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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 176-208

176. Editorial Note

On March 4, 1963, during a 70-minute meeting with President Nasser in Cairo, Ambassador Badeau delivered the oral message from President Kennedy contained in Document 175. Badeau also executed instructions contained in telegram 1653 to Cairo, March 3, that he emphasize to Nasser U.S. concern over UAR air attacks on Saudi Arabia and the detrimental implications that continued UAR military involvement in Yemen had on the disengagement process and U.S. Congressional support for economic assistance to the UAR. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN) Badeau reported on the conversation in telegram 1379 from Cairo, March 5. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

A summary of the highlights of the conversation, prepared in the Department of State for the information of the White House, but not sent, reads as follows:

"1. Yemen

"a. Ambassador Badeau emphasized:

"(1) the tolerance we had displayed toward UAR activities in Yemen;

"(2) our determination to protect our vital interests and uphold the integrity of Saudi Arabia;

"(3) that UAR violations of the Saudi border were prejudicial to the Bunker - Bunche mission and pushing us perilously close to activating our commitments to Saudi Arabia.

"Ambassador Badeau apparently did not put forward our proposal that the UAR make an initial cut in its forces simultaneously with a temporary Saudi suspension of support to the royalists as a means of getting a disengagement process started. However President Nasser himself held open the possibility that if the currently stepped-up UAR military offensive to end the situation succeeds some UAR withdrawal from Yemen might be effected.

"b. In his reply President Nasser emphasized:

"(1) The bombardments were not intended as deliberate provocation but were an integral and successful element of UAR military strategy;

"(2) Every day of continued Yemen fighting meant loss of UAR lives and as leader of the country he could not escape responsibility;

"(3) That the UAR could not wait another five months for disengagement;

"(4) When Ambassador Badeau underscored the souring political effect of these attacks, Nasser promised, however, to order Marshal Amer to suspend trans-border activities pending the outcome of the Bunche - Bunker efforts which Ambassador Badeau stated would consume about two weeks.

"2. UAR Clandestine Radio

"Ambassador Badeau indicated we knew the location of the UAR clandestine radio and suggested termination of broadcasts which are doing great harm to US - UAR relations. Nasser tacitly acknowledged responsibility but gave no commitment regarding termination." (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)

On March 5, Komer sent Bundy a note suggesting that when Bundy showed Kennedy telegram 1379 from Cairo he also give the President the following memorandum from Komer to Kennedy. Komer added, "I'm a bit worried by Badeau's pitch." Komer's proposed memorandum to the President reads as follows:

"Nasser's reply (Cairo 1379) to your warning is just about as responsive as could be expected. After justifying his bombings as intended merely to cut off Saudi gun-running rather than to overthrow Faysal, he in effect says he'll hold off further attacks for a few weeks to give our mediation efforts a chance.

"This may in fact only postpone our confrontation with Nasser, but it's hard to see how he could have said more. His answer also shows that our new policy has given us leverage with him.

"It's a pity that Badeau rested his argument so heavily on our need for time for Bunker and Bunche efforts. If these stall, Nasser can argue that he's entitled to resume. But we'll now push hardest to turn Faysal off." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, Nasser Correspondence)

On March 8, Badeau sent to Nasser's office a copy of the memorandum of the March 5 conversation with a letter from Badeau to Nasser informing him, on instructions from the U.S. Government, of the following:

"Although Dr. Ralph Bunche has returned to the United States, the United States Government does not consider that his mission has been terminated. It has reason to believe that he will either be received in Saudi Arabia or will hold discussions with Saudi Arabian representatives in New York. Ambassador Bunker will also continue his efforts in Saudi Arabia.

"In view of the above, the United States Government considers that the United Arab Republic's commitment to cease attacks on the soil of Saudi Arabia continues in operation. It considers that this commitment applies to every type of indirect and direct action (including naval) and not simply to aerial bombardment." (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 SAUD - UAR)


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

JCSM - 188 - 63

Washington, March 6, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, Bunker/Bunche Missions. Top Secret.

Courses of Action in Saudi Arabia (U)

1. In response to a request by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), the Joint Chiefs of Staff have examined the possible courses of action which might be undertaken in support of Saudi Arabia.

2. The Joint Chiefs of Staff wish to emphasize the difficulties and dangers implicit in employment of US forces in the Arabian Peninsula. There are severe difficulties, from a military point of view, in maintaining forces in operations at the end of such a long logistic support line. In addition, the boundaries of the disputed territories are unidentified; tribesmen of either side are indistinguishable; regulars, irregulars, and general populace are blended together. These facts seriously complicate active military operations. It should be appreciated, too, that any US intervention or show of force must involve adequate forces to be able to accomplish the necessary military tasks if the deterrent fails.

3. For these reasons, the Joint Chiefs of staff believe that prior to the use of military forces, strong representation should be made through political channels to dissuade both Nasser and Faysal from taking any provocative acts which might lead to open warfare. Concurrently therewith they should be persuaded to disengage and withdraw their support of opposing Yemeni forces. All feasible nonmilitary actions, including action in the United Nations, should be attempted before undertaking any military action in the Arabian Peninsula.

4. It is recognized that the situation could develop to the point where the employment of combat forces would become necessary. Before undertaking to provide US forces, every effort should be made to obtain UK forces for this purpose. The United Kingdom has a deep interest in all political and military actions taken in the Arabian Peninsula. UK military forces presently in the area offer a significant capability and consist of the following:




Major Units



1 Inf Bn 2 Tank Bns 1 Marine Commando Bn



Aircraft Carrier 1 Patrol Escort 4 Amphib Force Flagship 1 LST 2 LSM 3 Coastal Minesweeper 4

Air Force


Fighters (Hawker Hunter) 34 Bombers 2 Reconnaissance (Hawker Hunter) 4 Transports 37










1 Bde Gp

Air Force


Jet Ftrs 13 Jet Lt. Recce 15 Jet Lt. Bmrs 23 Prop Med Range Bmrs 12 Helicopters 6

The UK forces in the Middle East can conduct effective military operations anywhere in the Arabian Peninsula. The combination of coordinated US and UK military capability represents a responsive and flexible force for establishing a credible deterrent. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that concert with the United Kingdom in the Arabian Peninsula is essential. Mutual interest in the area requires it and such action provides a united front to further aggressive acts on the part of Nasser.

5. Assuming Faysal's agreement to withdraw support from the Yemen Royalists, the following is representative of an appropriate ascending order of possible US military force deployments, should such action become necessary:

a. Dispatch a military team to Saudi Arabia to arrange for the deployment of initial US forces. The psychological impact of the introduction of this team might deter continued Egyptian aggression.

b. Demonstrate US intent to support the Saudi Arabian Government by deploying a token Air Defense Squadron consisting of:

3 fighter bomber aircraft

2 - 4 Recce aircraft

1 Mobile Radar Unit

Air refueling and support elements as required.

Reaction times are:

48 hours for the aircraft

96 hours for the Mobile Radar

The above forces would be deployed from the United States.

c. If b, above, fails to influence Nasser effectively, implement Phase I of CINCNELM OPLAN 200 - 6 with the mission of conducting show-of-force operations in the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean employing:

1 Carrier Task Group--EUCOM (to operate in eastern Mediterranean)

MIDEASTFOR consisting of:

1 Seaplane Tender (Command Ship)

2 - 4 Destroyers

Show-of-force operations include aerial patrols of the Saudi Arabia - Yemen border, aerial patrols in the Red Sea, fleet exercises off the northern coast of Egypt, and naval patrols in the Red Sea. Deployment of designated Carrier Task Group to the objective area could be accomplished in 30 to 40 hours. On 5 March 1963, two MIDEASTFOR destroyers were located at Aden; deployment of two additional destroyers from the Mediterranean would require about two - four days.

d. If show-of-force operations have not produced desired results, after giving Nasser due warning, US/UK forces should conduct military operations as follows:

(1) US forces in Saudi Arabia and UK forces in Aden conduct bombing attacks against selected targets in Yemen.

(2) US forces in the Mediterranean and UK forces in Cyprus conduct bombing attacks against selected targets in Egypt.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Maxwell D. Taylor/2/


Joint Chiefs of Staff

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


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

Washington, March 6, 1963.

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


FYI, Iraqi coup has probably triggered off a period of heightened fluidity in inter-Arab politics which is going to require some fast footwork on our part in next several months.

Possibilities are another Kurdish uprising,/2/ a second pro-Nasser Iraqi coup, a pro-Nasser or pro-Iraqi coup in Syria, trouble in Saudi Arabia, etc. One reason why Nasser is so anxious to settle Yemen affair is that with all its costs plus a third to a half of his combat effectives tied down there he's less able to move elsewhere.

/2/On March 7, Deputy Director for Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency Ray S. Cline sent McGeorge Bundy a paper prepared on March 5 by the Office of National Estimates, entitled "The Kurdish Problem: New Dangers." In his covering memorandum, Cline noted that "the chances appear to be growing that the Kurdish problem will become more acute in the months ahead. Emergence of an anti-Communist regime in Baghdad has removed the main inhibition on Soviet support of Kurdish dissidence, and this problem may have important implications beyond the borders of Iraq." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Iraq, 6/63 - 8/63)

Best policy for us is to sit tight and be prepared to deal with whoever comes out on top. Fortunately our policy now allows us this option, and one reason why we shouldn't overtly choose Saudi side against Nasser is simply that it would tend to tie our hands. It's one thing to defend Saudis against aggression. It's another to declare we choose the kings over the bulk of the Arab world; that would be the real way to lose our oil.

Bob K.


179. Memorandum From the Board of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency, to Director of Central Intelligence McCone/1/

Washington, March 6, 1963.

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

Consequences of Israeli Acquisition of Nuclear Capability

/2/For purposes of this Memorandum, Israeli "acquisition of a nuclear capability" may mean either (a) Israeli detonation of a nuclear device, with or without the possession of actual nuclear weapons, or (b) an announcement by Israel that it possessed nuclear weapons even though it had not detonated a nuclear device. (It is conceivable that Israel might manufacture a weapon according to acquired designs, without testing, through its access to nuclear technology in the international scientific community and possibly its special relationship with the French.) [Footnote in the source text.]


The most general consequence would be substantial damage to the US and Western position in the Arab world. However much the US expressed disapproval of Israel's achievement, it would be difficult to avoid an increased tendency for the political confrontation in the Middle East to take the form of the Bloc and the Arabs against Israel and its friends in the West.

Implications for Israeli Policy

1. Even though Israel already enjoys a clear military superiority over its Arab adversaries, singly or combined, acquisition of a nuclear capability would greatly enhance Israel's sense of security. In this circumstance, some Israelis might be inclined to adopt a moderate and conciliatory posture in order to allay as far as possible the world-wide concern arising from the further proliferation of nuclear weapons. A few might even hope to reach a settlement of the long controversy with the Arabs, by negotiating magnanimously from their new position of strength.

2. We believe it much more likely, however, that Israel's policy toward its neighbors would become more rather than less tough. This is not to say that Israel would forthwith make war on the Arabs; we think this extremely unlikely. It would, however, seek to exploit the psychological advantages of its nuclear capability to intimidate the Arabs and to prevent them from making trouble on the frontiers. It would probably feel freer than it does now to take vigorous retaliatory action against border harassments when they did occur. And it would probably make propaganda underlining the impotence of the principal Arab governments in the face of Israeli power, and would thereby seek to compound Arab frustrations and to promote disunity in the Arab world.

3. In dealing with the US, Israel would make the most of the almost inevitable Arab tendency to look to the Bloc for assistance against the added Israeli threat, arguing that in terms of both strength and reliability Israel clearly was the only worthwhile friend of the US in the area. It would use all the means at its command to persuade the US to acquiesce in, and even to support, its possession of nuclear capability. Israel could be expected to use the argument that this possession entitled it to participate in all international negotiations respecting nuclear questions and disarmament.

Reaction of the Arabs

4. Arab reaction to the revelation of an Israeli nuclear capability would be one of profound dismay and frustration. Responsible Arab leaders might appreciate the political factors that would work against actual Israeli use of its nuclear weapons, but such considerations would not greatly impress even the more sophisticated, and in most circles would mean nothing at all. There would probably be a period of highly emotional outbursts--of inflammatory speeches and writings, local disturbances, riots and acts of violence directed against the real or presumed friends and accessories of Israel, and attempts to bring about some sort of international action tending to redress the situation. The Arabs are united in their hatred of Israel, and would share a common fear of any Israeli nuclear capability. We do not believe, however, that they would prove able to act in any more unified or coordinated fashion than in the past.

5. Among the principal targets of Arab resentment would be the US. At present many Arab governments consider the US as the one power which could, if it chose, prevent the development of an Israeli nuclear capability; this consideration probably plays some part in forming Arab attitudes and policies toward the US. Once the Israeli nuclear capability became a fact, a few Arab leaders might still argue that since the US could restrain Israel from using the weapons it therefore ought not to be antagonized. But we think that this counsel would be far outweighed by feelings of resentment and betrayal. In view of past US statements and positions, charges of US complicity in the Israeli achievement would be widely made and widely believed in the Arab world. The anti-US sentiments implicit in certain Arab nationalist doctrines would be strengthened. US influence with the Arabs, limited at best, would be drastically reduced.

