. It doesn't want more land; it doesn't need, for example, Jordanian sand. On Israel's borders are four Arab countries. Israel has never had real trouble with Lebanon. Cows occasionally wander over the border from Lebanon and are sent back. Girls in the Israeli army may get lost and wander across the Lebanese border, but they are very politely returned. None of the incidents are serious. The Jordanian border was for years the scene of fierce actions, but it has been quiet for several years now. There are, it is true, some incidents. For example, two Israeli policemen were shot last year. But when the Jordanian commanders in the area were transferred, Israel knew that Jordan did not want trouble. There was also trouble with the Jewish cemetery on the Jordanian side. Israel tried in every way not to give this too much publicity, and hopes to be successful in the settling of this matter too.

The Syrian border, however, is different. Israeli agricultural settlements lie in the valley, with the Syrian Army posted in the hills overlooking them. The Syrians sometimes open fire on these settlements. On a visit Mrs. Meir had made to one of the settlements two years ago, she found every house hit by shells. This kind of action forces the Israeli Government either to tell its people to evacuate the area or to declare its responsibility for their security. Finally, the Egyptian border has been somewhat different since 1956 than before, but Israel knows that the Fedayeen are being trained to attack Israel either directly from Egypt or round-about across the Jordan border. This, as anyone could see, is a dangerous situation.

With respect to Egypt, Mrs. Meir said that she believes, quite objectively, that Israel has been prepared for anything and everything that might make it possible to talk with Egyptian leaders about their common problems. She herself has tried repeatedly. In 1956 a woman in the Pakistan Delegation at the UN was willing to make an approach to the Arabs to get them to talk privately to Mrs. Meir, but it came to nothing. On another occasion, the head of the Burmese Delegation had a try. Regrettably, there has so far been no result. Then there is the question of arms preparations in the Arab countries, especially in Egypt. Israel knows that the Egyptians have been getting more arms from the Soviets lately, especially since the Yemen fighting began, but generally since last March. Israel has seen that Soviet-supplied TU 16s have been able to fly from Egypt to Yemen, drop bombs and fly back to Egypt. If they can do that, what could they do to Israel? Israel knows that Egypt has, with German help, been building ground-to-ground missiles since 1960. Now Israel has learned, as it didn't know one or two months ago, that the Egyptians are making preparations for radiological warfare. The warheads are to be filled with materials that would contaminate the land for years and years. It seems that if the refugees can't come back, the Egyptians think that at least the land should not be available to Israelis. Now Israel has information that Egypt has established a secret budget of $220-250,000,000 for work of about four years or so on this. There is, of course, nothing in the official Egyptian budget on this item nor what the Egyptians get from Russia. Israel also has the problem of its sea frontier, considering the number of submarines that Egypt has. Egyptians say that Israel breathes through only one border--the sea border--since the land borders are taken care of. Maybe this is only Arab talk, but the talk could mean something.

This, Mrs. Meir continued, is how the people of Israel live. The Israelis are not a frightened or panicky people, but they are very conscious of their security problems. If Mr. Rowan says (in the General Assembly debate) that Arabs are not convinced of Israel's peaceful intentions, this sort of statement may be "objective", but Israel cannot be "objective" on this matter.

In the Middle Eastern area, she continued, things are not static. She held no brief for the old Imam of Yemen and does not know what the young one would do if he had power. The revolutionary change in Yemen could be a positive development--if it were allowed to happen only for the good of the people and not to throw off one yoke merely to take on another. Israel did not think it right that Nasser should have forced Syria into a union with Egypt, either. There is a constant shadow of Nasser's ambitions in the Middle East. Nor does he work alone. Since Yemen he has gotten more arms from Russia. Israel knows what he has done in Africa, e.g., in the Congo and Ghana. Israel is also represented in Africa, and Nasser is always saying that Israel is the forerunner there of American and British imperialism.

Then, Mrs. Meir went on, there is the refugee problem. She asked the President to understand that Israel wants to see this problem solved. In 1949 it had said it would take up to 100,000 refugees back. Even though there was no peace, close to 40,000 came back. There are 230,000 to 240,000 Arabs living in Israel, about 11% of the population. Not all of them are peaceful citizens. For example, as development programs go forward peoples' houses sometimes have to be moved for new roads or other facilities. Although no one likes his house to be destroyed, Jewish citizens accept it even if they don't like it. But a few months ago when a new road was to be cut through an Arab village, there was a quite different reaction. We were accused of taking something away from the Arabs. They said they would put their women and children right in front of any bulldozers brought in. This is the sort of line they always take.

The question is this: even if Israel is to accept a very small number of Arabs, for what purposes would they be coming in? In the United Nations the Arabs repeat frankly and openly for hours and hours the one refrain that Israel has no right to exist and must disappear. This is the situation. Israel knows about Arab plans to bring Arabs back to Israel and then to make an Algeria out of Israel. They would create difficulties within the country; then when the Israeli Government would do what any state would have to do under the circumstances, the Arab countries would come to the help of these returning Arab refugees.

The Government is Israel has two responsibilities, Mrs. Meir said. On the one hand it is responsible for the security and welfare of the people. But in this generation the leaders of Israel have another responsibility. Twice before in history there has been Jewish sovereignty, but both times the country was occupied and the people dispersed. This generation has tried for the third time to establish a sovereign state, and this could be the last time. The whole world remembers what happened in Europe. In World War II Eastern Europe held the reservoir of people to come and make a fresh start in Israel. Who knows what will happen to the three or three and a half million Jews in the USSR? They may never get out. If something happens again so that the Jews are dispersed from Israel, this could be the last time. That is not a happy idea.

These, Mrs. Meir concluded, are the problems of Israel. She, of course, recognizes that the President's position causes all sorts of people to put their problems on his shoulders. Israel does this too. The United States has taken on the responsibility for the free world. Israel is part of the free world, and it is American interest and concern that have made it possible for Israel to bring its problems to the President.

In response the President said that he appreciated Mrs. Meir's full statement. In considering the problems of the world we should think of the future and especially of the next year or two. Her last point was particularly important: the burden which the United States carries for the free world. No other country carries the same responsibility for distant countries, for Korea, South Vietnam, India and Pakistan, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Our concern is in maintaining the balance of power in the interest of the free world. This is why we find ourselves involved in issues between the Somalis and Ethiopians, Indians and Pakistanis, Cambodians and Thais, and so many other disputes which are not part of what we see as the central struggle, i.e. the struggle of free peoples against the Communist Bloc.

The United States, the President said, has a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East really comparable only to that which it has with Britain over a wide range of world affairs. But for us to play properly the role we are called upon to play, we cannot afford the luxury of identifying Israel--or Pakistan, or certain other countries--as our exclusive friends, hewing to the line of close and intimate allies (for we feel that about Israel though it is not a formal ally) and letting other countries go. If we pulled out of the Arab Middle East and maintained our ties only with Israel this would not be in Israel's interest.

To be effective in our own interest and to help Israel, the President continued, we have to maintain our position in the Middle East generally. Our interest is best served if there is a group of sovereign countries associated with the West. We are in a position then to make clear to the Arabs that we will maintain our friendship with Israel and our security guarantees.

Looking ahead 12 months, the President said, we see many problems. In the Yemen crisis, we went ahead in order to try to lessen the impact of the fighting on Saudi Arabia and the risk that a pro-UAR regime might take over in Saudi Arabia. We know that the Saudi Arabian Government is not the best in the world from your point of view, but this seemed an action in your interest.

The President continued that in the next two years or so he could see further problems arising which will put strain on United States' efforts to maintain good relations with Israel and with the Arabs. One of these is the Jordan waters issue. The United States has already given Israel some assurances on this, but the Arabs are going to be anxious. Another is the maintenance of order on Israel's frontiers with the various Arab states. The United States feels that greater use should be made of the United Nations to meet these problems, whereas Israel probably thinks that the UN actions are too slow. Last spring the US took a view which we knew was unpopular in Israel; we took it in order to maintain our position in the Middle East. The third area of likely strain is the question of the refugees; the fourth may arise when the Hawk missile starts coming in. All of these are going to be problems for us, costing us something.

We know that Israel faces enormous security problems but we do too. We came almost to a direct confrontation with the Soviet Union last spring and again recently in Cuba. Indeed, three or four times in the past year there has been a situation which could easily have been built up into a direct collision with either the Soviets or the Chinese. Because we have taken on wide security responsibilities we always have the potential of becoming involved in a major crisis not of our making, e.g. in the event of a coup in Iran or of the Sino-Indian affair. Our security problems are, therefore, just as great as Israel's. We have to concern ourselves with the whole Middle East. On these questions--of water, of the UN role and reprisals, of refugees and of missiles (though that is not exactly similar to the other matters)--we are asking the cooperation of Israel in the same way that we are cooperating with Israel to help meet its needs. Israel doubtless thinks of itself as deeply endangered--if the Arabs come up with skilled manpower and if they threaten Israel--and Israelis have a tremendously deep patriotic sense. Our position in these matters may seem to be asking Israel to neglect its interests. The reason we do it is not that we are unfriendly to Israel, but in order to help more effectively. I think it is quite clear that in case of an invasion the United States would come to the support of Israel. We have that capacity and it is growing. Also, the United States is helping Israel economically. We would like now to see if we can make some progress on refugees and maintain our friendship with Israel without constantly cutting across our other interests in the Middle East. When Israel takes actions in these matters, we hope it will understand our problems as well as its own.

Mrs. Meir said that Israel welcomes the growing US influence in the Middle East because it will help the Middle East in a way that is friendly to Israel. But she might give an example of what happens with the UN and shooting incidents. When Syria resumed shooting early in December Prime Minister Ben Gurion called in General Von Horn two days later. Von Horn told the Prime Minister that his observers had not yet finished their report; then he took another four days to visit Damascus. If the matter had been handled properly, he should have himself informed the Israeli Government immediately that all necessary steps were being taken without delay and he should have gone to Damascus without Israeli prodding.

The President responded that he did not know the details of this particular case. His central point, however, was that the United States is interested in the security of the free world and is trying to assert its influence in this direction. There are gambles involved in all our programs. In the Middle East we have the twin problems of being historically and obviously associated with Israel and, especially in this Administration, building on that association through our actions with respect to the Jordan waters, Hawks, and aid, while at the same time we have other responsibilities in the Middle East. Israel, the United States and the free world all have difficult survival problems. We would like Israeli recognition that this partnership which we have with it produces strains for the United States in the Middle East.

When Israel takes such actions as it did last spring, whether right or wrong, those actions involve not just Israel but also the United States. We are being asked to understand by Israel. By the same token we believe that Israel should consider the interests of the United States. Because of its ties with the United States, Israel does not have to depend wholly on its own efforts for security, but on the United States as well.

When we discuss these problems, the President added, he would hope Mrs. Meir and the Prime Minister would recognize that we on our part have tried to work out a good relationship and that Israel should do the same. We would hope Israel could proceed in such a way as to lessen collisions between us.

Mrs. Meir asked the President to believe that the overwhelming majority of Israeli people never have doubts about the position of the U.S. vis-à-vis Israel. Israel has a double security problem. It is part of the free world and it also is involved in a private war. When Syria shoots at Israeli villages there are mothers and children there. The Government must tell them that they will take care of their security.

As to the refugee problem, Mrs. Meir asked the President to recall that in his talk with the Prime Minister in the spring of 1961 the latter had not argued with the President's ideas. He had said he was not sure that the U.S. would succeed in these efforts, but they were worth a try. Israel still stands where the Prime Minister had at that time said it stood, and still supports what the President said at that time.

The President noted that obviously Israel cannot accept a flood of refugees. The Arabs have their troubles too. Maybe no compromises are possible. But he did not think we should give up on refugees. They are costing the United States money and they cause great damage to the prospects of peace. What we were trying to put together may have been impossible. Israel needed reassurances. The Arabs obviously could not make advance commitments. Our judgment, however, was that the great majority of refugees would resettle. We had not made any progress on the Johnson Plan and that is gone. But we should keep trying. He is not convinced that it is impossible. The fact is that if we don't get a settlement we face an almost impossible position. It is like the Kashmir dispute; a settlement might seem impossible to achieve, but is equally impossible to let this dispute run on and blow up.