6. It is possible, though we do not think it very likely, that Arab resentment against the US would lead to the confiscation of important US properties in the area, or to their destruction by local acts of violence. Arab leaders would probably be against such acts for economic reasons, and would probably be able to prevent them. It might be, however, that the intensity of public demand for some considerable retaliatory action would be so great that the leaders could not overrule it. Many Arabs would not stop to inquire whether the opportunities for retaliation which presented themselves were likely to be profitable.

7. Yet with all this outcry the Arabs would be basically frustrated. No really satisfactory course of action would be open to them to counter the Israeli achievement. Nasser might be tempted to strike at Dimona, but would probably be deterred by the fear that Israeli retaliation would destroy him before international peace-keeping machinery could intervene to suppress the conflict. The nationalist leaders would doubtless try to work up a high degree of international pressure to restrain Israel from aggressive action. They would probably attempt to persuade the great powers to force Israel to submit its nuclear capability to international control--an attempt which would almost certainly be unsuccessful. Nasser would contemplate, and might embark upon, a nuclear weapons program of his own, with what technical help he could beg or hire from abroad; but this would at best be a lengthy and expensive enterprise, highly provocative to Israel. The principal advantage in the short term would be to give Nasser something to make speeches about. In his efforts to restore Arab morale, Nasser might claim to have nonnuclear weapons of mass destruction--chemical or biological--and might even make an effort to develop some capability along these lines.

8. The obvious recourse of the Arabs would be to turn to the Bloc for assistance or assurance against the new Israeli threat. We think it virtually certain that Nasser and other Arab nationalists would take this course, yet it would be distasteful and unsatisfactory to them. On the one hand, they would be apprehensive of compromising their independence or their neutrality by submitting themselves too much to the Soviets; on the other, for reasons set forth in the next section, they would almost certainly be disappointed in the response which the Soviets would make.

Soviet Reactions

9. Arab pressures for Bloc help would present a number of opportunities to the Soviets, together with some problems. We do not believe that the USSR would be willing to provide Arab governments with nuclear weapons, if only because of the difficulty of extending to such regimes what it is unwilling to give to its own satellites. We doubt also that the USSR would give the Arabs any substantial assistance in developing nuclear weapons of their own; the Soviets would almost certainly prefer to exploit the situation to increase Arab dependence on them, rather than to create an independent Arab nuclear capability.

10. It is conceivable that the Soviets might place nuclear weapons on Arab territory, retaining them under Soviet control. This might involve no more than a few bombs which could be dropped by Egyptian aircraft, but we think that the Soviets would see some risk and no particular advantage in a program of this scale. Or, it might go so far as the establishment of missile bases, with an extensive Soviet military presence. Such a course we believe to be extremely unlikely, both because it would offer no particular military advantage to the Soviets, and because the Arabs themselves would almost certainly not want foreign bases in their territory, even in the circumstances postulated.

11. The Soviets would, however, see plenty of opportunity for winning political advantage. According to their habit, they would seek to please the Arabs with resounding declarations of sympathy and support, and with dire threats against Israel or any other power that might dare to use military force against an Arab state. Experience from the time of the Suez affair suggests that these manifestations would indeed win friends and influence in the Arab world. If the Israelis refrained from attacking the Arabs with major military force (as we believe they would), the Soviets might even persuade many Arabs that they had in fact been protected from destruction solely by the exercise of Soviet power. In such fashion, without involving themselves in dangerous commitments, the Soviets would substantially enhance their influence and position throughout the Middle East, and perhaps find the basis for a firmer Bloc-Arab alignment against the West than they have so far been able to achieve.

For the Board of National Estimates:

Sherman Kent



180. Telegram From the Consulate General in Dhahran to the Department of State/1/

Dhahran, March 7, 1963, 2 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Also sent to Cairo, USUN, Jidda, and London.

246. Ambassador Bunker accompanied by Ambassador Hart and Sabbagh presented to Prince Faysal President's letter/2/ approximately 9:30 p.m. March 6 and made detailed presentation US views on disengagement. Using material brought from the Department, approach centered on US recognition dangers confronting Saudi Arabia at this stage and desire US Government to be helpful. However if US actually sent forces to Saudi Arabia, SAG policy of aid to Royalists posed problem, making US Government accomplice in action against government (YAR) which it had recognized. Question was how this problem could be resolved. Ambassador Bunker stated US Government believed it possible simultaneously to start Egyptian withdrawals with suspension by SAG of aid to Royalists and that great pressures could be marshalled thereafter to ensure completion of withdrawal. Egyptian withdrawal would actually be initiated as soon as neutral observers on site along northern Yemeni border verified that supply activities suspended. Bunker emphasized US proposal offered Faysal honorable method disengagement with modalities to be worked out through UN. Therefore strongly urged Faysal receive Bunche. Faysal replied Bunche has not been refused permission to come Saudi Arabia (Contel 245)./3/

/2/Document 172.

/3/Dated March 7. (Ibid.)

Faysal was obviously pleased with President's letter and listened patiently Bunker's basic presentation, expressed appreciation for both. Small acute flurry over semantics occurred during subsequent detailed discussion when Faysal froze over use of word "condition" in connection with US support Faysal regime ("conditioned on development and reform").

This was straightened out and it made clear President's support for Faysal constituted act of faith in Faysal's reform and development program. ("Condition" has extremely unpleasant connotations in Arabic.) Bunker told Faysal he did not expect or even wish to have Faysal's reactions immediately, but requested follow-up interview which set for this evening.

Saqqaf who had informed Ambassador Hart March 4 he wished to see Faysal in advance of meeting in order to condition him toward less adamant position, was present throughout interview, taking extensive notes but made no substantive comment. He assisted constructively in straightening out semantics regarding use of word "condition". At end of interview Bunker left English copy his basic presentation and Saqqaf indicated he may seek us out privately before evening interview March 7.



181. Telegram From the Consulate General in Dhahran to the Department of State/1/

Dhahran, March 8, 1963, 3 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limited Distribution. Also sent to Cairo, Amman, Jidda, London, USUN, and Taiz.

252. From Ambassador Bunker. Accompanied by Ambassador Hart and Sabbagh, met with Prince Faysal at Dammam March 7 from 9:45 to 11:45 p.m. Omar Saqqaf again attended. Prior to meeting Saqqaf summoned Ambassador Hart to private meeting in home of friend in Al-Khobar where Saqqaf (protect source) urged that coming session devote itself to specific eight points regarding disengagement contained in memorandum presented to Faysal evening March 6 and that presentation start with flat statement United States backing for Saudi Arabia was beyond question, that what we wanted was to advise SAG as friend how to get Yemen problem off dead center and that, without discussing "conditions", we proceed point by point through our program emphasizing that we recognized dispute was between Cairo and Riyadh not between Sana and Riyadh, that we prepared to exert great efforts to have Nasser stop his attacks as well as radio and subversion campaigns against Saudi Arabia and to work, if SAG desired not only for abatement of quarrel but even for meeting of UAR and SAG under aegis Secretary General. Saqqaf also suggested we make proposal that if Faysal wished, both parties issue declarations regarding disengagement referring to good offices of United Nations. Saqqaf said parenthetically he saw no reason why unspecified SAG representatives (he probably had himself in mind) should not attend forthcoming Arab League meeting Cairo and use this occasion to talk privately with Egyptian leaders. Saqqaf told Hart he had spent two hours with Faysal after our departure past midnight March 6 - 7 and had informed Faysal that all that we had set forth regarding Yemen was true and he should face up to it. Further "no one is with us on our Yemen policy". Faysal's father, Abdul Aziz, had unified the Arabs. It now fell to Faysal to see House of Saud isolated from Arabs because of Yemen. Saqqaf has assured Faysal he personally was with him come what may, but that this would not save House of Saud. SAG could indeed go to the French and get help (Saqqaf volunteered that so far no deal made with French). French would give help: Planes, pilots, arms of various kinds. But they would do it for their own purposes which certainly included revenge on Nasser for Suez debacle and perhaps also in reflection deteriorated French relations with United States and United Kingdom. But when time came French would turn away again. Meantime what would Arabs say to spectacle of House of Saud taking its main protection against UAR from country which for long time has been regarded as Arab enemy. Americans on other hand, were offering help because they were genuine friends. SAG long relationship with them should be preserved. Saqqaf again urged that we say nothing during forthcoming discussion which would touch Faysal's deep sensitivity.

My presentation to Faysal followed approach suggested by Saqqaf and discussion specific 8 points disengagement program. These were:

1. An agreement by the SAG to suspend its support to the Royalists.

2. An agreement by the UAR to begin withdrawal of its troops simultaneously with suspension of aid to the Royalists by the SAG.

3. Agreement to stationing of neutral observers in Nejran - Jizan area to certify support activities suspended and at Hodaydah and YAR airports to certify to outward movement of UAR forces and equipment.

4. Cooperation of SAG with SYG's representative to reach agreement on modalities thru him with YAR and UAR. (Faysal made clear he wants nothing to do with YAR, only with UAR.)

5. Prevention by SAG of efforts of Imam's adherents to obtain continued support from Saudi territory.

6. Implementation of UAR pledge to remove troops, and restatement publicly of its determination to withdraw.

7. Military support to the SAG to deter attacks and, if necessary to shoot down intruding, hostile aircraft; development of an adequate air defense system; expediting training of Saudi Air Forces and Air Defense personnel.

8. Encouragement of moderation and concentration on domestic affairs by YAR.

Faysal obviously had prepared self to follow approach similar to mine since had opened Arabic copy last evening's presentation at exactly this spot. Discussion which followed differed considerably in atmosphere from that of March 6, being on a practical rather than broad political plane and without Faysal's earlier emotional display. He indicated he prepared to accept in principle suspension of aid provided that he could be assured that UAR forces would indeed get out of Yemen, reiterating on numerous occasions he had no confidence whatever in Nasser. He nevertheless affirmed sincerity of his government's desire to facilitate my mission which he greatly appreciated. He would have to refer any tentative decisions reached at this meeting to his government but was of course hopeful of its concurrence. (Comment: By this Faysal has in mind probably consulting primarily Princes Khalid, Fahd and Sultan and to a lesser extent other members of the Council of Ministers.) Regarding need for assurances that UAR forces would indeed be withdrawn, I stressed that reciprocity and simultaneity were basic principles of program. Faysal then said he wished to have following points included in program of suspension of aid to Royalists:

1. There should be stoppage of all UAR raids and all other actions of aggression on Saudi territory whether by air or sea.

2. At the time that simultaneous disengagement agreed upon there should be cessation of all military actions by UAR forces in Yemen.

3. These UAR forces should return from field activities to their bases in Yemen, pending withdrawal, where they would be under supervision of neutral observers.

4. These UAR forces should then be withdrawn with all officers and ammo, and all the equipment such as tanks, planes, etc, which they had introduced into Yemen.

5. As soon as there is agreement on all these points, Saudi Government will order cessation of all aid to the Royalists.

6. There must be a time limit to the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Yemen.

I responded that these were matters properly to be addressed not to me but to mediator and subject for negotiation with him. I would be glad to pass them on to the Secretary General but they were not my business to handle. I emphasized this point particularly.

Prince Faysal then said he was ready to hear from me regarding point 7 (the nature of the military support which the United States Government prepared to extend to Saudi Arabia against further aggression). I outlined this and he expressed appreciation but asked what would happen if between now and the time disengagement was reached, Saudi Arabia suffered further attacks. He felt matter urgent in extreme as there was "something like revolution developing in country and people are asking `where is Government of Saudi Arabia'". I responded that President has addressed very strong personal representation to Nasser asking that there be no bombing during period mediation effort. We inquired whether Faysal had reports of any bombings during last few days. Faysal and Saqqaf replied in negative but Faysal thought this meant little as attacks had been stopped before only to be resumed. I responded I felt confident that if I had Faysal's agreement on various points disengagement I could be back in United States by Saturday evening and have attention of Secretary General at once drawn to urgency of mediator's presence in Saudi Arabia, that mediation and disengagement process could then be set in motion very rapidly. Faysal replied that he did indeed concur in principle on United States proposals although he would have to consult his government.

Faysal requested that details regarding United States proposals for developing Saudi Air Defense program be sent via Colonel Wilson direct to MODA as these matters were technical.

At close of meeting Faysal warmly expressed gratitude for my mission and for President's letter to him with which he said "I am in one thousand per cent agreement".

Comment: Believe way now open for prompt contact with United Nations mediator indicating his presence here urgently desired.

I plan return Washington Lufthansa flight 645 leaving 0110 March 9 due Washington 1700 same day.



182. Memorandum From the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, March 8, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 65 D 28, Syrian Coup. Secret.


Syrian Coup Again To Put Arab Unity to Test

Syrian Army Revolts. A Syrian Army group headed by a National Council of the Revolutionary Command has overthrown the Syrian Government and assumed power. Assurances of support from a number of military units around the country appear to afford the new group a good chance of success. No leaders of the Council have yet been identified. The tone of a proclamation defining its aims, however, indicates that the new regime will be anti-Communist and will favor "Arab unity on a sound basis." It identifies the revolution with the "liberated" states (i.e., the UAR, Yemen, Iraq, and Algeria).

Cairo and Baghdad React With Alacrity. The UAR and the new revolutionary regime in Iraq greeted the Syrian coup enthusiastically. Both warned against any outside interference, and Iraq has placed its Army at Syria's disposal. Nasser is likely to attempt to exploit the present situation in Syria to offset his defeat there a year and a half ago and to bolster his recent success in the Yemen. Unless the UAR and Iraq have reached a solid basis of understanding on the course of Arab unity, a contest between them for dominance in Syria may again develop.

Implications for Area Monarchs. Now surrounded by "liberated" states, King Husayn and Crown Prince Faysal will consider their positions even more precarious. They may, therefore, seek more concrete assurances of support from the United States./2/

/2/At the March 8 Secretary's staff meeting, Talbot "commented briefly on the effects on Jordan and Saudi Arabia of the coup in Syria. Regarding Yemen, he said that the royalists' position had worsened." (Department of State, Secretary's Staff Meetings: Lot 66 D 147) Later that day, Secretary Rusk responded to a question asked at a news conference by stating that the United States was concerned about the independence of the Arab states, and he noted in particular: "We are very much interested in the independence and security of our friends in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and will be very much alert to any threats against them." For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, p. 602.


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

Washington, March 8, 1963, 9:42 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 SYR. Secret. Drafted by Barrow (NEA/NE), cleared by Strong, and approved by Talbot. Sent to London, Paris, Ankara, Rome, Bonn, Tel Aviv, Tehran, USUN, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Jidda, Taiz, Cairo, Damascus, Rabat, Tunis, Khartoum, Algiers, Tripoli, and Benghazi.

1536. Department's preliminary assessment is that Syrian coup is essentially an attempt to achieve an internal re-alignment which will make SARG more acceptable to both Baghdad and Cairo. As between those poles, new group seems attracted more towards Baath and Iraq. However considerations re military posture towards Israel--which enhance importance UAR--should mean that new group will be even-handed and look for means improving relationship with Cairo. New regime has already served notice that it will lend support to Yemeni republican regime. From perspective Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, coup is an obviously unfavorable development likely to increase apprehensions of those governments.

Whereas not beyond realm of possibility that there will be early attempt to achieve some kind of federation among Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus, Department would expect this to be at first only the loosest form of association with each country zealously guarding its political autonomy and independent economic system. We would also expect defense establishments remain separate with attempt toward more effective coordination. Only field in which full unification possible could be conduct of foreign policy along non-aligned and anti-Zionist line. However for foreseeable future military posture vis-a-vis Israel likely remain defensive.

New Syrian regime will probably be anti-Communist, though extent to which it will act against Syrian CP members may be tempered a) by vigorous Soviet protests recently made to Iraq and b) by fact that Syrian CP is less of an internal threat than was Iraq CP.

If queried regarding US attitude, you may state US regards this as an internal matter, we hope to establish friendly relations with whatever Syrian government emerges, and we will consider problem of recognition in due course after new regime's de facto control becomes definitely established.



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

JCSM - 197 - 63

Washington, March 9, 1963.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 67 A 4564, Iraq 000.1--1963. Secret.

US Policy for Iraq (U)

1. Reference is made to memoranda from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), dated 21 February 1963 and 5 March 1963, subject as above./2/

/2/Neither printed. (Ibid.)

2. From all indications, the present Government of Iraq is anti-communist. If confirmed by subsequent developments, this situation should provide opportunities favorable to the Free World, particularly the United States, to increase its influence in the area.

3. Contingent upon such confirmation, US policy should be directed toward solidifying the position of the new Government of Iraq, strengthening its anticommunist posture and its confidence to deal with communist threats or blandishments, and fostering favorable relations between Iraq and the US Allies in the area.

4. Because of Iraqi ability to pay and to avoid undue criticism from US Allies, it is recommended that any military equipment furnished be on a sales basis. Training offered should be on a reimbursable basis for the most part, but the approved policy should not preclude offering training in special cases on a grant basis when it is in the US interest.

5. In support of such a policy the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that Iraqi requests for military assistance sales be considered on a case-by-case basis, consistent with existing US regional commitments and objectives in the area. In this respect, consideration should be given to situations such as the present UAR-Yemen-Saudi Arabia dispute. US arms policy should avoid general advance exclusions of any particular category of weapons or training for Iraq, and the United States should be prepared to make immediate response to any Iraqi requests received in order to take maximum advantage of any favorable situation. Without prejudice to any category of conventional armaments, sales assistance to Iraq should emphasize professional and technical training, air and surface transportation, internal security, and other defensive armaments.

6. Detailed comments on the proposed Department of State policy paper on this subject, which was enclosed with the 5 March 1963 memorandum cited in paragraph 1 above, are attached hereto./3/

/3/Attached to the source text is an undated draft memorandum from Talbot to McGhee on "US Arms Policy for Iraq." No copy of the final paper has been found in Department of State files.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

John M. Reynolds/4/

Major General, USAF

Vice Director, Joint Staff

/4/Printed from a copy that indicates Reynolds signed the original.


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

Washington, March 10, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 SYR. Confidential. A typed note on the source text reads: "Approved per telephone call from White House--Mr. Komer, 8:00 p.m. 3/11/63. Telegram sent Damascus 3/11." Instructions were sent to Damascus in telegram 369 at 9:50 p.m. on March 11 informing the Embassy that the Department of State believed a formal act of recognition would be appropriate in view of Syria's request and the new regime's assumption of all executive and legislative powers. The Embassy was instructed to deliver a note to Foreign Minister Salah al-Bitar informing him of U.S. recognition of the new Syrian regime and expressing the good wishes of the U.S. Government. Ibid., POL 16 SYRIA)

Attached to the original of this document sent to the White House is a note from Komer to Bundy that reads: "Strongly agree. UK seems to be going ahead and we should too, soonest. Same reasoning applies as on Iraq. There is always possibility of another coup (or two) soon. But we just can't cut things this fine." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Syria, 3/63)

Request for Contingency Authority to Recognize the New Syrian Regime

The Syria coup of March 8 appears to have been completely successful with no major resistance. The National Council of the Revolutionary Command is exercising supreme power and has installed a cabinet composed of ten Baathists, five pro-Nasserists, two Army officers and three of unknown political affiliation. Salah al-Din Bitar, a leader of the Baathist movement since 1942, is the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Bitar, who was Foreign Minister in the pre-union cabinet of 1957, was among the more friendly elements in the then anti-United States Syrian Government. He is a moderate socialist and ardent pan-Arabist but had differences with Nasser during the union and will undoubtedly seek to preserve Syria's identity. He is likely to seek close ties with Baghdad and to maintain amicable relations with the United Arab Republic.

The position of President Qudsi is still obscure. No new Chief of State has yet been named but if Qudsi is replaced the problem of recognition of the new regime will arise.

We believe similar factors which motivated our prompt recognition of Iraq are operative in this case. Having announced its intention to respect its international obligations, the new regime (a) meets the legal criteria; (b) is of anti-Communist persuasion and will seek friendly relations with the West on a basis of non-alignment; (c) is anti-Zionist but will maintain a defensive posture vis-a-vis Israel; (d) will seek Arab unity but will preserve Syria's independent identity; (e) in the long run, together with Iraq, will provide a counter-weight to Nasser's influence in the northern Arab states; and (f) will oppose the present regimes in Saudi Arabia and Jordan but will not deliberately threaten United States interests.

Since Iraq, the UAR and Jordan have already announced recognition, we recommend that the United States, in consultation with the UK, also announce recognition if and when Qudsi is eliminated or if appointment of a new Chief of State is announced. A proposed recognition statement is enclosed./2/ If President Qudsi should by chance remain in office, no formal act of recognition would be required.

/2/Not printed.

Ambassador Knight, who is in the United States on consultation, expects to return to his post after a short leave.



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

Washington, March 10, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 308, Memoranda to the White House. Secret. Drafted by Barrow and Davies on March 5 and cleared by Talbot.

President Nasser's Letter to President Kennedy of March 3, 1963

/2/The Embassy in Cairo transmitted the text of the letter in telegram 1362, March 4. (Ibid., Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN) On March 13, the Department of State sent the signed original of the letter and an unofficial translation to the White House. The March 13 covering memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy bears a notation: "White House agrees no reply necessary." (Ibid., POL 26 YEMEN)

President Nasser's letter in response to President Kennedy's letter of January 19, 1963/3/ indicates by its length and cordiality that Nasser values his relations with the United States and seeks to maintain the personal rapport developed through correspondence with President Kennedy. Key points in the letter are summarized in the first enclosure.

/3/See Document 135.

In essence, the letter conveys the following:

1) The UAR intends to honor its commitments made in accordance with President Kennedy's proposals of November 16, 1962.

2) The UAR does not intend to invade Saudi Arabia or subvert its government, although revolution may come about because of internal factors.

3) The UAR reserves the right to take whatever action it deems necessary to halt outside intervention in Yemen.

4) President Nasser records his deep thanks for and appreciation of the President's endeavors and wishes them the success they are worthy of, as a constructive and sincere effort for a peace based on justice.

We recommend that the attached telegram be sent to Ambassador Badeau authorizing him to express to Nasser or to Ali Sabri (a) thanks for Nasser's frank letter in which are found some welcome constructive elements, (b) continued concern for Saudi Arabian integrity, and (c) hope for restraint in future UAR actions./4/

/4/The telegram was sent to Cairo on March 10 as telegram 1800. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 UAR - US)

The Department recommends that no publicity be given to this exchange of messages.

William H. Brubeck/5/

/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.





A. Appreciation for the President's letter of January 19, 1963 both for its content and for its timeliness in removing suspicions about US intentions.

B. Acknowledgement of UAR understanding of US ties with Saudi Arabia.

C. Reiteration of UAR desire to avoid outside intervention in the affairs of Yemen.

D. Assertion that Saud and Faysal invaded Yemen from outside necessitating a UAR response.

E. Claim that the UAR has documents proving the participation of American pilots transporting troops and equipment from Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the Yemeni border, but were operating under binding contracts and in circumstances which necessitated their actions.

F. Assertion that the UAR seeks no war with Saudi Arabia and that the differences between the Saudi Arabian Kingdom and the UAR are not of the kind to be settled by armed clash.

G. Presentation of the following as the cardinal bases of UAR policy:

(1) The UAR does not consider her mission to be the random distribution of revolution among other peoples of the Arab world; revolutions arise from internal causes.

(2) Sanguinary clashes are not a binding feature of revolutions and in cold war conditions might even be counterproductive; hence the UAR favors natural progress and has even gone so far at times as to accept a truce with elements considered hostile to revolutionary progress.

(3) The UAR can spare neither time nor effort for futile adventures and disputes; if the sequence of events is studied, the UAR posture is defensive against assaults launched by those who "refuse to believe in the inevitability of the sun rising after the darkness of the long night".

H. Definition of UAR attitudes as follows:

(1) The UAR is open minded to all endeavors in support of peace based on justice;

(2) The UAR does not seek to dictate the means by which the United States convinces the Saudi royal family or the UK of the unwisdom of their present policies;

(3) The UAR cannot remain inactive before premeditated and aggressive attempts against the rights of the peoples of the Arab nations.


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

Washington, undated.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret. Drafted by Grant and Davies. This memorandum was transmitted to Bundy on March 11 under cover of a memorandum from Brubeck that indicated that it covered points to be discussed at a White House meeting at 4:30 p.m. on March 11, which McGhee, Talbot and Bunker would attend.

Resolution of Yemen Conflict

I. What Has Been Accomplished

A. In accordance with instructions from the President, Ambassador Bunker met with Crown Prince Faysal in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, on March 6, 7, and 8, and presented eight specific points for a disengagement program./2/ These were:

/2/Transcripts of Bunker's meetings with Faysal on March 6 and 7 were transmitted to Bundy under cover of memoranda from Brubeck, dated March 27 and 19, respectively (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN and NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 116, Gen. Truce. Cease-fire. Armistice (Bunker Mission & UN Effort) Other than tels.) For Bunker's initial reports, see Documents 180 and 181.

1. An agreement by the SAG to suspend its support to the Royalists.

2. An agreement by the UAR to begin withdrawal of its troops simultaneously with suspension of aid to the Royalists by the SAG.

3. Agreement to stationing of neutral observers in Najran - Jazan area to certify support activities are suspended, and at Hodeidah and YAR airports to certify to outward movement of UAR forces and equipment.

4. Cooperation of SAG, with SYG's representative to reach agreement on modalities through him with YAR and UAR.

5. Prevention by SAG of efforts of Imam's adherents to continue support from Saudi territory.

6. Implementation of UAR pledge to remove troops, and restatement publicly of its determination to withdraw.

7. Military support to the SAG to deter attacks.

8. Encouragement of moderation, and concentration on domestic affairs by YAR.

Crown Prince Faysal indicated that he was prepared to accept in principle the suspension of aid, provided that he could be assured that UAR forces would indeed get out of Yemen. In addition, Faysal wished that consideration be given to the following points:

1. There should be a stoppage of all UAR raids and all other actions of aggression on Saudi territory whether by air or sea.