This country is really interested in Israel, the President said, as he is personally. We are interested that Israel should keep up its sensitive, tremendous, historic task. What we want from Israel arises because our relationship is a two-way street. Israel's security in the long run depends in part on what it does with the Arabs, but also on us. He would hope, for example, that Israel would give consideration to our problems on this atomic reactor. We are opposed to nuclear proliferation. Our interest here is not in prying into Israel's affairs but we have to be concerned because of the over-all situation in the Middle East.

Mrs. Meir reassured the President that there would not be any difficulty between us on the Israeli nuclear reactor. She also said she wanted to suggest that at least the first one or two talks in the new round of US-Israeli discussions about the refugees should be held in Israel. This would permit participation in the talks by the Prime Minister who could bring to them his full authority. How helpful it would be, she went on, if only the Arabs would agree to follow the President's proposals on refugees. Indeed, it might be helpful if there were a possibility of getting Israeli representatives together with Egyptian leaders for talks which could be held anywhere, just to have direct discussions about their common problems. We could be sure that the Israelis would not be the ones to reveal publicly any private talks.

The President thanked Mrs. Meir for coming to see him in Palm Beach. As she left she reiterated her hope that the beginning of the next round on refugees could be conducted in Jerusalem.


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

Washington, December 28, 1962, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-2862. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.

509. Policy. Greatly appreciate Department telegram 350./2/ Subsequent message gives report on present negative attitude Faisal and makes recommendations. Following points, however, are important to emphasize:

/2/In telegram 350 to Jidda, December 20, the Department of State told Hart that it was "delighted your skillful handling delicate discussions with Faysal re US recognition YAR. We expect him resist doggedly your efforts obtain Saudi disengagement from royalist cause, but have full confidence your persuasive powers eventually reconcile him to our actions and induce more flexible approach to termination external intervention in Yemen. Any ideas on what we might do from here to help will be welcome." (Ibid., 786H.02/12-2062) Hart reported on his conversation with Faysal in telegram 487 from Jidda, December 19. (Ibid., 786H.02/12-1962) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

1. From beginning we have no commitment or suggestion of commitment by Faisal to support President's withdrawal and disengagement plan. He did not see this plan in advance of issuance to parties and took particular umbrage its issuance to Sallal and not Badr. He resisted it emotionally and suspects truth that it was pre-arranged with Nasir although I have never admitted this even by implication. He clearly feels that he is in no way bound by it. As he stated to me November (Embassy telegram 401)/3/ "this is imposed on us".

/3/Document 101.

2. Department telegram 524 to Cairo/4/ makes clear Department did not intend allow SAG nor Jordanian objections to block plan.

/4/Document 99.

3. First intervention in Yemen was by UAR, not SAG or HKJ. Public assertions Cairo media that UAR only reacting to prior SAG or Jordanian intervention in sending troops to support YAR are contrary to chronology of events. UAR publicly promised military help before Al Hassan could arrive in Saudi Arabia and reverse King Saud's earlier decision against intervention. This promise and its remarkably quick implementation showing early preparation, may well have been factor swaying King. It surely affected Faisal's attitude while he still in US and has negated all my attempts to convey to him idea YAR not a puppet regime of Nasir constituting arm of pincer-movement against House of Saud.

4. Under these circumstances I was surprised to read in second and last paragraphs Department Circular telegram 1118/5/ that prior action by SAG was awaited before Nasir would be urged to withdraw any troops. Nevertheless, rather than comment on this at time of receipt, I felt best to determine more exactly what Faisal's reactions might be, since it was possible that he might see it in his interest to challenge Nasir to performance on withdrawal pledge by inviting an intermediary to inspect situation on both sides border. He has not done so and while I do not yet rule out future possibility he has said he will not withdraw support until all UAR troops out of Yemen. Further he adds he does not care whether these troops remain or stay in Yemen. He will play this his own way and for time being intends to feed fires of counterrevolution by all means short of dispatch of forces into Yemen. He has money, Belgian weapons are being imported and road is open to North Yemen. He is convinced Nasir is his implacable enemy and sees chance to strike back by an operation of attrition which will injure Nasir's prestige in Yemen, Egypt and Arab world in general.

/5/Dated December 19. (Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/12-1962)

If indeed UAR desire find some means for graceful disengagement in Yemen is growing, I suggest we reconsider suggestion Embassy telegrams 364/6/ and 401 that Nasir make first move by well-publicized withdrawal of significant segment of his forces, say one battalion of troops. I shall then go to Faisal with an argument I know in advance he will not accept on spot but which will give him pause for he will know world is watching.

/6/Dated November 11. (Ibid. 786H.00/11-1162)



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

Cairo, December 30, 1962, 11 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786B.11/12-3062. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Jidda, Amman, London, and Taiz.

904. Deptel 650,/2/ 655,/3/ 657/4/ and 660./5/ Nasser received me at 1900 hours tonight for hour's roundup of my recent trip to Washington with special emphasis on problems Yemen disengagement. In course of interview I

/2/Document 120.

/3/Telegram 655 to Cairo, December 27, instructed Badeau to make representations to the UAR Government concerning the return of Saudi and Jordanian military aircraft that had defected to the United Arab Republic. The telegram also contained a discussion of the legal basis for the prompt return of the planes. (Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5622/12-2762)

/4/Dated December 27. (Ibid., 786H.02/12-2762)

/5/Telegram 660 to Cairo, December 28, instructed Badeau to seek a commitment from Nasser to agree in principle to cooperate with a possible intermediary, who would be acceptable to all parties, for the purpose of effecting an early disengagement and withdrawal from the Yemen conflict. (Ibid., 686B.86H/12-2862)

A) Reported briefly on selected conversations in Washington including those with UAR Ambassador Kamel, Bowles, and reports on reception UAR Minister Sidky;

B) Presented Nasser with 16MM kinescope print of President Kennedy December 17 TV interview,/6/ which was most appreciatively received;

/6/Reference is to an interview with William H. Lawrence of the American Broadcasting Company. For a transcript of the interview, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, pp. 889-904.

C) Presented inscribed personal copy Bowles latest book;

D) Transmitted practically verbatim President Kennedy's oral message from reftel 650, leaving paraphrased "talking paper" on substance message for later perusal;

E) Discussed briefly Colombo Conference and prospects for acceptance modified UAR proposal;

F) Reviewed at length Yemen situation with special emphasis on problems disengagement.

On Colombo Nasser stated original UAR proposal had been leaked by Burma to Chinese who had forthwith turned it down. UAR then proposed modified version, which was now being presented to Indians, Chinese, Nasser believing both would eventually accept it in substance.

Re Yemen, I stressed American interest in and determination to further disengagement, stating this directly affected American interests since continuation or proliferation of military activity could well threaten stability of Saudi Arabia and cause direct American reaction. At same time disengagement very much in interest of YAR and UAR since Sallal Government not yet firmly established and Egypt paying considerable price for its military support. In view of this I urged possibility of disengagement be considered under two heading of immediate action and longer range activity.

As to immediate action I stated continued irresponsible statements from Nasser Said, particularly one made less than 24 hours after recognition by US of YAR, were doing great harm. Nasser Said was a known extremist on whom we have full dossier revealing unsavory past history of extremist connections and activity. Yet Sami Sharaf had informed Embassy within past week Nasser Said is "UAR man", and UAR is able to control him. This being true, I urged that Nasser Said be taken out of circulation immediately. President Nasser responded by saying he did not know whether or not Nasser Said was in fact "UAR man" and was surprised Sami Sharaf had made such a statement. UAR had not approved of earliest statements re Republic of South Arabia or later reiteration of same. However, he would look into matter since it was obvious these statements did not reflect UAR policy and would hurt UAR position.

Using above as springboard I elaborated on importance of public image created in west by injudicious statements, radio propaganda, and Presidential speeches of which Nasser's speech at Port Said last week was latest. Nasser immediately picked up the ball on Port Said speech and said while UAR had agreed in good faith to participate in disengagement, and intended so to do, he had made no agreement to stand silent in face of attacks upon him or UAR. Sheikh of Baihan, who is British backed, had publicly called Nasser a "son of a dog", and he could not let this pass without reply. I responded by saying USG understood UAR undertaking merely encompassed disengagement but public image created by political speeches and propaganda played an important role in determining public and Congressional attitude toward USG Arab-world policies. If YAR [UAR?] seeks fruitful relations with USG, including continuation of aid program let alone any increase of same, it is necessary to create image of moderate and responsible government. Whatever Presidential policy may be toward UAR, it is Congress that votes funds for aid and foreign policy programs and Senators follow closely all public and propaganda statements from Cairo. In this connection I mentioned adverse effect of Sallal's rocket rattling statements in Sanaa. Nasser stated according to his information Sallal had made no such statement. Fact is Yemen radio commentator describing parade had inserted rocket mention on own volition. I asked Nasser to furnish me with exact text of Sallal remarks, then said whoever had made statement, its effect was bad. Nasser admitted this but said UAR not able exercise complete control of YAR radio broadcasters or government speech makers.

My second suggestion for immediate action preparatory to disengagement was possibility of returning defecting aircraft to HKJ and SAG. On mention of this Nasser made long face but before he could object I outlined legal position as stated reftel 655, at its close handing Nasser paraphrased talking paper on subject. Nasser read this carefully, then said while no overt state of war existed between UAR-YAR and opponents, in fact war was going on. SAG is building up supplies of arms and technicians at staging bases for use after UAR troops withdrawn and under these circumstances it would be difficult to return aircraft. I urged matter be carefully considered since it would be an impressive earnest of UAR's seriousness in seeking disengagement, yet would not affect present UAR military position. I suggested it might be possible to obtain undertakings from SAG and HKJ that returned aircraft would not be used for further offensive purposes against UAR or YAR. I then urged this matter be given careful consideration and discussed further with me.

Re longer range disengagement activity, I raised question of verification by some intermediary as suggested reference telegram 660. Nasser admitted some form of verification probably necessary, since any UAR military withdrawal would be quite public whereas SAG flow of gold and arms could continue surreptitiously. I stated suggestions had been made for using either UN, selected Arab states, or US in intermediary role. There is no evidence contending parties are interested in UN and USG is not seeking intermediary function since nobody loves a verifier. Nasser's answer was to dismiss UN without comment and state there seemed little prospect of effective Arab action since UAR already under some criticism in Arab world for having accepted USG mediation in preference to Arab offers. He seemed vague as to how USG might fulfill verification role but said undoubtedly we were fully informed about activities in SAG since American pilots being used to fly Saudi arms to staging areas. He thought we already had enough information to satisfy ourselves, and therefore UAR, as to what, in fact, the Saudis are up to at any given moment. Upon my suggesting this matter should be discussed by him with his colleagues and then further discussed by me with Ali Sabri, he heartily concurred, noting, however, Ali Sabri is due to leave UAR for trip on January 10.

Comment: My appointment was originally set for evening December 29, but temporary illness forced me to cancel. Request reinstituted this morning, followed immediately by appointment for evening.

Nasser very earnest throughout whole discussion, avoiding immoderate statements but playing heavily familiar theme, "we only react", especially in regard to Port Said speech and radio propaganda. It will take prolonged discussion to make any headway on disengagement and I suggest absolutely essential to seek some minimum withdrawal gestures from SAG and less importantly HKJ that can be used as counterparts against any UAR initial action. Nasser warmly appreciative of President Kennedy message and also of opportunity to see Presidential TV film.



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

Washington, December 31, 1962, 1:21 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5486B/12-3162. Confidential; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow, cleared by Davies, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, London, Amman, and Taiz.

662. You should immediately contact highest available UAR authority (preferably Nasser or if unavailable Ali Sabri) regarding December 30 aerial attacks, presumed of UAR origin, on Nejran (Jidda Tel 516)./2/ You should state USG has repeatedly made clear importance it attaches to integrity Saudi Arabia and that it would consider any attack on that integrity as damaging to direct US interests. As UAR knows, USG has made and will continue to make every effort bring about peaceful settlement to Yemen conflict. In recognizing YAR USG went to considerable lengths to express confidence in peaceful intentions UAR and YAR Governments. If that confidence is now shattered by provocative attacks on Saudi territory, difficult see how policy of cooperation with UAR to which US attaches highest importance could remain unaffected.

/2/In telegram 516 from Jidda, December 31, Hart reported that Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Saqqaf, acting on Faysal's instructions, had conveyed to him the text of a cable reporting that an attack by a UAR airplane had taken place on Saudi soil in the Najran area near the Yemeni border. (Ibid., 786A.5486B/12-3162)

USG not unaware of problems which exist for UAR and YAR on Yemen-Saudi frontier. Urgent efforts are underway to find suitable intermediary with view to bringing about abatement of conflict. Such efforts compromised, however, unless UAR and YAR desist from further provocative activity. USG is similarly advising SAG to refrain from any retaliatory action tending escalate conflict. UAR public disavowal of intent to attack Saudi Arabia would be helpful. Department making parallel representations to UAR Ambassador./3/

/3/The memorandum of the January 2, 1963, conversation is ibid., 686A.86B/1-263.

FYI. Actions such as this and provocative UAR propaganda raising questions at high levels as to validity our policy toward UAR. Department now considering what overt gestures of support for Saudi Arabia can be taken. End FYI./4/

/4/Prior to receipt of this telegram, Badeau had emphasized U.S. displeasure and concern over the Nejran bombing incident during a conversation with Sami Sharaf on January 1. Sharaf had explained that UAR-YAR forces had executed the air strike, because the previous day military intelligence had learned that 15,000 Saudi-supported Royalist troops, armed with some heavy weapons including anti-tank artillery, were at Wadi Akeed in Najran area. Sharaf insisted that the YAR-UAR air chiefs had not ordered an incursion over the border or bombing of Najran. Following this conversation, Badeau received a telephone call from Talbot, evidently informing him of the telegram printed here. (Telegram 914 from Cairo, January 1; ibid., 786A.5486B/1-163)Badeau met with Ali Sabri the morning of January 2 and repeated his expression of U.S. concern. Sabri in response conveyed an official UAR statement that it was not UAR policy to undertake planned excursions across the Saudi border. He noted that the UAR would seek to avoid a repetition of the incident, but the forces near Najran were tribal groups that moved back and forth across the border, at the risk of further incidents. (Telegram 915 from Cairo, January 2; ibid., 786A.5486B/1-263)



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

Washington, December 31, 1962, 8:34 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5486B/12-1362. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye; cleared by Davies, Quinn (OSD/ISA) (in substance), and Padelford (NEA/NR) (in substance); and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, London, Paris for CINCEUR, Tel Aviv, Dhahran, and Taiz.

367. Jidda Tel 516 to Dept and Deptel 662 to Cairo./2/ Ambassador should convey to Faysal either through Saqqaf or directly grave concern with which USG views reported UAR attack Najran, indicating USG has made strong representations to UAR Ambassador Washington and has requested Ambassador Badeau make highest level demarche in Cairo. Assistant Secretary Talbot telephoned Ambassador Badeau upon receipt reftel with instructions express serious US concern, restate US interest in integrity Saudi Arabia, deplore additional difficulties placed in path US efforts abate conflict and stress adverse reaction USG official circles.

/2/See Document 124 and footnote 2 thereto.

Ambassador should emphasize to Faysal USG determination do everything possible to check spread of conflict and urge Faysal not be drawn into action which would enlarge conflict. USG would view with concern any possible SAG retaliatory measure and wishes Faysal clearly understand USG deadly serious in its intent prevent escalation Yemen conflict and get on with business of disengagement external forces in Yemen.

FYI. Assistant Secretary Talbot conveyed essence foregoing to Ambassador Khayyal December 31./3/ Khayyal stated Faysal had 4 requests of USG: (1) USG public declaration of support for SAG; (2) despatch of USAF planes to Saudi Arabia; (3) USG "support" in providing SAG with "necessary" military equipment (including, according Khayyal, AA guns and radar); and (4) US view re taking matter to UN Security Council./4/ Talbot stated USG would immediately examine 4 points and consider appropriate response. End FYI.

/3/The memorandum of the December 31 conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, 686A.86B/12-3162.

/4/On December 31 in Jidda, Saqqaf conveyed to Hart messages from Faysal posing these same four points. (Telegram 522 from Jidda, December 31; ibid., 786A.5486B/12-3162)

Ambassador should also acknowledge Dept's receipt via Ambassador Khayyal of Faysal's four requests, stating US proposes respond as follows: (1) if Faysal will release for publication text of President's October 25 letter, Dept will issue public announcement in Washington supporting integrity SAG along lines of letter; (2) subject Faysal approval, public announcement of planned USG-SAG military exercise in early 1963; (3) carry forward shipment of 30 caliber ammo (which subject earlier urgent SAG request) and process rest of arms order as expeditiously as possible; and (4) USG believes inadvisable take matter to UN Security Council at this juncture and believes best present course is through USG representations Cairo.

You may inform Faysal that his overt importation of war materiel for dispatch to Yemen could provide reason for UAR-piloted Yemeni aircraft to strike at supply depots in Saudi Arabia. The US has no intention of being drawn into hostilities between Saudi Arabia and the UAR nor as you pointed our to Azzam (Embtel 513)/5/ can US serve as "shield" protecting Saudi Arabia while SAG stokes fires of war by supplying weapons and ammunition to Royalists. You should again urge that such activities be suspended to permit us exert our influence in Cairo to get UAR military withdrawal under way.

/5/Telegram 513 from Jidda, December 29, reported on a December 27 conversation between Hart and Faysal, during which Faysal again reiterated his strong opposition to U.S. recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic. (Ibid., 786H.02/12-2962)



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

Washington, January 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B/1-263. Secret. Drafted by Barrow.


Rationale for UAR Policy

During Ambassador Badeau's recent consultations in Washington the Office of Near Eastern Affairs prepared a basic rationale reviewing major developments since Ambassador Badeau's 1961 consultations and discussing current major issues in our relationships with the UAR. (Tab A)/2/ The document was prepared on the assumption that difficulties to resolution of the conflict in Yemen or in effecting disengagement and withdrawal of UAR-Saudi Arabian forces would not be insuperable.

/2/Attached but not printed. Tab A is an untitled and undated 7-page paper.

Inflammatory propaganda from Cairo and Sanaa/3/ and an air strike against Nejran in Saudi Arabia have created new difficulties in resolving the Yemen conflict for which the UAR seems primarily responsible. An element of provocation was not entirely absent, however, in view of accelerated Saudi logistical support to the royalists, to continued British equivocation in recognizing the Yemen Arab Republic and a generally hostile attitude on the part of the British press and pressures against the YAR apparently being mounted by the Sherif of Beihan. Whatever the UAR's long-range intentions may be, we believe disengagement and withdrawal from Yemen (on the basis of recognition of the YAR) would serve the UAR's present interests and that thus there is reason to believe the UAR will cooperate on a reciprocal basis in effecting it, albeit it may be difficult to persuade them to make the first move. In his December 30 conversation with Ambassador Badeau,/4/ Nasser appears to have accepted in principle the concept of neutral mediation and supervision of withdrawal along lines first proposed by Crown Prince Faysal on November 13. We have been informed by a Nasser confidant that the UAR has drawn up a plan for withdrawal within 60 days. We recommend that a mediatory effort be undertaken as soon as Saudi and UAR assent can be obtained (Tab B)./5/

/3/On January 2, the Director for Intelligence and Research Thomas L. Hughes sent to Secretary Rusk an intelligence research memorandum (No. RNA-47) on "Factors Underlying the Nature of Current Arab Radio Propaganda." (Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B/1-263)

/4/See Document 123.

/5/Attached but not printed. Tab B is a paper entitled "Next Steps in Yemen as Related to the Nasser Visit to the United States."

We believe we have enough strings in our diplomatic bow to blunt or divert any UAR thrust that would impinge directly on major US interests in the Arabian Peninsula, in Israel or elsewhere in the area and that our fundamental long-term interests in the UAR and the desirability that we not appear to stand against reformist movements makes it important that we continue to try to pursue a middle course which would neither leave us standing rigidly on the status quo, as the UK has done to its detriment, nor acquiescing to UAR domination of other countries. Direct Western opposition to Nasser's program might provide the very issue to rally support to him, whereas Nasser, when left alone, has been notoriously unsuccessful in establishing any permanent hegemony over other states.

In advocating this middle-of-the-road policy we hold no brief for President Nasser or his policies and have no illusion that his objectives are or can be made to be consonant with ours. Our case rests essentially on the proposition that there is a better chance of keeping UAR policies and actions within tolerable limits by maintaining and where practicable increasing the degree of UAR involvement in the Western system, especially in the economic field. We continue to believe a personal confrontation between President Nasser and President Kennedy could be useful in moderating Nasser's actions.

There is some prospect that US-UAR involvement may grow beyond mere government-to-government relations. American private industry is beginning to show interest in participation in UAR economic development program. The UAR appears to be not only responsive but on the verge of a major policy shift toward seeking to increase the level of American private participation with the aim of eventually creating an alternative to dependence on US Government assistance. Early conclusion of the Investment Guarantee Agreement appears a likely first step in this process.

The Chairman of the Board of Koppers Company of Pittsburgh is proceeding to the UAR on January 5 to conclude a contract for the comprehensive management along vertical lines of the UAR steel industry. Representatives of the Pan-American Oil Company are enroute to revive discussions of a concession arrangement for exploration in the Western Desert. The Chairman of the Board of the Food Machinery Corporation of California (Fred Davies) and the President of the Bechtel Corporation (Steve Bechtel) have reportedly agreed to visit the UAR, at the invitation of the UAR Minister of Industry, for the purpose of exploring the possibility of American participation in a number of major industrial lines. The UAR Ambassador has instituted a series of contacts with Mr. Knapp of the Bank of America, with Mr. Knox of Westinghouse, with Mr. Farley of Coca Cola and others.

Thus, though we may have continuing problems with the UAR in respect of its area policies toward third countries, these in our view, should be viewed in the perspective of the demonstrable progress that has been made and is being made in our bilateral relationships, of the UAR's continued opposition to Communism and the gradual improvement in its international posture toward something like true neutrality as currently manifest in its attitude on the Sino-Indian conflict.

Closer relations with Nasser and the UAR may be a liability to our relations with Israel, a number of other Arab states, and often with our European Allies. Neither can we be unmindful of the problems created domestically. Nevertheless in comparing the US position in the Middle East now with what it was in 1957, and in giving improvement in relations with the UAR a deservedly prominent place in the strengthening process, there is every reason to believe that we are on the right track, and that it would be unwise to alter this course as a result of day-to-day oscillations and without far greater provocation on the part of the UAR than has thus far occurred.

We summarize our views as follows:

1) In power and size, the UAR is the most important Near Eastern state.

2) If the UAR were to direct its power against US interests, it could damage these seriously.

3) If we were to use our power against the UAR by withholding assistance or more directly, the UAR can turn to the countervailing USSR force. We would in effect be exposing our Near Eastern position to indigenous attack and facilitating aggrandizement of Soviet influence in the area.

4) Egypt's desperate need to progress economically, and its leaders' aversion to foreign, including Soviet, domination of the Arab area, afford a platform for a long-range effort to build confidence and to establish solid diplomatic strength in a key position.


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

Washington, January 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, Nasser Visit. Secret.


Rusk has concluded that we just can't announce a Nasser visit now,/2/ when his planes are bombing Saudis. So State favors holding off visit till spring, and in effect making it conditional on some progress toward Yemen disengagement.

/2/A note from Komer to Bundy, December 28, 1962, indicates that as early as that date, Rusk, because of concern expressed by Ambassador Macomber and Nasser's public statements, wanted to hold up issuing an invitation for the Nasser visit until after a meeting scheduled for January 2. (Ibid.)

We should clue JFK (should I write a note or could you mention on phone?). I'm afraid I see no alternative, though I fear this may put quietus on any Nasser visit. I still feel the long-term benefit from giving Nasser the Kennedy treatment would far outweigh the short-term flak it would create. So I hope we can keep visit open./3/

/3/On January 7, Komer wrote Kennedy concerning the invitation to Nasser: "I hope that you will agree to keep this prospect open, as the obvious short term disadvantages of a Nasser visit are to me far outweighed by the potential gains. A face-to-face talk with Nasser would permit you to clarify what we want out of our relationship in the only effective way. "Our Nasser policy has to be looked at as a long term investment; we cannot afford to leave the key Arab nationalist as an exclusive client of the USSR. Even in the short run I'd argue that, while we haven't had too much positive return from our UAR aid as yet, Nasser's actions and utterances would be far more painful if he didn't already feel some vested interest in good relations with us." (Ibid.)