2. At the time that simultaneous disengagement is agreed upon, there should be cessation of all military actions by UAR forces in Yemen.

3. These UAR forces should return from field activities to their bases in Yemen, pending withdrawal, where they would be under the supervision of neutral observers.

4. These UAR forces should then be withdrawn with all officers and men and all the equipment such as tanks, planes, etc., which they had introduced into Yemen.

5. As soon as there is agreement on all these points, the Saudi Government will order a cessation of all aid to the Royalists.

6. There must be a time limit to withdrawal of all the foreign forces from Yemen.

Ambassador Bunker made clear that the foregoing points should be properly addressed to the mediator and are subject to mediation by the latter. Faysal agreed to receive Dr. Bunche without preconditions.

B. Ambassador Bunker met with U Thant and Dr. Bunche on March 10/3/ and reviewed his discussions with Prince Faysal. Dr. Bunche in turn revealed the results of his trip: 1) Nasser wants only an assurance from Saudi Arabia that it would end its assistance to the Yemeni Royalists, and 2) the YAR wants firm assurances from Saudi Arabia and the UK that they will put an end to infiltration into Yemen, expulsion of the Yemeni Royal Family from Saudi Arabia, and Saudi and UK recognition of the YAR. In return for the foregoing, the YAR would refrain from intervention in Saudi Arabia and Aden.

/3/Reported in circular telegram 1554, March 12. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)

Bunker urged that the Secretary General dispatch Dr. Bunche to Saudi Arabia immediately. He stressed that Faysal is in a receptive frame of mind and, additionally, it is essential to keep the mediation exercise in motion in order to avert the resumption of UAR attacks on Saudi Arabia.

II. The Role of the UN

The Secretary General indicated he was prepared to send Dr. Bunche to Saudi Arabia, provided 1) instructions to the Saudi representative to the UN make clear that Faysal would receive Dr. Bunche without requiring that he visit the Royalists in Yemen, and 2) reactions were obtained from Cairo and Sana'a to the USG proposals (minus point 7 relating to US military support to Saudi Arabia).

The Department has sent an instruction to Ambassador Hart to seek a clear and unconditional invitation to Bunche from the Saudi Arabian Government.

However, Dr. Bunche's terms of reference to date charge him only with finding facts. The Secretary General feels that before undertaking mediation the assent of all parties must be obtained. Quite clearly this is counter to Faysal's feeling that mediation should be conducted between the Saudi Government and the UAR.

III. Courses of Action

A. It is essential that mediation be initiated immediately.

B. Our first preference, but one we should not press on the SYG is to have Dr. Bunche proceed to Riyadh by the middle of this week with full authority to mediate.

C. If the SYG is not prepared to send Dr. Bunche to the area in the course of this week, we should be prepared to ask Ambassador Bunker to return to the area by mid-week as the United States emissary. In so doing, we would be in the position of meeting the SYG's second requirement, i.e., trying out our eight points on the UAR and YAR. Appropriate consultations would be held with the SYG by Ambassador Bunker before his departure.

D. Ambassador Bunker should have the authority in his discretion to seek Faysal's private assurance that he will suspend aid to the Royalists, during the period of mediation, against Nasser's agreement to avoid any hostile actions against Saudi Arabia. Should Ambassador Bunker decide to exercise his discretionary authority, he must have the further power to promise dispatch of the air squadron shortly after Faysal's agreement to suspend, provided such a promise is necessary to achievement of the desired results.

E. Otherwise, the air squadron should be dispatched simultaneously with Faysal's agreement to disengage and Nasser's agreement to begin troop withdrawal. Its primary mission would be to reassure the Saudis and deter UAR attack against Saudi territory; ostensibly it would be there on a training mission to accelerate development of a Saudi air defense capability.

F. If Ambassador Bunker returns to the Near East pursuant to C above, he should seek to carry the mediation either to conclusion or to the point where it can be brought to a successful conclusion by the UN.


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

Washington, March 11, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, Bunker Miscellaneous. Secret.

We have reached the decisive stage in our effort to damp down Yemen affair before it blows up. Faysal finally seems aware that he's losing and was receptive to Bunker proposals (though still trying to get UAR tied down first). Nasser and Sallal also seemed most reasonable with Bunche. Our next moves must be two-fold:

(1) Keep up momentum of mediation effort. Since UN is moving too slowly, we'd better send Bunker out again to continue working out mutual disengagement preliminaries. Then perhaps UN could take over. But this complex operation may take weeks.

(2) Therefore, we should do something to make sure nothing goes off the rails during this interim.

Biggest risk here is that if Faysal keeps running guns to royalists, Nasser may resume attacks. He agreed to hold off in response to your flat warning, but only for an indefinite period. True, odds are against Nasser upping the ante again; he's winning anyway, he doesn't want to jeopardize our aid, and he's well aware of risk he'll end up fighting us (we've moved new DD's to Red Sea, etc). But at some point he could decide we're merely shielding Saudis. If so, US would almost have to react, having told Nasser we're on a collision course.

We could try to meet this risk by stringing Nasser along, telling him we're making progress with Faysal while warning him not to resume attacks. We could lend credibility to this by further precautionary naval movements (part of Sixth Fleet to Eastern Med), and perhaps intelligence signals.

But our best assurance against Nasser upping the ante would be if we could tell him that Faysal has quietly suspended aid to the royalists. Here we could capitalize on Faysal's own fear (expressed to Bunker) lest Nasser resume attacks before our air cover arrives. I see two options here (both of which could be tried):

A. Go back and tell Faysal that if he'll quietly suspend aid right now (and let us verify it) we'll send squadron. Risks of this course are that if Faysal buys it we get ensnarled in a military commitment of indefinite shape and duration to rickety Saudi regime. What happens if there is a revolution while US squadron is there, etc. But we are already committed to send a squadron under Bunker proposal. We want to buy time for Faysal on grounds a bird in the hand worth an unknown in the bush. Finally, Saudi Arabia aside, we must worry about Jordan, Libya, and other places at a time when trend is against the "monarchies". So we want to show Nasser we mean it when we say we have certain interests we're determined to defend. Having done so we can then disengage with less risk that Nasser will test us in future cases.

B. If we hesitate to send air squadron now, alternative would be appeal to Faysal to suspend aid temporarily in return for private assurance Nasser would similarly continue to hold off attacks on Saudis. We would negotiate this out, using rationale with both sides that it essential to give mediation time to succeed.

Faysal might not buy either of the above options since they offer him less than the Bunker proposals. But if he's running scared they at least offer him reassurance against UAR attack. They also cost us nothing if they're rejected.

In sum, we're close to success on getting Yemen war damped down. Recommended sequence to tide us over critical period would be:

1. Since UN moving slowly, send Bunker back pronto, this time to Cairo and Sana to feel them out on our "eight-point" proposals. UN could take over after he'd laid groundwork.

2. Bunker also return to Riyadh to (a) tell Faysal his "conditions" about UAR withdrawal are unsalable; (b) appeal to Faysal to accept temporary "cease fire" pending mediation along lines option B above; (c) be prepared, if Faysal reluctant, to sweeten pot by offering to send our squadron along lines of option A.

The risks and loopholes involved in these proposals seem to me less than those of failing to follow up fast on your warning to Nasser plus Bunker's mission, thus risking renewed escalation by Nasser to which we'd almost have to react.

R.W. Komer/2/

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


189. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, March 11, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen, Bunker Miscellaneous. Secret. Drafted by Komer. The meeting was held at the White House. A briefing paper from Komer to Kennedy, conveying several papers on the Yemen situation prior to this meeting is ibid. Another account of the meeting, made by the CIA's Chief of the Near East and South Asia Division, James H. Critchfield, is in the Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 D 01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Memoranda for the Record. For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

President's Meeting on Yemen, 4:30 pm, 11 March 1963

The President

Dean Rusk

George McGhee

Phillips Talbot

Ellsworth Bunker

Harlan Cleveland

Paul Nitze

Frank Sloan

General E.G. Wheeler

John McCone

James Critchfield

McGeorge Bundy

Carl Kaysen

R.W. Komer

Ambassador Bunker reported on his mission to Saudi Arabia. He found Faysal in a bad frame of mind. The latter said he had left here last October confident of our support. Since then he had refrained from sending more than insignificant aid to the Yemeni royalists, while Nasser was sending huge forces and heavy equipment. Then Nasser began attacking the Saudis; Faysal wanted to know the US reaction. His view was that both sides should get out and leave the Yemeni to settle their own affairs.

Bunker made clear to Faysal that we had not changed our policy; we wanted to help him but found it impossible to do so while he in effect was trying to overthrow a government we recognized. To do so would put us in a position contrary to international law. Bunker then put our "eight-point" proposal. After some discussion Faysal agreed in principle but added six more conditions with respect to the manner of UAR withdrawal, which Bunker thought mostly unworkable. Bunker told Faysal these were a matter for the mediator. In Bunker's view he left Faysal in a better frame of mind, feeling that the US did want to support him. When Bunker pressed him to receive Bunche, he agreed. He said he had not refused to see Bunche though he felt it unfair for Bunche not to see the royalists.

Ambassador Bunker then described his attempt Sunday to convince U Thant and Bunche that Bunche should return immediately to the area to keep the mediation effort in motion. U Thant suggested that we first get the reaction of Nasser and Sallal to our eight-point proposal since Bunche was authorized only to "fact-find", not mediate. U Thant also felt he couldn't send Bunche out again until Faysal agreed explicitly to receive him. If these points could be cleared up first, then U Thant might agree to UN mediation.

Bunche described to Bunker his talks in Sanaa and Cairo. Sallal was agreeable to mutual disengagement; YAR would allow the UAR to start withdrawing its forces on three conditions: (1) as soon as Faysal publicly pledged his word to stop aid to the royalists; (2) as soon as the Yemeni royal princes left Saudi Arabia; (3) a commitment from the UK and SAG to establish diplomatic relations (though he apparently would not make this a precondition for disengagement). Nasser had said his conditions were the same as the YAR's but did not think it necessary for the royal princes to leave Saudi Arabia; he would be satisfied if they left the immediate border area and settled in Saudi Arabian cities where they could be watched.

In sum, Bunker's impression was that on the basis of Faysal's acceptance of the eight-point proposal and Bunche's soundings, the job of disengagement could be done.

The President asked about the timing of UAR withdrawal vs. Saudi withdrawal. Since one was intervening overtly and the other covertly, it would be hard to get simultaneity. How could we get Nasser to withdraw first? What signal would Faysal give? It was pointed out that Nasser would know from his intelligence sources if Faysal suspended aid, so this wouldn't be a problem. The President further asked how we could expect Nasser to hold off further attacks. Would he agree to do so for the period needed? Talbot believed so because Nasser had in effect told us he would hold off for a few weeks.

There was discussion of whether Bunche should handle the next phase of the mediation exercise or whether Bunker should go if the former were at all reluctant. Secretary Rusk felt that if Bunche wouldn't agree Tuesday afternoon to go immediately, we ought to send Bunker back. It was considered that if Bunker prepared the groundwork, Bunche would pick up later. The President said we should tell Bunche there was no use in his going unless he was willing to go the route. Bundy suggested that both Bunche and Bunker should go, but Rusk felt they'd get in each other's way. Cleveland explained U Thant's hesitation by saying we had changed the scenario in three ways since U Thant had agreed initially to send Bunche: (1) we had sent Bunker; (2) we had offered a military commitment to the Saudis; (3) we had started the mediation process ourselves.

When the President queried whether it was preferable to have the US or the UN handle the mediatory effort, Rusk favored the UN, since if the situation deteriorated we would want to have the UN involved. U Thant was apparently reluctant to get involved because of the big power (US) role; in fact, however, the big power role was an additional reason why the UN should get in, not stay out. Cleveland felt, however, that if we downgraded the UN now by having it look like a US catspaw, it would be harder to get them in later.

The President asked what other steps were necessary. Komer suggested that the immediate problem was to keep Nasser from upping the ante while the mediation effort was underway, which in turn required that we make every effort to get Faysal to suspend aid. Nitze pointed out the difficulty of knowing whether Faysal had actually suspended aid if he promised to do so. As to the military sanctions available to deter Nasser, the President noted that the JCS seemed very reluctant to get involved in the Middle East, in contrast to other areas. He was concerned as to how we could keep Nasser turned off.

The President then asked when we had to send our planes in as part of the eight-point proposal. Bundy pointed out that we hoped not ever; it was more the prospect of such support which would work on Faysal than the support itself. The question of whether the planes if sent would be authorized to fire on Egyptian intruders was discussed. Rusk's view was that we wouldn't let the planes fire until after there had been a UN Security Council meeting in effect authorizing such action. The President thought this made sense. General Wheeler asked what we would do if Nasser bombed Jidda, and pointed out that our planes would in fact have great difficulty intercepting intruders over most of Saudi Arabia. The President's view was that we were committed to a "training mission" really and should leave the rules of engagement until later.