Meanwhile Saudis are in a swivet over Najran bombing (which we're all convinced was a quite deliberate attempt to get Saudi aircraft ferrying in arms). Faysal is asking for US jets to protect him and for a public declaration of where we stand. State is proposing to: (1) press Nasser hard to apologize for "accident"; (2) get the UN to send its good Mideast man Spinelli to start talking disengagement; (3) offer a few US planes to Saudis if Saudis will back down on planes and mercenary pilots they're planning on using in Yemen. We're convinced that if Saudis bomb Sana, UAR will retaliate on Jidda, Riyadh, etc. and we'll have a real mess on our hands. We've got to forestall escalations of this sort.

So I'm plugging for a strong pitch to Nasser, who may think he has us in tow. Obviously he's trying to cow the Saudis into quitting in Yemen, but he's producing just the opposite result. I'd like to see us threaten him a bit (as I did last November) but State fears we may just make him sore. I may need your help; a few harsh words now may save our Nasser policy rather than wreck it.


/4/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.


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

JCSM-5 - 63

Washington, January 2, 1963.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1961, 9180/3100 (31 December 1962). Top Secret. On January 3, Gilpatric forwarded this memorandum to Ball under cover of a memorandum indicating: "I am in agreement with the views enumerated in paragraph 6 of the JCS memorandum. However, before implementation of any follow-on military action by the United States, I would hope the U.S. might secure prior action on the part of the Saudi Arabian Government to curtail its activities in support of the Yemen Royalists and thereby reduce the provocation for the bombing attacks." (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Arabia 1963)

Saudi Arabian-United Arab Republic Situation (U)

1. By memorandum dated 31 December 1962, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) requested the opinion and recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the nature and scope of possible US military actions which might be undertaken in support of US policy in the Saudi Arabian-United Arab Republic (UAR)/Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) conflict./2/

/2/Not printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1961, 9180/3100 (31 December 1962))

2. The objective of US policy in the YAR dispute has been disengagement of the UAR, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with subsequent independent development of the YAR and the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia. Based on diplomatic representation and public declarations by the governments of the UAR and YAR in consonance with this objective, the United States recognized Yemen on 19 December 1962. However, neither Saudi Arabia nor Jordan has agreed to proposals regarding withdrawal and disengagement. Najran has been a focal point for Saudi aid to the Royalists, and the current incident is a continuation of previous UAR/YAR action against forward Saudi bases.

3. The current Saudi Arabian-UAR/YAR crisis is characterized by fragmentary information and a complex interplay of political factors. There is no doubt that the outcome of the revolution in the YAR is interpreted by the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Jordan as a threat to their continued existence. While the most recent attacks upon Najran would appear to be unwarranted aggression, the circumstances are not entirely clear and are clouded considerably by Saudi action within the area and the emotional reaction of the Crown Prince. In such a situation it would appear that reconciliation of the existing situation would more likely evolve through application of political pressure rather than military action.

4. It is the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that active employment of US military forces should be undertaken only in the event that political measures fail to reconcile the existing situation and such employment is considered necessary to reinforce political actions in furthering US interests in the area. Implicit in any decision for a US military "show of force" must be recognition that subsequent military action may be required.

5. A current plan approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff provides for military action to support any US decision to intervene in the area. This plan envisions an initial show of force to deter aggressive acts and demonstrate US support for Saudi Government. Should aggression not be deterred, subsequent operations would be undertaken in conjunction with Saudi forces to defeat the aggressors and cause them to desist. Only that degree of force would be employed to ensure accomplishment of mission and preserve integrity of US forces. This plan provides in ascending order of magnitude, military measures ranging from a show of force by US Naval and Air Force forces to the conduct of operations including blockade, air defense, air support, interdiction of shipping supporting the aggression, and attacks against military targets in the UAR and YAR. Earmarked forces consist of one seaplane tender (command ship), two to four destroyers, one carrier task force, two tactical fighter squadrons, one refueling element, one composite reconnaissance element, plus airlift, security, support, and service units as required. Assuming advance warning of six hours, the tactical air contingent could be deployed and operational in Saudi Arabia 48 hours from the time the execution order is received. On the scene naval presence is contingent upon the location of naval ships at the time the execution is ordered. One destroyer of MIDEASTFOR is now in the Red Sea area and could be off the coast of Yemen in approximately 10 hours.

6. If a decision is made to commit forces, the following courses of action are recommended as progressive steps in the application of military power. Each measure should be fully exploited by diplomatic means prior to moving on to the next course of action:

a. A recommended initial "show of force" would be the introduction of a Composite Air Strike Unit consisting of about eight tactical fighters and two to four reconnaissance aircraft with necessary air refueling and support elements. This unit, comprising about 300 personnel, could be in Saudi Arabia in 36 hours, assuming a six hour tactical warning. One destroyer of MIDEASTFOR could visit Jidda as an additional "show of force."

Comment: This force would serve as evidence of US support for the Saudi Government and would probably deter further UAR bombing attacks on Saudi territory. Additionally, this small force could be injected into and withdrawn from the area easily without undue political repercussions.

b. In the event an additional "show of force" were deemed necessary, a Sixth Fleet carrier task force could reach launch positions for air operations in the Eastern Mediterranean in 18 to 24 hours. The balance of forces cited in existing plans would be alerted for commitment if the situation warrants.

Comment: This would provide additional evidence of United States intent in this situation as it would serve to bring pressure on the UAR itself.

c. Should these measures fail to achieve US objectives, the plan referenced in paragraph 5 above can be implemented.

Comment: This course of action goes beyond that considered desirable in the present situation. Should future events indicate that the US should implement this plan, the Joint Chiefs of Staff request the opportunity to evaluate the situation then obtaining and make further recommendations.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Curtis E. LeMay/3/

Acting Chairman

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


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

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 686B.86H/1-463. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow and Davies and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, Amman, London, and Taiz.

Washington, January 4, 1963, 8:31 p.m.

686. You should immediately approach Ali Sabri and state that Department hopes it will be possible get neutral intermediary to negotiate modalities disengagement on the scene./2/ However situation resulting from accelerated Saudi arms shipment on one side and continued UAR arms buildup and bombing attacks on Nejran from the other (which along with provocative UAR/YAR propaganda have aroused most serious repercussions here) makes it imperative that some urgent actions to reduce state of tension be taken even before intermediary arrives. Department making representations in Saudi Arabia regards cessation arms buildup Nejran (Deptel 374 to Jidda)/3/ but these are unlikely to be effective without immediate steps by UAR activate at least part of its withdrawal plan, e.g., by removal of tank units or other substantial gesture which would be convincing evidence of UAR peaceful intentions and good faith in carrying out commitments regarding disengagement.

/2/In telegram 1803 to USUN, January 3, the Department of State instructed the Mission to explore as soon as possible with Secretary-General U Thant whether he would be willing to make Spinelli available to act as a friend to the parties in developing disengagement modalities. (Ibid., 786H.00/1-363)

/3/Dated January 3. (Ibid.)

You should make strongest effort gain UAR agreement undertake this step. Additionally, it would be helpful our efforts obtain suspension Faisal's logistical support royalists if we could convey UAR assurance that on evidence suspension, it would proceed with drawdown its Yemen forces according to specific timetable.

Some evidence UAR good faith and Nasser statesmanship is essential this juncture. Such action would be especially timely while recognition of YAR by UK and number of other states under active consideration. Since YAR now recognized by USG and seated in UN, UAR move this nature would clearly be read by world public opinion as act of strength and confidence in stability new Yemeni regime.

UAR could also help situation immeasurably by cessation inflammatory propaganda specifically such reprehensible material as January 1 Voice of Arab Nation clandestine broadcast disavowing Yemen's commitments to Treaty of Sanaa of 1934 and inter alia asking Arab people "blow American influence out of Arabian Peninsula." Material totally at variance with UAR, YAR public and private assurances.



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

Washington, January 4, 1963, 9:13 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.54/1-463. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye; cleared by Davies, Quinn (OSD/ISA) (in substance), Cramer (OSD/ISA) (in substance), Padelford, Komer, and Davies (S/S); and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, Dhahran, and Taiz.

381. Ambassador Khayyal conveyed to Assistant Secretary Talbot on January 4/2/ following Faysal reactions to USG responses to Crown Prince's four earlier requests:/3/ He (1) agrees publish President's letter of October 25 providing USG makes similar release same day; (2) agrees hold joint US-SAG military exercise in Saudi Arabia soon as possible; and (3) desires expedite shipment US arms to Saudi Arabia.

/2/The memorandum of conversation is ibid., 611.86A/1-463.

/3/See Document 125.

Department intends inform Khayyal, and Ambassador may similarly inform Saqqaf, following: 1) USG agreeable simultaneous publication President's letter and proposes release January 7;/4/ 2) US military team scheduled arrive Saudi Arabia January 8 discuss timing joint military exercise and we recommend SAG concert with this team in its efforts arrange small-scale exercise later this month (however, Ramadhan may force postponement);/5/ and 3) USG doing what it can carry forward credit package arms shipments./6/

/4/In a January 4 memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, the Department of State recommended that the White House approve release of the letter at noon on January 7. Komer approved the release. (Department of State, Central Files, 786A.11/1-463)

/5/In circular telegram 1324, January 26, the Department of State informed posts that the United States and Saudi Arabia would undertake a modest joint military exercise in Saudi Arabia beginning in early February, with a mobile training team to remain in Saudi Arabia for 30 to 60 days. (Ibid., 786A.54/1-2663)

/6/On January 5, Komer confirmed in a note to Bundy that he had authorized publication of President Kennedy's letter to Faysal on January 7 "as part of our effort to reassure Saudis and warn off UAR." He concluded: "However, I am becoming a bit concerned lest we end up overcommitting ourselves to Saudi regime to extent we may not wish to make good on under certain circumstances. Will take this up with Talbot. It is also one reason why I favor stronger line warning Nasser off. It makes more sense to do this now, than to end up shooting at UAR later." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 1/63-3/63)



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

Cairo, January 9, 1963, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5486B/1-963. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Jidda, London, and Taiz.

959. Policy. Deptel 717./2/ From available intelligence it is now clear that UAR bombings in Saudi Arabia/3/ are deliberate and that "hot pursuit" explanation does not hold water. Bombings may be response to stepped-up SAG activity in supplying pro-Royalists and a worsening YAR/UAR military situation in Yemen. Equally important, however, in analyzing UARG's motives for these deliberate provocations we bear in mind that UAR had anticipated that along with YAR/UAR declarations of intent and US recognition of Yemen there would be an early if not simultaneous move by SAG to commence suspension of assistance to Royalists. We believe UAR bombings are designed to pressure the SAG to move rapidly towards cessation aid and/or to stimulate USG into increased efforts so to persuade SAG.

/2/In telegram 717 to Cairo, January 8, the Department of State requested Badeau's views on what the next steps with the UAR should be in view of recent bombings of Saudi territory. (Ibid., 786A.5486B/1-863)

/3/On January 8 in telegram 548 from Jidda, Hart conveyed another message from Faysal reporting that on January 7 Egyptian aircraft had bombed Najran three times. (Ibid.)

On these assumptions we have canvassed possibilities re courses of action.

Measures the USG can take alone.

I should convey to Nasser personally warning I gave to Fawzi today (Embtel 951)/4/ that any repetition of bombings will result in positive response by USG. We need not at that time identify to UARG precise nature of response.

/4/In telegram 951 from Cairo, January 9, Badeau reported on a 50 minute conversation with Foreign Minister Fawzi, during which Badeau conducted a full review of the Yemen situation, emphasizing the need for constructive UAR action to forestall a worsening of U.S.-UAR relations. (Ibid., 611.86B/1-963)

2. I am opposed to suspension or withdrawal of US economic assistance to UAR. I continue to believe that policy decided upon early in 1962 that US Government would maintain its economic undertakings to UAR even though there might be serious difficulties between us over problems arising in third countries is valid and to our long-term interest in this area. Suspension or refusal of aid was singular failure in 1956-58 as tactic to force Nasser to moderate his policies. Nasser's emotional reaction to what he considered USG endeavors to "humiliate" Egypt was major factor in anti-Western character of Nasser's policies during that period. With considerable belt-tightening and continued access to commercial sources of grain UAR could feed itself even if denied PL-480 assistance but only at expense of almost all of development program which cannot be in our long-term interest. It would undoubtedly drive UAR to seek to strengthen its ties with and to obtain increased economic assistance from USSR.

3. We favor presently planned (or stepped up) "display of US force" in support of Feisal including naval patrols of SAG Red Sea coastline north of Yemen frontier. For obvious reasons, I do not favor patrols in immediate vicinity YAR land or sea borders which might result in clash between UAR and US aircraft or vessels.

4. I have already suggested to Fawzi that US recognition of YAR might be placed in jeopardy. Withdrawal of US recognition would in turn imply passive if not active US support of Royalists in Yemen. Such an about-face would have a dramatic initial impact in Arab world but would be followed by accusations of vacillation in US policy, support of archaic discredited regime in Yemen, and would result in serious setback in development of UAR/US relations. Against this we would have made clear in unmistakable terms our support of Faisal as well as our conviction that UAR with YAR as agent is actively engaged in bringing about downfall of house of Saud, and our determination to prevent this. This appears to be drastic measure out of proportion to seriousness of bombing incidents themselves. I feel, however, that if our representations to UAR continue to be flouted, this or some other equally strong measure necessary to impress on UAR our determination to protect our interests in Arabian peninsula and we might apply this tactic by degrees with first step being suspension US aid to Yemen and withdrawal aid mission.

Measures requiring concurrence of others.

5. From USUN's 2626 to Department/5/ we gather pace of discussion at UN not such as to permit timely establishment informal UN machinery. We therefore recommend that we make immediate offer to Feisal to station US military observers at key points along SAG/YAR borders. Such observers would provide us accurate, immediate, and publishable information re UAR/YAR frontier violations and should have some effect of deterrence. They would also of course be in position provide information re SAG help to Royalists and, hopefully, exercise same deterrence on this operation. Faisal's response to such a USG offer should provide insight into his intentions re Yemen. Upon acceptance by Feisal of observers, USG would then press UAR and YAR to extend them full cooperation including access to Yemen territory and air space.

/5/Dated January 7. (Ibid., 786H.00/1-763)

6. Concurrently with above, we should continue our efforts to arrange specific acts of disengagement, a process begun with my talk to Fawzi this morning. We have suggested to UAR that it analyze first phases of its disengagement plan and productive offer to implement them against specific actions to be taken by SAG. The sooner we can get both sides engaged in such a bargaining process the better./6/

/6/On January 10, in telegram 776 to Cairo, the Department of State conveyed the following comments on the six measures proposed in telegram 959: 1) Concur; 2) concur but make clear handling of aid requests linked with UAR behavior; 3) concur; 4) preferable not to continue indicating possibility of U.S. withdrawal of recognition as only Yemen's loss of control over the country would precipitate such action; 5) while not ruling out possibility of U.S. observers, this subject should be left in domain of neutral intermediary; and 6) specific steps of disengagement should initially be the responsibility of the neutral intermediary, but discussion on the disengagement process should begin as quickly as possible. (Ibid., 786A.5486B/1-963)



132. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor)/1/

Washington, January 11, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Saudi Arabia, 1/63-3/63. Secret.

My scouts tell me that by today's State/JCS meeting/2/ you and your cohorts had become even more dubious about a token air deployment to Saudi Arabia, and are offering the Sixth Fleet instead.

/2/A memorandum of the substance of discussion at the State-JCS meeting held at the Pentagon on January 11 is in Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, State-JCS Meetings. Talking points prepared for the JCS prior to the meeting are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1961, 9180/3100 (31 December 1962).

I recognize the military concerns and contingent risks which rightly worry the Chiefs,/3/ but I hope they have in mind the essentially political rationale of this exercise. As I understand it, it is in fact designed to deter a form of escalation into larger inter-Arab war, which might really involve us in military deployments along the lines of the 1958 Lebanon affair. A token deployment under certain stiff conditions would serve this end by: (1) warning Nasser off from further bombing of Saudi territory; (2) reassuring Faisal as to Saudi security but at the price of requiring him in effect to abandon his covert support of the Yemeni Royalists. Unless both Nasser and Faisal stop misbehaving we may find ourselves in the middle of something more than a civil war in Yemen, one involving greater likelihood of Soviet meddling and greater pressures on us from both sides.

/3/On January 9, Sloan (OSD/ISA) telephoned Grant (NEA) to indicate that the Department of Defense could not agree to a proposed cable on the dispatch of U.S. air units to Saudi Arabia, because the JCS believed that the terms of reference for such a mission had not been sufficiently spelled out. On January 10, Komer informed the Department of State that President Kennedy would want JCS concurrence in any action. (Memorandum from Grant to Talbot and Strong, January 9; Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19 US-SAUD)

So my question is whether we could not accept a lesser risk of military involvement in an effort to avoid a greater. I would say that the odds are against Faisal accepting our terms in the first place, in which case we would get the benefit of the gesture without having to take the risk; (2) the odds are even higher against the Egyptians risking a clash with U.S. aircraft, with all this would imply; and (3) the odds are quite high against such an encounter leading to an air war between the U.S. and UAR--how could Nasser win this?

The Sixth Fleet force strikes me as at once too large a gesture and too vague to have bite at the point of impact. If Nasser feels he must react to the Fleet's presence and bombs Najran again, we surely would not bomb UAR airfields in reply. We would still have to send planes to Faisal or be paper tigers, after all our strong words to Nasser and reassurances to Faisal.

I gather the Chiefs also wonder whether this flea-bitten part of the world is one where we should get involved. I'm afraid we are involved here long since--even though it may have been a mistake in the first place. But remember oil.

There are risks either way, but the greater danger may be to do nothing, in a case where we have so much at stake. I think the President will want to hear argument if State and the military can't agree on how our strength should be used here.

McGeorge Bundy/4/

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

P.S. I am sending this to be on your desk early in the morning, with the thought that we might argue about it at one of our Saturday WH meetings./4/

4/On January 13 in telegram 408 to Jidda, cleared with the White House, Defense Department, and Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of State instructed Hart to inform Faysal that the United States was prepared to consider the prompt dispatch of tactical fighters to visit Saudi Arabia on a periodic basis. These could only be sent, however, if Faysal would give his word that Saudi Arabia would suspend all transportation and shipments of military equipment and ammunition to the Royalists and that no foreign pilots and aircraft be brought in for the Royalists via Saudi Arabia. For his information only, Hart was informed that these aircraft would not be employed against Yemeni or UAR forces unless they were directly engaged and needed to respond in self defense. (Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5486B/1-863)


133. Telegram From the Department of State to the Sana'a Office of the Legation in Yemen/1/

Washington, January 16, 1963, 6:52 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/1-1663. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Campbell; cleared by Seelye, Strong, Sisco, and Wallner; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, Jidda, and USUN. On January 28, the Legation at Taiz was raised to the level of an Embassy, with Robert W. Stookey serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim. Stookey occasionally traveled between Taiz and Sana'a to conduct official business with various Yemeni officials.

42. In discussing Yemen mediation mission with SYG,/2/ US has not spelled out for him our ideas on precise terms of reference of mediator. This was to be left initially to SYG. As far as Dept knows, SYG has not informed UAR, YAR, Saudi and Jordanian representatives precisely what he has in mind, although he has undoubtedly advanced some tentative and general ideas about how mediation would work.

/2/In telegram 24 from Sana'a, Stookey reported that, according to Baydani, U Thant had proposed to the Yemeni Representative at the United Nations to designate Spinelli as an intermediary who would establish a U.N. "presence" in Yemen. Baydani flatly rejected the principle of a U.N. Representative as mediator, because he feared this would turn Yemen into another "Congo." Stookey requested Department of State guidance on the terms of reference for the Spinelli Mission and whom Spinelli would represent. (Ibid., 786H.00/1-1463) Additional documentation relating to the proposal for a U.N.-appointed mediator for the Yemen conflict is ibid., 786H.00

Dept has been inclined to belief mediator should go to area without very rigid instructions, but with sufficient leeway to work out on spot best way (1) to obtain agreement for withdrawal all sides, and (2) to carry out and verify withdrawal. In Dept's view, mediation mission by SYG's representative should be in two phases: first, visits to capitals to obtain agreement and work out modalities of withdrawal verification, and secondly, to have a small staff group verify disengagement. While this is something for Spinelli to work out, our assumption is that in order for proposal to be acceptable to parties concerned Spinelli and staff would have to be able to operate both in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

You should at first appropriate moment counsel Yemenis that important thing is that neutral observer such as Spinelli may be able to bring about disengagement which YAR so ardently desires. They should therefore reflect on advantages to them of agreeing at least tentatively to principle of mediation by SYG's representative, and not out of hand reject such mission on basis of form.

As noted above, form mission will take still largely undetermined, but it expected mediator whether Spinelli or someone else will act as representative of SYG. Mediator would not operate as U.S. representative. You should therefore, as appropriate, make clear that mediator would not be President's representative.

For USUN. In addition to briefing SYG on points mentioned in Deptel 830 to Cairo,/3/ you should fill him in on Yemeni reaction as reported in Sanaa's USUN 1 since it also indicates serious misunderstanding of nature and purposes of SYG's mediation effort.

/3/Dated January 14. (Ibid., 786H.00/1-263)

For Cairo. View apparent UAR misconception as to what we support in way of mediation suggest you provide clarification to UAR.



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

Washington, January 18, 1963, 3:06 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5622/1-1563. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow on January 17, cleared by Talbot (in draft) and Little, and approved by Strong.

908. Embtel 1002./2/ For Ambassador from Talbot. View apparently differing perspectives of current situation Yemen as seen from different capitals might be useful recapitulate Department views as follows:

/2/Dated January 15. (Ibid.)

Department agrees UAR commitment conditioned on reciprocal action by other parties which so far lacking, and that thus UAR intentions not truly put to test. But by same token UAR has made reciprocal action vastly more difficult through a) obfuscating its public commitments by issuance diametrically opposite propaganda; b) continuing stream of invective against other parties; c) carrying warfare across Saudi borders in violation accepted international principles; d) violating pledged word to USG (per Jan 7 Najran bombings); e) continuing activities in Syria, Libya and elsewhere (of which everyone is aware and which cast doubts on UAR's desire exercise its considerable potential for leadership in constructive manner).

UAR appears take stance that by committing itself to program reciprocal disengagement and withdrawal from Yemen it doing USG a favor whereas USG formula allows UAR extricate itself from dangerously over-extended position on basis of legitimacy of YAR. It would be fitting therefore if UAR, rather than complaining about alleged USG lack of action in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would consider what steps it might itself take to facilitate results it says it desires.

Among actions Department has proposed, none of which would pose serious difficulties for UAR, are following:

1) Moratorium on propaganda warfare and termination subversive activity.

2) More moderate attitude toward UK to facilitate latter's recognition YAR.

3) Quiet contacts to reach accommodation with Faysal.

4) Cooperation with international or neutral intermediary through whom perhaps to be found best means of permitting Faysal disengage while saving face.

5) Symbolic withdrawal of military unit from Yemen without prejudice to UAR military position.

6) Return of defecting aircraft.

7) Abandonment of Nasser Said and his "Republic of the Arabian Peninsula".

Only on (7) above has UAR ostensibly taken action or even given USG courtesy of clear-cut response. Department leaves to your judgment manner in which these suggestions should be pursued but UAR should not be allowed to forget them or that it has a more important stake than the US in trying to find a solution to present impasse. We greatly disturbed by implication Nasser's remarks to Beeley that in response Saudi refusal suspend support royalists he contemplates renewed attacks on Saudi Arabia. This is not statesmanship.

Moreover we now have reports, thus far unconfirmed, UAR may contemplate further exacerbation of situation by declaring union with Yemen. We would not wish UAR to be under illusion that union under circumstances of large-scale external military intervention would conform to US criteria for free associations of peoples. Thus, without prejudice to ultimate right of Yemenis to choose their own course, USG would presently be forced oppose.

In elaborating foregoing Department mindful that it not in character of Egyptians to display awareness of their responsibilities or to accentuate the positive in their dealings with others.