Mr. Komer raised again the interim problem of how to get Faysal to suspend aid, suggesting Bunker be given two options: (1) appeal to Faysal for a temporary cease-fire for a brief period while mediation went forward, in return for Nasser's agreeing to suspend attacks on Saudi Arabia; (2) if this were not enough, promise to send our squadron if Faysal would agree to suspend aid. Bunker felt that neither of these proposals had much in them for Faysal and McGhee felt they called for Faysal to suspend aid in return for less than our previous eight-point proposals. The President said that "if we got Faysal turned off, we have got a good line with Nasser." He was anxious to get Faysal to suspend aid and suggested that he write Faysal again or send Bunker.

The President summed up the meeting by saying that we will press on Bunche our sense of immediacy;/2/ if the UN doesn't respond, Bunker should go back out to Riyadh, Sanaa, and Cairo. We would also send another letter to Faysal laying it on the line.

/2/In telegram 2319 to USUN, the Department of State instructed Plimpton to emphasize to U Thant that President Kennedy considered it essential that there be a rapid follow-up to Bunker's mission. Plimpton was to propose that either Bunche proceed to the area, if the Saudis were willing to receive him, or Bunker would immediately return to explain the eight points to Nasser and Sallal. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)

At the end of the meeting the President raised the question of the 9 March article in the New York Times about Nasser suspending attacks because of the US warning./3/ He asked how the story got out, commented that it made us look silly, and wanted an investigation made. Talbot did not know how the story leaked but pointed out that there were many possibilities; he doubted that the professional foreign service had done any leaking. The President suggested we use this as a case study.

/3/Reference is to a story by Hedrick Smith in The New York Times on March 9. In telegram 1795 to Cairo, March 10, the White House instructed Badeau to inform Nasser that the United States was highly embarrassed by the "distorted stories" in the U.S. press and that President Kennedy regretted compromising a confidence between the two leaders. Badeau was also to emphasize the importance of continued UAR restraint while Bunker's mediation effort went forward. The Department of State added to the White House message the caveat that Badeau should proceed with the instructions if he believed it "appropriate." (Ibid., POL 7 US/BUNKER) In telegram 1445 from Cairo, March 11, Badeau advised against delivering the apology. (Ibid.) Additional documentation is ibid., POL 27 YEMEN, and in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic.

R. W. Komer/4/

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


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

Washington, March 12, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 SYR. Secret. Drafted by Barrow on March 9 and cleared by Talbot.


The March 8 Coup in Syria/2/

/2/Notes of the Secretary's staff meeting for March 11 indicate: "Commenting on the Syrian coup, Mr. Talbot said that the Baathists are in control for the time being. The group in power is not seeking recognition and we are trying to get more information prior to deciding on our own position. Referring to the flavor of the coup, Mr. Talbot said that the Syrians and the Iraqis both appear to be seeking close links with Nasser while avoiding domination by him." (Ibid., Secretary's Staff Meetings: Lot 66 D 147) Also on March 11, Rusk's Special Assistant Emory C. Swank reported to Rusk, who evidently had not attended the meeting, that "Talbot commented that Baghdad appeared to know more about the Syrian coup before it happened than Cairo. We think the Baathists are for the time being in control in Syria and will not seek union with Nasser." (Ibid.)

Enclosed is a study of the motivations and internal political implications of the March 8 coup in Syria./3/ Our analysis of the external implications is as follows:

/3/Attached but not printed.

(1) The coup appears to be essentially an effort to end Syria's isolation in the Arab world and to bring about internal re-alignments which would make Syria acceptable to both Baghdad and Cairo.

(2) Our tentative belief is that there are both strong Baathist pro-Iraqi and strong pro-UAR influences, and that the regime inclines slightly toward Baghdad.

(3) Both Baghdad and Cairo are, for tactical reasons, supporting the new regime but a contest between the two for pre-eminent influence in Syria may well emerge later.

(4) The coup obviously will increase apprehensions in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel and will engender more pressures both within and against Saudi Arabia.


In our view the coup increases the urgency of bringing the Yemen conflict to an early close and makes it all the more important that Crown Prince Faysal be persuaded to withdraw from Yemen and concentrate on internal reforms.

Grant Hilliker/4/

/4/Hilliker signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.


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

Washington, March 13, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Staff Memoranda, Komer, Robert W. Secret.

We are convinced that Nasser's renewed small scale bombing of the two Saudi towns is a carefully calculated answer to the leak that we warned him and he agreed to lay off./2/ Rusk's public warning Friday about our concern over Jordan and Saudi Arabia probably also helped./3/

/2/See footnote 2, Document 189.

/3/Reference is to the Secretary's comments at his March 8 news conference; see footnote 1, Document 182.

Badeau will go in pronto to ask what's up. But UAR answer will no doubt be that they assumed "mediation" over since both Bunche and Bunker were back here. They will also say (and correctly) that Saudi supply effort to royalists is still going full blast. But we think UAR will stop now and watch our reaction.

Both sides are trying to force our hand, Faysal to get us to defend him and Nasser to get us to turn Faysal off. Despite our warnings to Nasser, main thrust of our effort still must be to get Faysal to disengage before he commits suicide.

If Bunche doesn't go out today (he got no clear Saudi invite), we plan to send Bunker. In either event we'll recommend personal message from you to Faysal urging him strongly to suspend aid immediately, and reinforcing Bunker's pitch to him that we cannot help him unless he does so. Question is whether we can get him to do so unless we at least offer him the token air squadron.

Meanwhile, we are considering further precautionary deployments and intelligence signals designed to convey to Nasser that we might yet find ourselves in confrontation with him, yet without directly throwing gauntlet in his face.

R. W. Komer


192. National Security Action Memorandum No. 228/1/

Washington, March 14, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NSAM Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 228. Secret.

Secretary of State

Secretary of Defense

Administrator, Agency for International Development

Director, Central Intelligence Agency


Review of Iranian Situation

While I have approved the recent NSC 1550 determination concerning five year military assistance to Iran, I am concerned over the fulfillment of other aspects of the basic strategy which underlay my earlier approval of this military commitment, i.e. that it was intimately linked to an overall strategy for moving Iran toward more effective solutions to its crucial internal problems.

Therefore, I wish a review of our policy and programs in Iran. It should include: (a) analysis of the results achieved to date under our current policy, including the status of local development efforts and military force reductions; (b) our estimate of the likely course of events in Iran; and (c) recommendations, if any, for adaptation or revision of current strategy and programs in this key country. The following questions suggest the problems which I would like covered:

1. Is the thrust of existing U.S. policy toward Iran still basically valid? Is the strategy which it implies feasible under present circumstances?

2. Since the Shah has apparently committed himself to a politically motivated reform program, should we be doing anything to guide it, if possible, into constructive channels? Would active US assistance to this program further our interests? If not, what should be the US attitude?

3. What progress has been achieved during the past year in development of the Third Plan? What is the outlook for its use as the basis of effective development assistance by the U.S. and other donors?

4. What progress has been achieved in strengthening the public and private institutional framework for development in Iran? Are we getting satisfactory movement on integrated planning, establishment of priorities, budgetary controls, tax reforms, and other measures to mobilize Iranian resources for sound development?

5. What is the current and projected pattern of resource allocation among various elements of consumption and investment? Is there a satisfactory relationship between the ordinary budget, including military expenditures, and the development budget? Is the outlook encouraging in this respect?

6. How effectively is the combined use of all our instruments of foreign policy influencing the course of events in Iran? What results can reasonably be predicted from our present effort over the next two to five years?

7. If our existing policy and programs are no longer satisfactory, what changes should be made to produce better results?

I would appreciate a report by the Department of State, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, by 15 April 1963./2/

/2/The Department of State requested that the Embassy in Tehran provide analytical comment on NSAM No. 228 in telegram 684 to Tehran, March 19. (Ibid., Central Files, POL IRAN - US)

John F. Kennedy


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

Washington, March 14, 1963, 10:15 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/BUNKER. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Strong and Seelye; cleared by Talbot, McGhee, and Wallner in substance, and Komer; and approved by Davis. Also sent to Dhahran and repeated to Cairo.

582. Eyes only for Ambassadors Bunker, Hart, and Badeau. Following terms of reference for Bunker approved by President:/2/

/2/The Department of State transmitted to the White House the terms of reference for Bunker's return to the Near East, a status report on Bunker's previous mission, and an appendix entitled "Proposals for Crown Prince Faysal" under cover of a March 14 memorandum from Brubeck to Bundy. (Ibid., POL US - YEMEN) Additional documentation is ibid., POL 27 - 14 YEMEN and POL 27 - 14 YEMEN/UN. A March 14 memorandum from Komer to the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State indicates that President Kennedy approved the terms of reference. The memorandum also indicates that the President desired that if planes were sent to Saudi Arabia (as described in the appendix) it should be described as a "training mission." Kennedy would not approve paragraph B - 3 of the terms of reference regarding rules of engagement until it became necessary, and Bunker and Hart should not discuss the rules of engagement with the Saudis. (Ibid., POL 7 US/BUNKER)

A. Riyadh

1. Ambassador Bunker should deliver President's oral message to Faysal (separate telegram)./3/

/3/See Document 194.

2. He should seek to persuade Faysal to drop those of his "six points" which obviously are impossible of early acceptance by the UAR.

3. He should seek Faysal's agreement to a simultaneous initiation by Saudi Arabia and the UAR of the process of disengagement from Yemen, with verification by impartial observers.

4. If despatch of a USAF air squadron is necessary to achievement of the foregoing, Ambassador Bunker has the authority to promise it.

5. Ambassador Bunker should make clear to Faysal that he plans to stop in Cairo for negotiations.

6. He should endeavor to assure that Faysal sends directly to the SYG an unconditional invitation to Dr. Bunche and that Faysal communicates to the SYG his willingness to cooperate in the disengagement process.

B. Cairo

Assuming success with Faysal

1. Explain eight-point program worked out with Faysal including fact despatch of air squadron to Saudi Arabia was price we had to pay.

2. Get Nasser's agreement to desist from further bombing, indefinitely.

3. Confirm a date for initiation of simultaneous disengagement (withdrawal of initial unit by UAR).

4. Obtain UAR approval for neutral observation in Yemen of UAR troop departures.

5. Establish general understanding on phased troop withdrawal.

6. Seek to persuade Nasser to reaffirm publicly his intention to withdraw.

7. Ask Nasser to exercise his influence on Sallal to desist from further inflammatory speeches against neighboring countries and to reaffirm his desire to live at peace with his neighbors.

C. If necessary, Ambassador Bunker would return to Riyadh to work out further details.



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

Washington, March 14, 1963, 11 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/BUNKER. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Komer and Strong; cleared by McGhee, Wallner, Talbot (in substance); and approved by Davis. Also sent to Dhahran and repeated to Cairo.

583. Eyes only for Ambassadors Bunker and Hart and Badeau. President approved following oral message for delivery by Bunker to Faysal:/2/

/2/The original version of the oral message was drafted in the Department of State and sent to Bundy under cover of a March 14 memorandum from Brubeck. A handwritten correction on the second page indicates a change made in the White House. (Ibid.) A March 14 memorandum from Komer informed the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State that President Kennedy personally approved the message. (Ibid.)

"I much appreciate your reception of my emissary, Ambassador Bunker, and your agreement in principle to our suggestions.

But one problem disturbs me as much as it does you. The proposals you have made for UAR disengagement could not, in our judgment, be successfully negotiated, certainly not within the short time we feel remains in which to avert a broadening of the conflict. Events in Iraq and Syria obviously have established a new atmosphere in the Arab world which can only give new confidence to your opponents and bring new pressures on your Government. The Egyptian offensive in Yemen seems to us on the eve of success. Our intelligence confirms your remarks that revolutionary ideas are abroad in your country. This situation can be corrected if action is taken now. The longer the current impasse goes on, the less chance there is that corrective action will be effective.

Therefore, frankly I think it is emphatically in your interest that the disengagement process begin. I urge that you accept our eight points without conditions or reservations and that you agree to let Ambassador Bunker try to work out with Nasser an arrangement whereby, on a date to be mutually agreed, you will suspend aid to the royalists at the same time the UAR will begin its withdrawal by moving a unit out of Yemen. Both suspension, on your side, and withdrawal, on the UAR side, would be verified by impartial observers. Such undertakings, made to the Secretary General would in our opinion preserve your honor. In this case I would of course be prepared to send the air squadron as Ambassador Bunker has informed you. Nasser has assured me, and I intend to press him hard on it, that after your cessation of support to the royalists the UAR force shall be withdrawn by phases and expeditiously. I believe that these actions are those best calculated to permit graceful disengagement from a difficult situation and to permit Saudi Arabia, with our help, to meet the gathering threats to its interests.

As you know, we have already taken a number of actions, including naval and other demonstrations and warnings to Nasser, designed to underline our interest in the integrity of Saudi Arabia. I must say in all candor, however, that continuation of Saudi involvement in the Yemen, which invites attack from the outside, makes it extremely difficult for me to take further such actions. In sum, we want to help you, but you must make it possible for us to do so.

Please accept all my best wishes. I look forward to hearing from you shortly through Ambassador Bunker." End of oral message.