Department does not expect Embassy perform miracles or achieve perfection. However we fear UAR may contemplate further rash actions, e.g. renewed attacks on Najran and Jizan, perhaps even before intermediary has chance to apply additional leverage to persuade SAG and Jordan suspend support to royalists. We would thus wish find means drive home to Egyptians how they spoiling their own case and would welcome suggestions regarding additional techniques doing so. Opposition to US policy toward UAR not only widespread and powerful, but is growing. Department considering advisability of a letter from President Kennedy to Nasser and requests your views.

Department has impression, perhaps erroneous, that there has been reversal in previously improving contact and dialogue between USG and UARG. Are there any further channels that should be employed?

Department open to exploring any helpful suggestions that might assist in untangling present snarl in US-UAR relations, and awaits further results your conversations and your views./3/

/3/Badeau responded to this telegram in telegram 1040 from Cairo, January 21. (Ibid., 686A.86H/1-2163) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.



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

Washington, January 19, 1963, 11:44 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/1-1963. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow; cleared by Strong, Rowe, and Komer; and approved by Rusk and Talbot.

931. Re Deptels 924/2/ and 930./3/ Corrected version of Presidential message to Nasser follows:

/2/Telegram 924 to Cairo, January 18, transmitted the original version of the message from Kennedy to Nasser contained in the telegram printed here. (Ibid., 786H.02/1-863) On January 18, in a memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy, the Department of State transmitted to the White House the draft text of a message from Kennedy to Nasser and requested the earliest possible approval. Brubeck's memorandum noted that the "anticipated" UAR rejection of the Secretary-General's proposal to send a neutral intermediary to discuss disengagement and withdrawal with the governments engaged in the Yemen conflict had produced a "difficult impasse." The memorandum advised that a message along the lines indicated would help dispel suspicion within the UAR while pressing it toward courses of action that the United States deemed desirable. (Ibid., 786H.02/1-1862)

/3/In telegram 930 to Cairo, January 19, the Department of State requested Badeau to hold up the delivery of the message pending the receipt of textual changes. (Ibid., 786H.02/1-1963)

Verbatim text.

"January 18, 1963

Dear Mr. President:

When you and I embarked upon what I think we both regarded as a mutually promising relationship, we agreed that it must be on a basis of utmost candor on both sides. Having followed closely the tortuous course of events in Yemen and the exchanges between our two governments, I fear that this affair has given rise to misunderstandings which, unless we personally speak frankly to each other, may prejudice our growing rapport.

When the United Arab Republic and the Yemen Arab Republic agreed publicly to undertake certain commitments, I was hopeful that a great advance had been made. Now, however, I sense some UAR suspicion that, because Saudi Arabia has not withdrawn its support from the royalists, the US may be pursuing a double policy in Yemen. I assure you categorically that this is not so. We have done and will do what is necessary to protect our important interests in the Arabian Peninsula, but this has been most carefully calculated not to support Saudi policies in Yemen.

Perhaps more serious is a possible UAR feeling that we ought to be able to force the Saudis to disengage in Yemen. Once again let me say that we have been urging Faysal in his own interest to do just this. You are well aware, however, that it is not the US method to bring forcible pressure on any Arab leader who is our friend. Nor would Faysal respond. At this moment he considers his policy toward Yemen as essential to maintaining the very integrity of Saudi Arabia. I am afraid that it is UAR and YAR words and actions that have helped persuade him to this effect. Indeed each time we have felt we were making some progress toward disengagement, such actions as the Najran bombings have set us back. I must tell you in all candor that, as seen from here, they serve not to cow Faysal but to anger him. In my view, this situation needs patience and the exercise of that statesmanship for which we and others have applauded you on earlier occasions.

Similarly, the UK hesitations about recognizing the YAR spring clearly from their concern over Aden. Recurrent threats uttered by President Sallal do nothing but heighten these fears, whereas I am convinced that words of reassurance would help bring about UK recognition. I earnestly desire UK recognition but I am not in a position to press the UK to recognize in face of unwise statements from Sanaa.

I believe that we have already given ample evidence of the sincerity of our interest in good relations with the UAR. Let no one doubt US good faith. Similarly we have made every effort to be sure our own interests in Aden and the Arabian Peninsula are understood by you. With full understanding on both sides, I see no reason why these interests need impede mutually satisfactory relations between us.

Let me assure you that we will continue our efforts to bring about disengagement in Yemen on a basis which will permit the new Yemen Arab Republic to live in peace with its neighbors. I hope the UAR and US can pursue this objective with mutual confidence and understanding. We need to find a formula which will provide Faysal with a public basis for disengagement. A suitable formula may best be found by an impartial mediator and I urge you to agree to such an effort. Ambassador Badeau can explain what I have in mind.

I hope that this letter will help clear the air between us. Many people in both of our countries question whether good relations between us are really possible. I think they are wrong, but it is up to us to prove them wrong. Sincerely, John F. Kennedy"/3/

3/In telegram 1038 from Cairo, January 20, Badeau reported that the corrected text of the message had been delivered to the President's office at noon that day. (Ibid., 786H.02/1-2063)



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

Washington, January 21, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 788.00/1-2163. Secret. Drafted by Bowling and Miklos on January 18 and cleared by Gaud (AID/NESA) and Grant.

Recent Changes and Opportunities in Iran

During recent months the Shah has launched and pushed with boldness and determination a reform program which is drastically and irrevocably altering the political situation and prospects of Iran. Much of the earlier context and background of Iranian politics has disappeared, and the political process has moved into a new background, with new forces operating within new parameters. Only the most general outline of the future can be predicted, for the Shah's politico-economic experimentation is without precedent.

The Shah has made a clean and irrevocable break with the traditional moneyed, land-owning, and religious elites on whom he relied so heavily in the past. He has by-passed the secular urban elite and almost alone, except for his dynamic Minister of Agriculture Arsenjani, a handful of civil-servants, and his security forces, has driven without hesitation or caution toward building the peasant masses into the fundamental pillar of a radically different and new Iranian society. This bold venture contains a unique array of dangers and opportunities for the Shah, his country and the Free World.

In early 1961 the United States faced a discouraging prospect in that strategic country. An ineffectual Shah, preoccupied with his international posture and fascinated by military equipment, branded as an American puppet, tied to reactionary traditional elites, led a nation caught in the classic squeeze between demagogic and neutralist oriented urban intellectual forces operating within and international communism pressing from just across its borders. An apathetic, poverty-ridden peasant and proletarian mass presented a rich target for would-be revolutionary agitators. Inflationary and balance-of-payment pressures threatened to liquidate gains achieved through a substantial, but haphazard economic development program. High-level corruption was widespread.

A new and positive U.S. course of action has emerged since early 1961. Steps were taken to head off the threatening financial crisis, to encourage the Shah to move back into a more constitutional role, to reduce the size of Iran's military force and improve its efficiency and public image, to work toward a moderate political synthesis, and to rely on a program of carefully planned social reform and economic development to avert what appeared to be an eventual certain overthrow of the regime followed by chaos and ascendancy to power of demagogic, anti-Western forces.

Parts of this plan worked imperfectly. Anti-inflation measures, with the additional discouragement to investment resulting from the reform program, pushed the economy into a deepening depression where it still rests. The promise of a better future through planned economic development failed to capture the public imagination and the planners themselves, faced with monumental problems, gradually began to lose heart and some resigned. The plan is still being completed, but in a lower key, in a lesser magnitude and no longer the national symbol on center stage. Prime Minister Amini, a well-meaning moderate, lost control of key members of his cabinet, who took to fighting among themselves. The Shah again took over directly the reins of government.

On other lines, we were more successful. An anti-corruption campaign, sporadic and sometimes unjust, resulted in the end of even rumors of high-level corruption. The influence of corrupt high Army officers and members of the Royal family evaporated. Our five-year military assistance program resulted in a broad understanding being reached as to the strategic mission of Iran's armed forces, its shape and equipment, and a phased military manpower reduction. Foreign exchange reserves mounted to a healthy level, and the cost of living held steady for over a year.

The most important variable in the Iranian situation was always the Shah, even though he was frequently regarded as a constant factor. The drive toward Iran's "revolution from the top" took form slowly in his mind, and initially it lacked direction. The realization that his security forces were ineffective in the 1961 riots preyed on him, as did the mounting strength of articulate opposition from the Right and Left. It was in this state of mind that he visited the United States in April, 1962. The words of the President at that time, those of the Vice-President later in the year, and the standards which he generally attributed to the new administration in Washington, all these contributed to the Shah's decision to set on his new and uncharted course.

Then the Shah went on a long trip into the countryside and visited areas affected by an infant experimental land reform program started under the Amini period./2/ The unusual display of affection and loyalty he received from the peasantry under these circumstances gave him new heart and confidence, and he plunged headlong into a reform program which is rapidly destroying the basis of traditional social order and structure in Iran. Driven by the Shah's enthusiasm, the land distribution program has moved at an ever-accelerating pace, evolving in its own peculiar Persian fashion, under growing signs of inept planning and administration. Whatever its shortcomings--and there are many--fundamental and irreversible change is clearly underway. High School students are being drafted into military service to teach peasants how to read and write. Decentralization of governmental functions has begun. A radical workers' profit-sharing scheme and the nationalization of forests has been announced. A nation-wide referendum on this reform program will be held this month, and the Shah is toying with the idea of holding the first really free elections in the history of Iran out of confidence in his ability to win the votes of almost all the peasantry and much of the urban proletariat.

/2/Additional documentation relating to Iran's land reform program is ibid., 788.16. A December 18 memorandum from Polk to Talbot on the subject is ibid., 788.11/12-1862.

The traditional elite is frightened, confused and furious. Religious leaders tried to attack land reform by attacking newly-decreed female suffrage; the Shah made a tactical retreat on the suffrage issue, but won a moral victory, and the mullahs now have no effective weapon other than an appeal to religious prejudices against minorities. The vaunted power of the landlords has turned out to be a paper tiger; businessmen, used to traditional customs and practices, are appalled and pessimistic.

The urban intellectual elite, centered in the National Front, finds itself even more disorganized than usual, and is attempting to ignore this "revolution from the top" while attacking the Shah as dictatorial. The communists can only argue that the Shah is not moving fast enough, and accuse him of being an American puppet.

The Shah has gone out of his way to remove any cause for genuine Soviet dissatisfaction with Iran, but resolutely refuses to compromise Iran's security or Iran's open commitment to the collective defense of freedom. He has made serious efforts to win the loyalty of such national minorities as the Kurds. He has leaned over backward to conciliate his neutralist neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan. Following the long-sought agreement with us on a multi-year program of military assistance, he has turned from his former pre-occupation with military affairs. He realizes, however, that military morale is all-important until he can structure his peasant political support. The greater part of those Iranians who possess a bank account and/or a high school education come from a landlord background and most would now rejoice at his death or overthrow.

It is unlikely that this reform program, particularly the land distribution aspect thereof, can be stopped even by a change of regime. The Shah is becoming in peasant eyes their savior and hero, and it is impossible to foretell what the shape of a peasant-dominated Iran will be. With all its inefficiencies and maladroit administration it is a Persian program carried out by the man who is the ultimate repository of power in Iran today. The greatest single danger, aside from the assassination of the Shah, is that the machinery to implement the rural reform program will never really get beyond the land redistribution stage of destroying the landlords. The resulting deterioration and chaos in the rural areas could result in turning the newly activated peasants against the Shah and the government.

Can the U.S. help Iran make this dramatic but dangerous transition? There seems to be little we could do relative to the immediate progress of the land distribution program itself, aside from discreet moral support and encouragement. As noted previously this is a Persian program with subtle political considerations. The Minister of Agriculture, Arsenjani, who is responsible for the program has not so far desired our assistance. To attempt to enter midstream might blunt the forward momentum of the program even if it were to contribute to its more technically perfect execution. The more likely area of activity lies in addressing a whole host of new problems which will inevitably follow the wake of the main program. Technical assistance in the organization and management of cooperatives, PL-480 programs to offset probable falls in agricultural production, and financial assistance to shore up thinly capitalized Agriculture banks and/or Cooperative Unions are some of the possibilities that are presently being explored in connection with our planning of our FY 64 assistance program for Iran. As other problem areas become clearer it is expected that other methods and means of U.S. assistance can be brought to bear. We are conscious of the need to exercise the maximum imagination and flexibility in these circumstances if we are to capitalize on these new but precarious opportunities, so fateful to Iran's future.

Howard Furnas/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates Furnas signed the original above Brubeck's typed signature.


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

Tel Aviv, January 22, 1963, 1 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/1-2263. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to USUN. On January 23, Bundy directed that this telegram and telegram 538 from Cairo, January 22, be forwarded to President Kennedy under cover of a memorandum from Komer to Kennedy. Telegram 538 from Tel Aviv is ibid.; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute. Komer's covering memorandum is Document 138.

537. I met yesterday afternoon with Prime Minister at his request. Other Israelis present included Harman, Rafael and Arad. He opened discussion by expressing appreciation for deep understanding, goodwill, and friendship for Israel shown by President Kennedy in recent talks with Foreign Minister Meir. President's comment that United States special relation with Israel not negotiable appeared touch him particularly. While deeply grateful to hear United States would come quickly to Israel's aid if latter attacked he commented in this respect Israel must nevertheless rely upon itself.

He agreed with President's statement that progress must be made in refugee issue, which was reason he had asked me to call. Series of high-level talks within GOI had been held on this subject in recent days and he wanted to apprise me generally of results. His earlier talk with President Kennedy on this subject had resulted in complete agreement between them and he was pleased to hear President still held same views. As he saw situation, in accepting any future agreement Israel must be able to see clearly where plan comes out in end and agreement must settle whole problem once and for all. Aside from this consideration, he believed there were two initially fundamental questions: (1) what is total number of refugees; and (2) number refugees Israel can take. On first, he insisted that there be included as refugees only persons who came from territory which is now Israel and that no others, such as persons from Nablus, be thrown in. He saw no particular difficulties with this question (sic), but he thought there may be complications about second although he believed Israel and United States views this matter not divergent. As was known, he pointed out, Israel had interest in settling refugee question and was willing to consider it aside from issue of general peace. Any real settlement must also have goodwill of Arab states, he continued, which inevitably would mean their settlement of major portion of refugees in Arab territory as it would be impossible to settle appreciable numbers elsewhere. In this connection he reiterated Israeli willingness to participate in compensation. This goodwill would also mean that Arab states would agree that any accepted solution cleared up fully and finally refugee question and it should be understood that solution would terminate in discussion of problem in United Nations. It was in getting Arab acceptance to such a plan that he saw difficulties arising, but he assured me that to obtain such a solution Israel would be willing to make its contribution.

Ben-Gurion outlined foregoing as fundamental groundwork of further Israel-United States talks on refugee problem. He said he would be prepared begin such talks on substance as soon as Mrs. Meir's return of February 5 from her current trip to East Africa (Embtel 511)./2/ He expects these talks to take place in Israel with his personal participation, at least at outset, which later emphasized as Israeli position by Rafael.

/2/Not found.1

I responded that I had no instructions as yet as to further pursuit refugee problem but that I was pleased to find agreement in United States and Israeli point of view that solution of refugee issue highly desirable. It was United States belief, I commented, that such a solution would contribute materially to peace in area, hence any step in that direction would assist in developing this peace. I expressed my gratification that discussions on this issue might begin earlier in year and not be carried out under commission to meet UNGA deadline. His remarks would be transmitted to the Department, I said, and I would await instructions./3/

/3/In telegram 544 from Tel Aviv, January 24, Barbour conveyed to the Department of State the text of supplementary comments received from Ben Gurion emphasizing that only U.S. agreement to drop the Johnson Plan had permitted U.S.-Israeli talks on the refugee question to proceed. (Department of State, Central Files, 325.84/1-2463) With White House approval, the Department of State instructed Barbour to send a message to Ben Gurion on behalf of President Kennedy that reads in part: "We are in agreement that the Johnson Plan as such cannot be implemented and, as was indicated to Mrs. Meir, we have no intention of trying to push it further with reluctant parties. However, during the talks in Washington which resulted in agreement in handling of the refugee issue before the UN, we did make clear our understanding that talks between us after the Assembly session would be held without preconditions and that any and all ideas about a solution could be explored." (Ibid., 325.84/1-2963)



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

Washington, January 23, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 1/21/63-1/31/63. Secret. Komer sent Bundy this memorandum and telegrams 537 (Document 137) and 538 from Tel Aviv, under cover of a note that reads: "Don't you think JFK ought to see this with my comment before Mike gets to him? It's one of the most artful `no sales' I've seen." Bundy wrote on the note: "pass original to Mrs Lincoln for Pres." Another handwritten notation indicates: "done." (Ibid.) For telegram 538 from Tel Aviv, January 22, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Here is BG's highly skillful reply to your Palm Beach talk with Golda. State feels as I do that BG's conditional "yes" on refugees is in fact a flat "no".

By making Israeli agreement to a refugee plan conditional upon prior working out of a total, final solution which must be firmly accepted beforehand by the Arabs, BG has posed impossible conditions. The Johnson Plan was based on tacit Arab acquiescence to a creeping process on the grounds that this was the utmost we could get the Arabs to accept. Nasser, for example, might tacitly agree to a 100,000 limit on repatriation but he could never do so openly, for fear the other Arabs would hang him.

Before abandoning ourselves to unrelieved pessimism we'll talk with Harman on return, but I see little give.

R. W. Komer/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


139. National Intelligence Estimate/1/

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. A table of contents is not printed. According to a note on the cover sheet: "The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, AEC, and NSA." All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on January 23, except the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained because the subject was outside his jurisdiction.

NIE 30 - 63

Washington, January 23, 1963.


The Problem

To estimate present attitudes and future trends in the Arab-Israeli problem over the next few years.


A. Israel will probably retain its overall military superiority vis-à-vis the Arab states for the next several years. As long as the present balance of forces remains substantially unchanged, we believe that neither side is likely to initiate major hostilities. However, the possibility will remain that incidents growing out of such main points of friction as the Israeli-Syrian border and Israel's diversion of Jordan waters could escalate into serious fighting. (Paras. 17-19, 21-23)

B. In general, Israel will probably continue to pursue a hard policy demanding that any settlement be on the basis of essential maintenance of the status quo. Any easing of tensions in the Arab-Israeli quarrel rests primarily on the passing of time, developments in inter-Arab relations, and perhaps to some extent on the influence of the great powers. We believe that there is some chance that sufficient probing and pushing of the principals may in the next few years produce the beginnings of a refugee settlement. (Paras. 10, 34-36, 38)

C. [9-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] No Arab state will be able to develop a nuclear weapon capability for many years to come. (Paras. 24-29)

[Here follows the Discussion section of the estimate [text not declassified].]


140. Assessment Prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency/1/

Washington, January 24, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 1/63-3/63. Secret; No Foreign Dissemination. Forwarded to General Clifton at the White House under cover of a note from Brigadier General Linscott A. Hall, Assistant Director for Processing of DIA.


1. The UAR is engaged in a missile program aimed at developing domestically produced surface-to-surface missiles (SSM). This program is heavily dependent on private foreign assistance; German rocket specialists designed the missiles, German technicians supervised their construction, and many essential components were purchased abroad. The UAR is also proceeding with the development of a missile test range. In this connection, we know that they are currently attempting to purchase range instrumentation in the United States.

2. In the course of the July 1962 celebrations of the Revolution, the Egyptians fired four missiles from a site about 50 miles northwest of Cairo and some six or seven miles from where reporters had been brought to watch./2/ They also paraded twenty missiles of two sizes through Cairo's streets in the same month. Transportation for both types of missiles appears to have been rigged specifically for the parade. This suggests that operational ground support equipment of a mobile nature for the missiles' erection and firing is lacking.

/2/A Current Intelligence Memorandum, prepared by the CIA Office of Current Intelligence, dated July 22, entitled "UAR Rocket Launching," described the launching as "by and large a propaganda stunt of the kind in which Nasir excels" and advised that "the launchings actually have little significance in terms of any real scientific or military capability." (Ibid., 7/62/-8/62) A July 27 memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy indicated that the Department of State did "not consider that this latest development alters significantly the balance of military power in the Near East," although it did represent "a psychological coup for Nasser vis-à-vis his Arab rivals as well as Israel" and represented "another step in the arms spiral." (Department of State, Central Files, 786B.5612/7-2762)

3. The larger missile paraded was the Conqueror (al Kahir) which appeared generally similar to the improved World War II German V-2. The missile is reportedly 40 feet long and four feet in diameter with a cluster of four nozzles at the rear. It is believed to be a single stage liquid fueled rocket, probably using nitric acid as an igniter and turpentine as a fuel. At the time of the departure from the UAR in 1961 of Dr. Saenger, the chief of the German design team, no work was known to have been done on the development of a guidance system in the missile program. It is estimated the Conqueror could carry a 500 pound payload to a range of about 200 nautical miles, plus or minus 50 miles.

4. The smaller missile in the parade, known as the Victor (al Zafir), might have a maximum range of 220 miles, but analysis suggests that its range with any worthwhile payload would be considerably less. The Victor is reportedly 18 feet long and thirty inches in diameter. It is believed to be a single stage, liquid fueled, unguided rocket, developed from the design of a French sounding rocket.

5. The UAR does not now have any capability to develop a nuclear weapon that could be used as a warhead in either of the above two missiles. While it does have a small nuclear research reactor and an associated research program, both are so small as to preclude their having any potential for nuclear weapons development.

6. For the near future, neither the surface-to-surface missile nor the nuclear program appears likely to have a significant effect on the purely military balance in the Middle East. Nevertheless, it is possible that the UAR could deploy a small number of missiles by mid-1964./3/ The number of missiles deployed would be too few and the absence of nuclear warheads would sharply limit their effectiveness. The missile program would, of course, be valuable for propaganda purposes and for psychological warfare.

/3/An assessment prepared for the CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence, January 8, on "U.A.R. Delivery Capability for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons," estimated that the UAR might be able to deploy a few missiles by mid-1964 provided that West German technicians remained in the UAR and the flow of components from Europe continued. The assessment also indicated that the UAR had no potential within its current program for nuclear weapons production and almost no capability in the biological warfare field, but did have a small stock of toxic chemical munitions that it had received from the Soviet bloc. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 1/4/63-1/14/63)

7. The UAR has turned to outside sources for other types of missiles. The USSR is in the process of supplying eight battalions/4/ of surface-to-air (SA-2) missiles to the UAR and is training local forces in their use. Some SA-2 sites probably will be operational and manned by the Egyptians during 1963. The UAR has recently received from the USSR three Komar-class guided missile patrol boats. Each boat is designed to carry two cruise missiles, which have a range of 10-15 nautical miles. The USSR has furnished the UAR with 45 MIG 21 (Fishbed) jet fighter aircraft equipped with air-to-air missiles and is training Egyptian forces in their use. Each aircraft is designed to carry two AA-2 air-to-air missiles. The optimum attack range of the AA-2 system is six nautical miles in a tail-on attack.

/4/These battalions will probably be organized in accordance with Soviet doctrine. A Soviet surface-to-air (SA-2) missile battalion has six launchers. [Footnote in the source text.]


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

Cairo, January 24, 1963, 7 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.02/1-2463. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Amman, Jidda, Taiz, London, USUN, and Sanaa.

1089. At Nasser's request had seventy minute conversation with him this morning as follow-up President Kennedy letter of January 19./2/

/2/See Document 135.

Nasser inaugurated talk by expressing appreciation for letter, attested to President Kennedy genuine concern re Yemen problem and stated his personal satisfaction Kennedy ideas directly presented to him. Then requested I elaborate on proposal suggested in letter.

To lay foundation for urgency and timeliness of mediation efforts I recapitulated current YAR-UAR-SAG situation, emphasizing following:

1. Current military situation is stalemate with tribal Royalists unlikely dislodge YAR present position and YAR incapable bringing tribes under control. Result will be protracted, possibly permanent, struggle similar to Kurdish-Arab hassle in Iraq.

2. Prolongation of situation extremely dangerous to all parties. YAR already beset with tensions between Baidani and Sallal, Zaidis and Shafais, and individual personalities.