FYI, President desires that, without retreating in any way from letter or spirit of previous undertakings to Faysal, all concerned seek to avoid giving impression of open-ended US commitment to defend Saudi Arabia under any or all circumstances, or for indefinite long term period. We are prepared to send squadron under terms offered, but we want to avoid future misunderstandings and to preserve US freedom of action.

While recognizing that question may have to be faced at future date, the President also wants you to avoid any discussion with the Saudis at this point on the possible rules of engagement under which our squadron would operate. In particular, if asked by the Saudis whether our aircraft would shoot down UAR intruders, you should state that you are not authorized to discuss this question, since instructions for squadron are being worked out in Washington. End FYI.



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

Washington, March 18, 1963, 12:13 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/BUNKER. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Strong and Barrow on March 16; cleared by Grant and McGhee (in substance), Komer, and Brubeck; and approved by Brubeck. Also sent to Dhahran.

1958. Eyes only for Ambassadors Bunker, Badeau and Hart. Following text of oral message from President to President Nasser to be delivered by Bunker:

"The President has asked me to give you his personal greetings and to express his appreciation for your willingness to receive me. He has asked me to give a full account of my mission in Saudi Arabia and to talk over with you in complete frankness the best means of dealing with the present situation in Yemen.

"The President has instructed me to tell you that his principal concern in this affair has been to support the integrity and honor of all of the parties involved while carrying out his responsibility to his own people to protect vital American interests. Thus if the United States has shown concern for the integrity of Saudi Arabia it has also demonstrated concern for the integrity of the Yemen Arab Republic. If it has shown concern for the security of Aden, it has also demonstrated understanding and respect for the position of the United Arab Republic.

"To all parties and on all occasions the President has urged moderation, restraint and statesmanship and it is to your own sense of statesmanship that he again appeals. In this modern world all nations are interdependent. Few actions, or reactions, between nations can be insulated against international repercussions.

"It is the President's hope that you will explore with me in all frankness the avenues for containing the Yemen conflict and bringing it to an early close."/2/

/2/On March 18, Ali Sabri summoned Badeau to inform him that Nasser had decided that Bunker's visit to Cairo would not be desirable. Sabri assured Badeau that Nasser did not want his action to be interpreted as a desire to inhibit disengagement diplomacy or as a lack of cooperation with President Kennedy's efforts. Rather, Nasser felt that Bunker's visit would make him vulnerable to charges of being pro-American at a time when he was seeking to curtail Communist influence in his country. (Telegram 1508 from Cairo, March 18; ibid.) Consequently, Bunker traveled directly to Beirut after visiting Saudi Arabia, before returning to the United States. Additional documentation is ibid., POL 26 YEMEN and POL 27 SAUD - UAR.



196. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State/1/

Beirut, March 19, 1963, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Secret; Operational Immediate; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Jidda, Cairo, Dhahran for Ambassador Hart, and USUN.

847. Policy. Following more detailed account my meeting with Faysal Riyadh March 17:/2/

/2/The Department of State transmitted the memorandum of conversation to the White House on April 9. (Ibid., POL 7 US/BUNKER)

After presentation warm greetings from President I reported my talks with UN SYG and Bunche and reviewed complications in getting Bunche to Saudi Arabia as mediator. (I decided postpone effort obtain clearcut Faysal invitation to Bunche until second meeting.) I indicated urgency of prompt action to prevent escalation had determined President send me for purpose carrying out next phase mediation effort. UN SYG had concurred and we fully expected UN to maintain key role. If Faysal agreed, I would proceed to Cairo following my talk with him. I then delivered President's oral message with minor modifications and slightly softened phraseology. Faysal listened attentively and when finished, stated he detected in message attempt at intimidating him into accepting set conditions. Took exception to President's references to "new atmosphere in Arab world giving new confidence to your opponents" and existence "revolutionary ideas" in Saudi Arabia. Characterized USG estimate events in and around Saudi Arabia as faulty at best; adding "I regret to say these reports of trouble within country can usually be traced to American sources" at worse represented attempt intimidate him. Intimidation had opposite than desired effect on him. He would die gladly for freedom and honor.

I assured Faysal intimidation furthest from President's mind. On contrary, our frank and forthright account of developing situation as we saw it based on warm friendship, and best interests Saudi Arabia. I spoke with candor and frankness only possible between good friends. Risks involved in escalation of Yemen conflict necessitate prompt commencement disengagement. For this reason President appreciates Faysal's acceptance salient points in USG proposals. Re Faysal's additional points, President considers them essentially procedural detail which would fall into place logically after beginning disengagement. Faysal contended these not details but basic points. Discussion then turned to these points, particularly points two and three which concerned Faysal most. Re point four, Faysal reconciled himself to presence UAR military training mission in Yemen (though insisted should be small) following my exposition dangers YAR turning to Soviets. Re point two, conceded if UAR were attacked by Royalists, could be expected defend themselves. Re point three, I indicated would require time consuming negotiation and, in any case, as with point two, act of withdrawal would take care of this. Essential problem is proceed with disengagement and thus not only satisfy Faysal's points but allow him same time reap substantial advantages. Faysal's private assurance to suspend aid, permitting Nasser begin troop drawdown, would enable USG, backed fully by President, (1) place full weight its influence on UAR carry out disengagement; (2) USG, most powerful nation in world, come unequivocally and effectively to defense Saudi Arabia by bringing in air unit, and through moral force US military power which had effectively served as deterrent many parts of world and I was confident would deter further incursions on Saudi soil; and (3) enable USG initiate an expanded air defense training program giving Saudi Arabia, in time, its own military deterence. I depicted our offer in nature two-pronged program to buttress Saudi Arabia: (1) an effective means of getting UAR troops out of Yemen and thus alleviating pressures on SAG flowing from substantial UAR presence in Yemen; and (2) military shield against possibility future UAR incursions, including dramatic notice-serving to UAR or anyone else USG stands ready protect Saudi Arabia with full force its vast military resources.

I emphasized course we propose consonant with preservation Faysal's honor and dignity; wholly antithetical USG interests impair Faysal's honor and dignity. USG has linked itself closely with Faysal regime in its dedication internal development and last thing President wishes is sullying Faysal's honor.

Faysal expressed deep appreciation warm sentiments but again called attention USG "inactivity" in face UAR attacks. Stated SAG has ability defend itself if necessary (possibly Faysal had reference to calling in mercenaries) and reiterated freedom and dignity paramount importance. Faysal alleged he would not continue rule Saudi Arabia if people do not want him; claimed he does not seek power and would not be displeased if someone else took over reins of government. He asked me inform President he motivated by honor and conviction, and when elects course of action, pursues this course steadfastly. He repeated his confidence and trust in the President.

I repeated again "we want to help you but you must make it possible for us to help. We cannot assist you while you are helping those trying overthrow government we recognize, but the minute you suspend assistance we will be at your side."

Faysal agreed present situation fraught with urgency and repeated Nasser wished to "crush him."

Comment: In spite some periods of tension talks ended on warm and friendly note. I said I proposed to move rapidly, that with Faysal's permission I would proceed Cairo, endeavor secure from Nasser definite time beginning withdrawal and time limit phasing out process and return Riyadh. I was confident we could then work out rapid disengagement and that details with which he concerned would fall into place. Faysal replied he would welcome my going to Cairo, hoped I would have success and would welcome my return there at any time.

In subsequent talks with Saqqaf on plane Riyadh - Jidda he expressed satisfaction with talks, said important thing was to get disengagement started quickly and all other matters would fall into place. He asked me also to try to get on my own initiative some gesture friendly approach by Nasser to Faysal, who formerly friend and supporter Nasser and deeply hurt by latter's attacks. Admitted Nasser had reason for hostility toward King but definitely not toward Faysal, who anxious restore former friendly relations but could not make first move. I pressed Faysal relinquish all "six points" to extent I deemed advisable, believing further pressure would be counter-productive. If we can secure definite commitment from Nasser re withdrawal believe one or two more talks with Faysal will secure his agreement suspend aid basis "eight points" presented to him, but Arab pride and his own appraisal of situation had not quite brought him to point. Believe he realizes his ever increasingly isolated position but unwilling yet acknowledge and desirous receiving best possible terms in order not have to acknowledge complete defeat to Royalists.



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

Washington, March 22, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 3/9/63 - 4/23/63. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text reads: "(Taken from Pres. week-end reading dtd 3/23/63--Tab 2)."

Israeli/UAR nuclear and missile capabilities. What Rusk referred to Thursday was apparently an editorial in the London weekly Jewish Observer and Middle East Review of 2 February on "An Independent Deterrent for Israel." It doesn't mention nuclear weapons but says a decision to proceed on such a deterrent has been taken (for reasons similar to De Gaulle's).

We're pushing ahead on plans for next inspection of Israeli reactor [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified].

Israel's current campaign publicizing German technical help to UAR/2/ suggests not only genuine Israeli concern but also that they: (1) are trying to justify their agent operations in Europe; and (2) may also be attempting to create justification for going ahead on their own nuclear program.

/2/Documentation on this subject is in Department of State, Central Files DEF 12 UAR, DEF 12 - 1 UAR, POL ISR - UAR, POL GER - UAR, and AID (WGER) 8 UAR.

As for the UAR, we have carefully reviewed the Israeli evidence Mike Feldman showed you sometime ago. The UAR is trying to develop surface-to-surface missiles, using hired German help, but this effort looks far less menacing than the Israelis suggest. Nor do we have any evidence that the Egyptians are planning to use cobalt or strontium 90 isotopes in radiological warheads. This is technically most difficult, and probably beyond UAR capabilities.

We ought to try hard to forestall a new UAR/Israeli missile and nuclear arms race and the most promising option seems to be some form of tacit arms control along the lines of the Rostow paper you read last month./3/ State is working on this project, but a word from you to Rusk would give it a needed push. I hope to feel out UAR attitudes on my trip next month, but any formal initiative ought to wait till Yemen is out of the way.

/3/Not further identified.

Bob Komer


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

Washington, March 23, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 NR EAST - US. Secret. Drafted by Barrow and cleared by Strong, Talbot, Padelford, General Fuqua, Elwood, and Anderson (AID).


Prospects for Arab Federation and United States Posture Toward the Syrian Arab Republic

Results of tripartite negotiations in Cairo indicate agreement in principle has been achieved on some form of Syria - Iraq - UAR federation./2/ However, below the surface there is a contest for power between Nasser (and his supporters in Syria and Iraq) and the Baathist organization which may make it difficult to construct a mutually acceptable power structure for the federated state. In any case latent rivalry between Syria and Iraq on one hand and the UAR on the other is apt to continue whether or not a federation scheme is agreed upon. In the circumstances the following is the general posture we plan to adopt:

/2/On March 10, delegations from Syria and Iraq, meeting in Damascus, issued a joint communique agreeing on the need to move rapidly toward a federal union of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Subsequent negotiations among delegations of the three nations to decide upon the first steps toward unification were held in Cairo. (Circular airgram CA - 10067, March 15; ibid., POL 2 - 2 NR EAST)

1) A Syro-Iraq counterweight to Nasser's influence might have advantages for the United States but we believe it would more likely flourish as a home-grown product and we are thus studiously avoiding any implication of bias toward one party or another.

2) Irrespective of whether Baathists or Nasserists gain ultimate ascendancy in Syria, we perceive no direct threat to US vital interests and thus plan to seek friendship with the established government whatever the political orientation of its leaders.

3) We believe that any military unification among Syria, Iraq and UAR would be more a matter of form than substance and would not have any significant bearing on the current military balance in the Near East. Thus we should not be unduly swayed by probable alarms raised by other states of the area.

4) We plan to tactfully keep the Syrians aware of the dangers of a revolutionary policy in Jordan and would like to reach tacit agreement with them not to activate the Arab-Israel issue, the latter without prejudice to quiet efforts to make progress on the Arab refugee question or recognition of Israel's right to draw a fair share of Jordan Waters.

5) We believe our current economic and military assistance program and arms policies are generally adequate.

In summary, we expect the new Syrian regime initially to be cautious in their attitude toward us but we believe there is a good chance for a gradual increase in mutual confidence, assuming survival of the regime.

Enclosed is a more detailed treatment of this subject./3/

/3/Attached but not printed.

P.W. Kriebel/4/

/4/Kriebel signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.


199. National Security Action Memorandum No. 231/1/

Washington, March 26, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, S/S - NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 231. Top Secret. On March 25, McCone met with President Kennedy. According to McCone's record of the meeting, he raised the "question of Israel acquiring nuclear capability" and gave the President Document 179. The President then instructed Bundy "to direct a letter to Secretary Rusk asking that he, in collaboration with DCI and Chairman, AEC, submit a proposal as to how some form of international or bilateral US safeguards could be instituted to protect against the contingency mentioned." (Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 D 01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Memoranda for the Record)

The Secretary of State

Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission

Director of Central Intelligence


Middle Eastern Nuclear Capabilities

The President desires, as a matter of urgency, that we undertake every feasible measure to improve our intelligence on the Israeli nuclear program as well as other Israeli and UAR advanced weapon programs, and to arrive at a firmer evaluation of their import. In this connection he wishes the next informal inspection of the Israeli reactor complex to be undertaken promptly and to be as thorough as possible.