These tensions will increase if present inconclusive situation continues with possible result of demise of Sallal group. UAR must be finding commitment burdensome, expenses heavy, and growing suspicion and resistance to UAR in rest of Arab world. Recent evidence of hard currency expenditures by UAR for Czech arms and Soviet aviation gas presages strong Western and USA reaction against diversion of UAR hard currency in light of recent USA, Italian and UK loans made for stabilization purposes. For SAG, protraction of conflict poses possible growth internal instability and resulting USA concern for special interests in country. In view of all this, time is now ripe to take constructive forward step and end situation.

Nasser here broke in to agree prolongation of situation to no one's interest. He reiterated earlier statements UAR was not seeking to overthrow SAG, UAR anti-Saudi activities being aimed only at stopping Saudi support for Royalists. UAR indeed under heavy expense, although hard currency component probably smaller than I assumed. Yemen has neither a proper government, an army, nor a functioning political organization and these must be developed if new regime is to be stabilized. When first approached by US with disengagement proposals, UAR assumed we were in position easily to secure SAG compliance. This assumption apparently false. SAG involvement increased rather than decreased after recognition, with Pakistan and Belgian arms pouring in. Nasser particularly mentioned alleged arms supplies from Belgium including aircraft from Sabena. Faisal terms for disengagement obviously a hoax and based upon premise that during withdrawal of UAR troops SAG would build up Royalist forces to point where they could take over. Yemeni tribes are loyal to no one but themselves and given gold, ammunition and technical direction will fight for either side. Since SAG in position to furnish these, border tribes have remained anti-YAR and will continue to do so as long as external support available. Basic problem is supply of ammunition and material rather than money. If these can be stopped situation will quiet down and UAR will gladly carry out disengagement undertaking.

I then turned to specifics of Presidential proposal, drawing largely on Deptel 989./3/ I stressed neutral intermediary would be personal representative UNSYG and not head of official UN mission or USG representative. While plan envisions three steps (initial visit, formulation disengagement plan with acceptance by contending parties, and verification) details would need to be worked out by direct consultation with parties concerned. This was not a cut and dried American plan with all specifics settled but a modality of approaching problem. It rested upon willingness of four contending governments to accept SYG personal representative as friend of all and work in cooperation with him.

/3/Dated January 24. (Ibid., 786H.00/1-2163)

At this point Nasser asked what special representative could accomplish that had not already been tried. Since USG apparently unable to put effective pressure on SAG for disengagement, how could special representative do this? I pointed out that behind special representative would lie prestige of UN and that using his services would throw spotlight of international concern on Yemen affair. If any party refused reasonable cooperation after initially accepting plan, this would be public knowledge and would generate force of world opinion. At present time disengagement discussions carried on by 4 American Ambassadors in 4 capitals in air of secrecy with consultation only possible through medium of Washington. With special representative all 4 parties would be on record as desiring disengagement and would make views known to single intermediary. If any party welched on agreement or failed cooperate, world would know where trouble lies.

Nasser then asked details as to observation role of special representative, noting UAR convinced most UN observers tend to side with the aggressor since it is more difficult to detect overt aggressive action than open defensive action. I pointed out final phase of plan did not call for observers but "verifiers". Very presence of neutral intermediary would assist verification and have moderating effect, as witness useful role of UNEF on Palestine border. Nasser acknowledged good work of UNEF, commenting it was so good he had accepted bitter Arab attacks against him for allowing operation to continue.

He also asked whether disengagement and verification would cover activities in Sheikhdom of Beihan. I answered we had no specific evidence of these activities beyond general sympathy and comfort and said I would welcome any specific evidence UAR could give me. British have denied fact of Beihan assistance and I would accept this until hard evidence proved contrary. However, if UAR felt Beihan a legitimate disengagement concern, this, with appropriate supporting evidence, could be laid before the mediator when specific disengagement plan being discussed.

I then returned to President Kennedy's ardent desire to set forward disengagement and his strong interest in proposed plan. Nasser inquired as to possibility of direct Presidential American representative. I pointed out this would open US to accusation of colonialism and imperialism of which Soviets would take full advantage. Moreover parties to YAR dispute might be attacked on same grounds. Nasser acknowledged this would probably be result.

Nasser then inquired who SecGen and USG had in mind as emissary. I replied no names were under consideration as yet. In original proposal, some considerations had been given to a European but possibility now existed SYG would choose an American to represent him. Nasser thought this might be useful since USG itself involved in disengagement plan and use of American could generate deeper US interests in process. I stated that of course neutral intermediary would have to be acceptable to parties concerned and that if principle of plan were accepted, specific names would be put forward.

Nasser then asked that I send him as quickly as possible memo of conversation particularly containing outline of plan as presented above. He said he would consider this himself and in concert with Presidential Council and also would take it up with Sallal. He promised to call me for a definitive answer within next two or three days--probably on Sunday or Monday,/4/ depending upon when Ramadan begins (Saturday or Sunday).

/4/January 27 or 28.

Comment: This has been my frankest discussion with Nasser on Yemen problem. Nasser was unusually candid about difficulties and details of military situation and quoted extensively from intelligence reports, which on whole substantiate our own estimate. It may be wishful thinking on my part but I detect favorable consideration of plan since no alternative was discussed. Of particular interest was Nasser's frank statement about Baidani's shortcomings which are being reported in separate telegram./5/

/5/Telegram 1091 from Cairo, January 24. (Department of State, Central Files, 686H.86H/1-2463) On January 27, Nasser summoned Badeau to inform him that the UAR accepted the proposal for the U.N. Secretary-General to appoint a special representative as a neutral intermediary in the Yemen dispute. Nasser said that he had sent a message to Sallal on this subject, but had not yet received a reply. (Telegram 1103 from Cairo, January 28; ibid., 786H.00/1-2863)



142. Telegram From President Kennedy to Prime Minister Macmillan/1/

Washington, January 26, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, President Kennedy's Correspondence with Prime Minister Macmillan. Secret; Eyes Only. The Department of State sent the text of the message to the Embassy in London for its information in telegram 3950, January 26. (Ibid., Central Files, 786H.00/1-2663) The Department of State telegram indicates the message was drafted in the White House.

CAP 63065. Message for the Prime Minister from the President.

I recognize that this is an area with which the British Government has had long experience. But I do wish that you would give this matter renewed consideration. Whatever action your judgement dictates will be satisfactory to me.

As we move forward on task of engineering disengagement in Yemen, a task I am persuaded is in both our interests, I'd like to ask about your plans for recognition of the YAR. I wonder whether non-recognition still has value; it seems to risk exacerbating relations between you and the UAR/YAR without at the same time enhancing the prospect that the Royalists will win out./2/

/2/On January 11, the British Foreign Office informed the Embassy in London that the British Cabinet had decided to defer decision on U.K. recognition of the Yemen Arab Republic, because of concern over the Aden situation. (Telegram 2600 from London, January 11; ibid., 786H.02/1-1163) On January 16, the United Kingdom announced that it was resuming diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia that had been broken by Saudi Arabia at the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956. Documentation on this subject is ibid., 641.86A. On January 25, Talbot called in Greenhill, Counselor of the British Embassy in Washington, to urge U.K. recognition of Yemen. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 786H.02/1-2563)

It seems likely that, while the civil war may seesaw back and forth almost indefinitely, the Royalists are not going to be able to crush the superior UAR forces. They may occasionally cut the roads, but they show little capability for seizing the major towns. We gather, for example, that there are some 8000 Egyptian troops in Sana'a.

While Faysal is undoubtedly hurting Nasser, the latter is so committed now in Yemen that he can't afford to pull out without at least an ostensible victory. Despite some added cost, he can certainly increase his forces there if needed, and no doubt the Soviets have agreed to replenish any equipment losses.

Indeed the big risk as we see it is that Nasser and his little brother Sallal will in their frustration adopt more extremist lines. They may well try to foment trouble in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. We've already seen them try to cow the Saudis by bombing Najran, and only the strongest words from here appear to have temporarily turned them off. If Nasser escalates and the Saudis then hit back with mercenary pilots, we may have the Near East aflame. I'm sure this will suit the Soviets, but you and I would surely be the losers.

We are equally worried over the effect of Faysal's unpopular war in Yemen on his own domestic position. He and Hussein think they're defending themselves against Nasser in Yemen, but we think they're making themselves more vulnerable to Nasser-inspired revolution at home. At the least, they are diverting badly needed attention and effort from domestic reforms. A revolution or serious disturbance in Saudi Arabia would hardly strengthen our position in Aden and the Gulf.

On the other hand, once Nasser is deprived of an excuse to maintain a heavy presence in Yemen, natural Yemeni distaste for what is really an alien occupation should soon reassert itself. We doubt that Nasser will find the Yemenis willing tools, any more than he found the Syrians or Iraqis so. But if we force the UAR to reinforce rather than reduce its presence in Yemen, and give the Soviets the chance to do so too, we may end up with a situation far more threatening to us.

For these reasons we have pursued a policy which would trade acceptance of the YAR for assurances that the UAR and YAR would respect our joint interests elsewhere in the peninsula. We're under no illusions as to the value of such words but we see them, plus the vested interest of both in US aid, as buying us time to get on with strengthening our own positions in Aden and Saudi Arabia.

I gather that you have been delaying recognition until relations could be resumed with the Saudis and the Aden Federation could be launched. Since these have come off smoothly, our joint interests might best be served by your recognizing the YAR and thus helping to isolate Faysal./3/

/3/Macmillan responded on January 27 that the U.K. Ambassador to Taiz had been recalled for consultations and the British Government would continue to review the Yemen situation. (Telegram 4075 from London, January 31; ibid., 786H.00/1-3163) Kennedy responded on January 31 that he was "delighted" Macmillan would take another look at the Yemen problem, particularly in light of progress toward appointing a U.N. mediator. (Telegram 4068 to London, January 31; ibid.)

Message ends.


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

Washington, January 26, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Syria, 1/63-2/63. Secret.

Recommending Presidential Messages to President Qudsi of Syria

Despite categorical public and private denials by our Embassy in Damascus, rumors of United States involvement in Syria on behalf of the United Arab Republic have circulated within Syria since the Nasserist insurrection in Aleppo in April 1962. We believe Communist and pro-Communist elements are giving these stories currency. We are particularly disturbed by evidence that high Syrian officials, possibly including President Qudsi himself, pay heed to them. On January 14, for example, a member of the Syrian cabinet who is associated with a political grouping which collaborates with the Communist Party charged that riots in South Syria had been fomented by elements that took orders from United States intelligence./2/

/2/Documentation on the Syrian allegations is in Department of State, Central Files 783.00 and 611.83.

On January 17, accusations against the United States took on an official character when the Supreme Military State Security Court trying the cases of officers accused of Nasserist mutiny in Aleppo last year implicated the American Consul General in Aleppo, Mr. Arthur B. Allen, in the mutiny. A synopsis of the Court's charges together with a review of what we know to be true facts of the matter is enclosed./3/ The Syrian Prime Minister, while stating he is personally prepared to believe our refutation of the charges against Allen, has nevertheless asked that the United States voluntarily withdraw him in order to avert his being declared persona non grata.

/3/Attached but not printed.

The situation with which we are confronted is somewhat reminiscent of 1957 when three United States diplomats were expelled on grounds of plotting against the Syrian state, when the United States retaliated by expelling the Syrian Ambassador and one of the members of his staff, and when a sharp rise in Communist influence in Syria occurred. We hope to avoid a repetition of this sequence but believe we should not allow ourselves to be whipsawed by a baseless smear campaign fomented by Communist elements. We therefore propose that we should stand our ground regarding Allen's innocence and his right to finish his normal tour in Syria.

We consider President Qudsi the leading Syrian force for reason and moderation, but believe that he is handicapped as a result of army and extremist pressures. His hand might be strengthened materially if he were provided with a personal letter from the President endeavoring to dispel current misconceptions in Syria regarding our policy. We further believe that we might be able to avert an unpleasant showdown on the Allen case if Ambassador Knight could be authorized in addition to deliver an oral message from the President affirming Allen's innocence and requesting President Qudsi to permit him to finish out his normal two-year tour which ends in September. Accordingly, we request the President's approval of the enclosed telegram./4/

/4/The telegram was subsequently revised and sent to Damascus as telegram 297, Document 147.

We recommend that no publicity be given either to the written or the oral message.

Warren E. Slater/5/

/5/Slater signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.

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