In view of his great concern over the destabilizing impact of any Israeli or UAR program looking toward the development of nuclear weapons, the President also wishes the Department of State to develop proposals for forestalling such programs; in particular we should develop plans for seeking clearer assurances from the governments concerned on this point, and means of impressing upon them how seriously such a development would be regarded in this country./2/

/2/On April 5, Brubeck sent Bundy a memorandum by Talbot dated April 3 describing the Department of State's immediate response to NSAM No. 231. The memorandum indicated that the Department had already formed a small working group under the chairmanship of NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary James Grant to pursue an arms limitation and control arrangement in the Near East. To meet the requirements of NSAM No. 231, the Department of State had requested Israel to allow semiannual visits to Dimona. The working group expected to have developed by early May a clear plan of action for securing Israeli-Egyptian agreement on nuclear and missile limitation. (Department of State, S/S - NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 231) Documentation relating to the NEA working group activities is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 72 D 438, Authority to Consider Steps for NE Arms Limitation Probe, Spring - Summer 1963--NSAM 231. Additional documentation is ibid., S/S Files: Lot 68 D 135, Chron Summary of the Arms Probe with Nasser and Related Events, 1963 - 1964; and NEA/IAI Files: Lot 80 D 102, McCloy Probe.

McGeorge Bundy



200. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, March 26, 1963.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 B 01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Memoranda for the Record. Secret. Drafted by McCone on March 27. The conversation was held in Secretary Rusk's office.

Discussion with Secretary Rusk in his office--26 March 1963; 4:45 P.M.

1. Mr. McCone raised the question of policy in the Middle East, most particularly with respect to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and a number of important sheikdoms and dynasties. American business interests and many men of long experience in the area had expressed concern to the DCI that we were playing an increasingly close game with Nasir (which was understandable in the interest of keeping him away from the Soviet bloc), but there was a danger that in doing this we would complicate our problems with Saudi Arabia and others. There is no clear policy concerning the withdrawal of Nasir's troops from the Yemen; the Bunker report seemed to deal merely with persuading Nasir not to cross into Saudi Arabia or to bomb in there in Saudi Arabian territory, and finally, the British had expressed grave concern over our policy and the speed with which we jumped in to recognize the rebel government in Yemen.

2. Rusk replied that it was our policy to support important American interests, and for that matter Free World interests, in the Middle East. This could best be done now by support of the Saud government; however, this government was exceedingly fragile, several of Saud's brothers are now in Cairo, and we were working toward the objective of securing first, the stopping of Nasir's activities across the Yemen border; second, the stopping of Faysal's military support of Badr and other royalists which seemed to be a pretty bad bet as this group apparently were quite corrupt; third, the ultimate withdrawal of all Egyptian troops from Yemen. We wished to do this and still maintain some uneasy relationship with Nasir and keep him out of the Bloc, and finally, if necessary, were prepared to put a U.S.-manned air fighter group in Saudi Arabia. Rusk expressed the view that there should be a minimum of official contact during this sensitive period and for that reason did not favor the proposed Rostow-Komer trip to Egypt. Rusk turned to discussion of the consequences of a fall of the Saud government by the death of the King and the murder of Faysal and wondered if the ARAMCO people had any facilities existing to protect their interests in such an event, at least for the time necessary to deploy American protection forces into the area. He mentioned we now have five destroyers in the Red Sea.

Action: McCone agreed to explore with the ARAMCO and Standard Oil of California people, the capacity of ARAMCO to protect their installations during such a crisis.

[Here follows item 3 on an unrelated subject.]

4. McCone raised the question of Israel's development of nuclear weapons. Rusk shared DCI's views on this prospect and the consequences and noted that a London newspaper had predicted unreservedly that the Israelis were following an atomic weapon development course and they would succeed and would explode a device in the near future. The various steps [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] were all taken into consideration as means of influencing the Israelis to abandon their course and to expose their entire program and objectives, at least to the United States.

[1 paragraph (9 lines of source text) not declassified]

[Here follow items 5 and 6 on unrelated subjects.]


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

Washington, March 28, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 44, Refugees, PCC, General Policy. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Talbot, Strong, and Crawford on March 27.

Arab Refugees

1. The Situation

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

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

2. Objectives

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

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

3. Possible Course of Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Administration is pledged actively to seek progress in ending the Arab-Israel conflict. The present PCC initiative, which is a step in this direction, was undertaken at the instance of the United States Government and was launched by despatch of your letters of May 11, 1961, to six Arab leaders and your talk with Ben-Gurion on May 30, 1961./2/ Given the central role of the refugee problem in the Arab-Israel conflict, there is merit in mounting a full-scale effort to resolve it. The problem becomes more pressing each year with the growth in the number of refugees and their discontent, and the rising impatience of contributor nations to get out from under the financial burdens of supporting the refugees. Ben-Gurion agreed with you that a solution on the twin bases of resettlement with compensation and repatriation was "worth a try". Yet Israel so far has refused to acquiesce in proposals which would enable a try to be made despite our far-reaching efforts to meet Israel's vital concerns. (In this connection, I recommend you read Enclosure 1.0/)/3/ There is general consensus, including domestic Jewish leaders, that Israel can accept 100,000 Arab refugees without endangering its security. If Israel acquiesces, any failure to achieve progress will clearly be attributable to the Arabs and will open the door to United States and United Nations disengagement.

/2/See Foreign Relations, vol. XVII, Documents 47 and 57.

/3/Identified as "Score Card," but not attached to the source text. See footnote 7, Document 105. A second indicated attachment is printed as Document 96.

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

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

6. Consequences of Failure

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

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

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

7. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Dean Rusk/4/

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


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

Washington, March 28, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Secret.

Status Report on Mission of Ambassador Bunker, Special Presidential Emissary for Resolution of the Yemen Conflict

Documents Enclosed

1. Eight-point proposal made to Faysal and the latter's six points./2/

/2/See Document 187.

2. Nine-point (maximum) proposal made to Nasser, and fall-back position./3/

/3/Printed below.

3. Talking points for Ambassador Bunker's call on the UN SYG and Dr. Bunche, March 29 or 30, 1963./4/

/4/Attached but not printed.

4. Terms of reference for Ambassador Bunker's talk with Nasser in Cairo, April 1, 1963./5/

/5/See Document 203.

5. Terms of reference for Ambassador Bunker's talk with Faysal following his meeting with Nasser./6/

/6/See Document 203.

6. Draft message of instructions to Cairo and Jidda regarding Ambassador Bunker's forthcoming visit./7/

/7/Telegram 2154 to Cairo, March 28, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN)

Commitments Made to Faysal

1. After Saudi Arabian suspension of aid to the Yemeni royalists has been verified by neutral observers, station a US air unit together with portable radar equipment and operating personnel in Western Saudi Arabia.

2. Concurrently offer to expedite the training of Saudi Air Force and Air Defense personnel and to an expanded air defense training program; to provide air and ground training personnel, technicians and necessary equipment (at Saudi expense) in sufficient numbers to initiate an augmented training and construction program.

3. Make available to the Saudis for purchase air defense equipment in sufficient quantities and consistent with improving operational capabilities to meet legitimate Saudi requirements in the field of air defense.

Objectives of Current Trip

1. Obtain Nasser's and Faysal's agreement to disengage, set date, get parties to communicate with UN SYG.

2. Persuade Faysal to invite Dr. Bunche to Saudi Arabia unconditionally.

3. In event of failure with Faysal, withdraw offer of air squadron, but offer help in improving Saudi air defense.

4. Obtain Nasser's agreement to abstain from further attacks on Saudi Arabia indefinitely.

D. Rowe/8/

/8/Rowe signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.




I. Proposals for Disengagement

1. An agreement by the SAG to suspend its support to the Royalists on a date to be determined.

2. Prevention by SAG of efforts of Imam's adherents to continue support from Saudi territory.

3. Cessation of UAR attacks on Saudi territory.

4. An agreement by the UAR to begin withdrawal of its troops simultaneously with suspension of aid to the Royalists; to state publicly its determination to withdraw; and to complete the withdrawal of troops over a period of ______ months.

5. Agreement to stationing of impartial observers in Najran-Jizan area to certify support activities are suspended, and at Hodeida and YAR airports to certify to outward movement of UAR forces and equipment.

6. Cooperation of UAR, SAG and YAR with SYG's representative to reach agreement on modalities of disengagement.

7. With commencement of disengagement, UAR should cease all offensive military action in Yemen.

8. With commencement of disengagement, UAR forces would be withdrawn from field activities to their bases in Yemen pending withdrawal from Yemen.

9. Agreement by the UAR to exercise its influence on Sallal to desist from further inflammatory speeches against negotiating countries and to reaffirm his desire to live at peace with his neighbors.

II. Proposals for Disengagement

1. An agreement by the SAG to suspend its support to the Royalists on a date to be determined.

2. Prevention by SAG of efforts of Imam's adherents to continue support from Saudi territory.

3. An agreement by the UAR to begin withdrawal of its troops simultaneously with suspension of aid to the Royalists by the SAG, and to complete withdrawal of troops over a period of ______ months.

4. Cessation of UAR attacks on Saudi territory.

5. Agreement to stationing of neutral observers in Najran-Jizan area to certify support activities are suspended, and at Hodeida and YAR airports to certify to outward movement of UAR forces and equipment.

6. Cooperation of UAR, SAG and YAR with SYG's representative to reach agreement on modalities of disengagement.

7. Agreement by the UAR to exercise its influence on Sallal to desist from further inflammatory speeches against negotiating countries and to reaffirm his desire to live at peace with his neighbors.


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

Washington, March 30, 1963, 3:51 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye, cleared by Davies, and approved by Talbot. Also sent to Jidda.

2191. Following are terms of reference for Ambassador Bunker's talks in Cairo and Riyadh:/2/

/2/Bunker (accompanied by Seelye) returned to the Near East on April 1, first visiting Cairo and then Riyadh.

A. Cairo--

1. Deliver President's special message./3/

/3/See Document 195.

2. Press Nasser to approve nine proposals for disengagement submitted to him by Ambassador Badeau March 23./4/

/4/Badeau reported on his conversation with Nasser in telegram 1562 from Cairo, March 23. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US (BUNKER)) For the nine and seven point proposals, see the Enclosure to Document 202.

3. If Nasser refuses accept certain of these points, fall back to alternate list of seven proposals (believed to be irreducible minimum) but without requiring deadline for completion of withdrawal of UAR units.

4. Get Nasser's agreement to desist from further attacks on Saudi Arabia indefinitely, whether or not Faysal agrees to disengagement.

5. Emphasize to Nasser that Bunker mediation effort must be kept on UAR-SAG plane if it is to succeed; therefore, we depend on Nasser to obtain YAR acquiescence to disengagement conditions approved by UAR and SAG and to persuade YAR to drop its separate conditions (i.e., prior recognition of YAR by UK and SAG, and expulsion of Royalists from Saudi Arabia).

6. Express USG hope in abatement UAR-SAG propaganda war and improvement UAR-SAG relations in wake disengagement.

Note: Ambassador Bunker should not inform Nasser that USG intends to despatch an air squadron to Saudi Arabia as "price" for Faysal's agreement to disengage; this information would be transmitted after Faysal agrees to disengage and before the squadron arrives in Saudi Arabia.

B. Riyadh--

1. Convey President's greetings and President's fervent hope agreement on disengagement about to be reached.

2. Report on his meeting with Nasser, without being specific on what Nasser accepted.

3. Assuming Nasser's agreement to essential proposals for disengagement, present proposals as your estimate of what can be accepted by both parties with honor.

4. Inform Faysal USG prepared send USAF air squadron to Saudi Arabia, if Faysal desires, soon after disengagement process arranged (assuming Nasser has agreed to begin troop withdrawal). However, if Faysal by commencement of second talk has not given in, inform him United States withdraws offer once Bunker leaves Riyadh without Faysal's acceptance of disengagement.

5. Reiterate USG readiness expedite training of Saudi air force and air defense personnel, and to assist in creating an improved air defense (for use as appropriate even if Faysal refuses disengagement).

6. Seek clear-cut, unconditional invitation to Bunche to visit Saudi Arabia.



204. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) /1/

Washington, April 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Iraq. Secret.

Answer to the President's query today/2/ about what we're doing for the new Iraqi regime is that we're being as helpful as possible without getting into an unwarranted big new aid program. State feels we've gone about as far as we can until the Iraqis can be more specific about their needs.

/2/According to Legere's notes of the daily White House staff meeting on April 2, when Bundy asked Saunders, in Komer's absence, what actions the United States could take to indicate its support of the Iraqi regime, Saunders replied that "Chief MAAG Iraq had recently requested some tanks for Iraq forces, but that the use contemplated for these tanks was probably to help quell Kurdish unrest, and this is something which we do not necessarily want to do. Here the subject dropped." (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Daily White House Memos)

The new Iraqi regime has made only a vague pitch for economic aid to help justify its crackdown on the Communists. However, it has been tied up with Arab unity negotiations and hasn't yet re-evaluated the Soviet aid program to isolate projects it might turn over to the West. So the next move is the Iraqis'.

We want to keep our aid on the technical assistance and credit sales level rather than getting into development loans. The Iraqis have adequate capital from oil revenue if they use it wisely. AID has already raised its modest allotment for participant training ($600,000 to $800,000). Also, we've told Iraqis we're ready to help them arrange for IBRD, UN, or private US technical aid; to provide Ex-Im credit; to encourage private US investors and perhaps negotiate an investment guaranty program when Iraqis are ready; and to encourage Western trade.

We've already agreed to sell them the 12 helicopters they asked for, and it's up to them to decide what kind they want (cost range is $4-15 million depending on model). State will probably also approve selling 40 light tanks they've requested to replace some we gave them before 1958. A new policy paper awaiting clearance through the Talbot-Harriman echelons draws the line at selling heavy equipment that could be moved through Syria to the Israeli front. However, we see no serious problem in selling light tanks, small arms and ammo, commo equipment, or even transport aircraft if requested. AID and DOD are also considering civic action possibilities, but this depends on Iraqi willingness to let us work closely with their military.

The Kurds may object to our military sales. (We've already turned down their request for help--see Baghdad 611.)/3/ However, we think it's more important to be responsive to the new regime. Besides, we want Kurds to negotiate a settlement with the new government. If that fails, our interests will be better served if the government can control the Kurds than if the Kurdish rebellion is successful enough to invite Soviet or Iranian meddling.

/3/See footnote 3, Document 208.



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

Cairo, April 3, 1963, 10 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Emergency; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Jidda, USUN, and London and passed to the White House.

1655. From Bunker. Embtels 1632, 1645./2/ With Ambassador Badeau I called on President Nasser at 1800 this evening for further discussion disengagement proposals as per reftels. In light of two previous talks, had revised proposals to conform to what I believed would secure acceptance from Nasser. Proposals were as follows:

/2/In telegram 1632 from Cairo, April 1, Badeau reported on a meeting with Nasser on April 1, during which Bunker delivered President Kennedy's oral message (see Document 203). In telegram 1645 from Cairo, April 2, Badeau reported on Bunker's April 2 meeting with Nasser and Ali Sabri. (Both in Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)

1. Suspension by the Saudi Arabian Government of its support to the Royalists on a date to be determined.

2. Prevention by the Saudi Arabian Government of efforts of Imam's adherents to continue support from Saudi territory.

3. Cessation of United Arab Republic attacks on Saudi territory.

4. Establishment of a demilitarized zone extending for a distance of 20 kilometers on either side of the demarcated Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border from which military forces and military equipment would be excluded.

5. Within 15 days of Saudi suspension of aid to the Royalists, UAR would begin withdrawal of its troops from Yemen. UAR would continue a phased withdrawal of its forces, in the course of which UAR forces would be withdrawn from field activities to their bases pending their departure from Yemen.

6. Stationing of impartial observers on both sides of the border in demilitarized zone, who would be available as occasion requires for use outside demilitarized zone, to certify suspension of Saudi support activities and outward movement of UAR forces and equipment from Yemeni airports and seaports.

7. Cooperation of UAR, Saudi Arabia, and YAR with Secretary General's representative or other mutually acceptable mediator in reaching agreement on process and verification of disengagement.

8. Agreement by UAR to exercise its good offices on Sallal to desist from further inflammatory speeches against neighboring countries and to reaffirm his desire to live at peace with his neighbors.

I again urged on Nasser importance of at least simultaneous token withdrawal of UAR troops at time of suspension of aid to Royalists by SAG. He agreed to withdrawal of one or two companies at time of SAG suspension of aid. This would be followed by further withdrawal of battalion within 15 days of Saudi suspension of aid as contemplated in point five above. I did not press again for definite time limit on withdrawal UAR forces since it apparent in last talk Nasser not prepared to put definite termination date on withdrawal. It is my impression, however, that he would like to withdraw as rapidly as possible but wants first to determine whether Faisal carrying out in good faith commitment to suspend aid and to prevent efforts of Imam's adherents to continue support from Saudi territory.

Nasser also insisted on removal of Imam's family, consisting of group of 15 in all, from border area, suggesting they retire to Jidda or Riyadh in order to insure against further subversive efforts on their part.

I said that as I did not propose to visit Yemen, I assumed Nasser would be able to obtain acquiescence from Sallal to whatever disengagement conditions were approved by UAR and SAG. I referred to YAR's separate conditions, e.g., prior recognition of YAR by UK and SAG, and referred to my previous comment that I believed once disengagement took place recognition by UK would follow and that in the long run SAG could not be only holdout. Nasser said he had not yet informed Sallal of our talks but would do so tonight. I proposed to Nasser that I proceed Jidda tomorrow to obtain Faisal's further view and would then return to Cairo within a few days. He said he would be glad to receive me at any time except Saturday April 6 when all-day meeting scheduled with Syrians and Iraqis.

Comment: In view talk today, changes will be made in points two and five of proposals. Point two would include stipulation of retirement of Imam's family from border area and point five would provide for simultaneous suspension of aid to Royalists and withdrawal of UAR troops from Yemen. Though initial withdrawal will be a token amount, this more or less what was contemplated from the beginning. While I realize fully difficulties ahead in presentation to Faisal, believe considerable progress has been made from Nasser's original position and am still hopeful further talks both sides may enable us to move ahead with disengagement. Believe SYG should be prepared to move rapidly in situation. As in previous conversations, although hard bargaining involved, talks were informal, relaxed and moderate.

More detailed message re three talks with Nasser follows. Ambassador Badeau's excellent and complete Memcons of three conversations should arrive Department Monday./3/ He has been most helpful here as has Ambassador Hart in talks with Faisal.

/3/Badeau's memoranda of conversations held on April 1, 2, and 3 were transmitted to the Department of State in airgram A-724 from Cairo, April 3 (ibid.); airgram A-732, April 3 (ibid., POL 16 YEMEN); and airgram A-733, April 6 (ibid., POL 27 YEMEN).



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

Washington, April 4, 1963, 9:18 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL ARAB-ISR. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford; cleared by Strong, Talbot, and Slater; and approved by Johnson. Repeated to Amman and Cairo and pouched to Beirut, Damascus, London, and Jidda.

674. During 75-minute courtesy call on Deputy Under Secretary Johnson April 2, Israel DepMinDef Peres/2/ commented as follows:

/2/Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres visited Washington April 2-4 and, at the request of the Israeli Government, held discussions with State and Defense Department officials with respect to consummating the Hawk missile transaction. Documentation on the visit is ibid., DEF 12 ISR. The memorandum of conversation between Johnson and Peres is ibid., POL NR EAST.

1. There are major changes afoot which affect Near East area and Israel. Primary among these are recent setbacks to Soviets and corresponding improvement in US position in area; Arab unity moves which show Nasserism still popular but far from all-pervasive; breakup of simplified Monrovia-vs-Casablanca groupings in Africa with attendant emergence of conflicting Pan-African and Pan-Islamic tendencies which Nasser will try exploit; "augmentation of military hardware" in Near East where Nasser already has or is acquiring air-to-air, ship-to-shore, ground-to-air, and ground-to-ground missile capacities which add to his self-confidence and against which countermeasures lacking.

2. One change which not inimical Israel's interest is increased US influence and prestige.

3. Israel sees this as ideal time for USG to use this newly-increased influence to oppose "Arab belligerency", i.e., to make it clear that transgressions of the Arab-Israel territorial status quo would be directly countered by US military strength. Every effort should be made bring about direct Israel-UAR negotiations, which are prerequisite of any area peace. In such moves, USG would find Israel a "willing partner" as Israel has no ambitions running counter present territorial status quo. USG "too reluctant" in pushing Nasser in this direction. He needs US more than vice versa and US influence now at all-time high. Situation may not be so propitious five years hence.

4. In immediate terms, Israel would like see US efforts bent toward maintenance of status quo in Jordan and reforms within House of Saud. US aid should not be so focused on Nasser.

5. In long run, overthrow of Hussein and Saud-Faisal unavoidable. Former is courageous and generally acts wisely. However, he has too many senior officers plotting against him. Israel doing what it can prolong his tenure, with what it regards as useful effect on Nasser, by including overthrow in Jordan among three situations it has publicly proclaimed might be regarded as causes for unilateral Israel action (other two being interference re Aqaba transit and Jordan waters). USG can help by continuing assist Hussein identify his enemies and encourage his measures popularize himself. This regard, appointment of PriMin Samir Rifai has already improved Hussein's popular image somewhat.

6. GOI has "definite information" UAR used gas as weapon in Yemen.

In course of conversation Deputy Under Secretary Johnson:

1. Doubted UAR missile development will have much military significance for considerable time to come.

2. Said USG deeply opposed introduction of nuclear weapons capability in area.

3. Said USG considers it important work for strengthened UNTSO operation. (Peres replied Israel has almost built-in resistance to UNTSO operations and cannot agree there anything UNTSO does which US could not do better by direct exercise of "good offices".)



207. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Assistant Secretary State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) and the President's Deputy Special Counsel (Feldman) /1/

Washington, April 5, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 11/7/63-11/17/63. Confidential. Drafted by Talbot.


Mr. Feldman telephoned today to say that when Deputy Defense Minister Peres of Israel had called on him in the White House they were walking along a corridor and "bumped into" the President who later said he would like to see Mr. Peres. At a subsequent meeting the President asked Peres what danger points he saw in the Near East. According to Feldman, Peres said that the major danger point could arise in Jordan, where officials are not loyal to the King who consequently could be upset. There were three possibilities. 1) If there should be outright intervention by the UAR, this would certainly call for a reaction by Israel. 2) If the King should be overthrown by internal subversion this would be very difficult for Israel which would have to watch the situation very carefully and take what measures would be necessary. 3) If the King were assassinated and succeeded by a purely Jordanian Government, Israel probably would take no action as it supports the idea that each Arab country should choose its own government.

In response to another question by the President, Peres according to Feldman, said that the UAR is the only Arab country that Israel really fears. He launched on a discussion of UAR rockets, etc. The President, Feldman said, took the opportunity to say that the United States is very very concerned about any proliferation of nuclear weapons and that he, the President, would strongly hope that Israel would not develop or obtain this kind of weaponry. In reply Feldman said that Peres had given an unequivocal assurance that Israel would not do anything in this field unless it finds that other countries in the area are involved in it.


208. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq/1/

Washington, April 5, 1963, 9:07 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 IRAQ. Confidential. Drafted by Killgore and Davies on April 4, cleared by Strong and Judd, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to London, Ankara, and Tehran.

331. Embtel 611./2/ Department increasingly concerned by dangerous potentialities of failure GOI-Kurdish negotiations and resumption hostilities. United States policy remains unchanged; we consider problem strictly one between GOI and Kurds. However, consequences breakdown current negotiations such that effort to persuade both sides of advantages equitable settlement through mutual compromise warranted. You may, therefore, pass word to Talabani that Mulla Mustafa's message transmitted USG, which fully endorses positions taken by Embassy officer. You may also indicate that Embassy authorized to inform each side informally of its hope for equitable solution to problem and its belief that there are many advantages to Kurds in reasonable compromise with GOI in current negotiations. We wish avoid discussion of details of compromise.

/2/In telegram 611, April 1, the Embassy in Baghdad conveyed the content of a message from Kurdish leader Mulla Mustafa delivered by Jalal Talabani, the head of the Kurdish delegation in Baghdad for negotiations with the Iraqi Government. In the message, Mustafa offered friendship to the United States, requested assistance for the Kurdish revolt, and asked to meet with a U.S. representative. In response, an Embassy officer said that the United States considered the Iraqi revolt an internal matter and would not help the Kurds, and that a U.S. official could not meet with Mustafa. (Ibid.)

In its contacts with Kurds, Embassy may draw on following points as appropriate:

1. Resumed conflict could vitiate gains achieved so far.

2. There are many advantages to Kurds in forming integral part Iraqi state.

3. USG understanding of and sympathy for legitimate Kurdish aspirations within Iraqi state will in no circumstances be allowed adversely to affect cordial USG relations with new Iraqi regime.

4. Kurdish willingness to accept less than total Kurdish aspirations, which in US view are unrealistic, would create greater degree of confidence necessary to calm and reasonable negotiation of remaining differences.

Concurrently, Embassy should inform GOI of USG representations to Kurds and urge GOI be forthcoming in meeting Kurdish aspirations to reasonable degree. Presentation should stress that USG policy has not changed and continues regard Kurdish dispute as internal GOI matter in which we have not and will not interfere directly or indirectly. We taking present initiative because of our strong interest in seeing GOI consolidate its internal position. While we would not wish deal with question in detail we believe equitable compromise solution to Kurdish problem can and must be found. In our view, mutual suspicions existing between GOI and Kurds constitute greater danger to successful negotiations than substantive differences between two sides. Reassuring GOI gestures could therefore be very important. (FYI. We have in mind release of prisoners and end of economic blockade. End FYI.) We urge GOI negotiate with patience and determination to achieve non-violent settlement.

For London. Inform UK of foregoing and express USG hope that UK Ambassador Baghdad will be similarly instructed.


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