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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 361-395

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

Washington, November 15, 1963, 8:05 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL-26 IRAQ. Secret. Drafted by Killgore, cleared by Davies, and approved by Jernegan. Sent to Baghdad, Amman, Jerusalem, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Alexandria, Damascus, Aleppo, Jidda, Taiz, Dhahran, Athens, Nicosia, Tehran, Ankara, Istanbul, Bonn, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, and Kuwait.

908. There follow SITREP and Department's tentative assessment current Iraqi crisis:

Present Situation

On November 13 long simmering dispute between moderate and extremist factions of Iraq's Baath Government burst into open. Extremist leader, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Salih Saadi, and his chief supporters exiled to Spain. Apparent victory of moderates proved short-lived, however, when on following day moderate leaders Hazim Jawad, Interior Minister, and Talib Shabib, Foreign Minister, also exiled. Situation remains confused with indications Iraq will be governed by Baath Party National (international) Leadership until new Regional (Iraqi) Party elections can be held within four months.

Behind the Scenes

Factionalism within Iraq Baath Party, which seized power in coup last February, based on differences over (1) speed of implementing full socialization and (2) amount of power to be shared with non-Baath groups. Immediate crisis precipitated by moderates' conviction that Saadi preparing power play of his own. Reaction of pro-Saadi faction to his exile demonstrated moderate faction could not control bulk of Party and National Guard (organization of armed young militants created by Baath). This led Prime Minister Bakr (and Defense Minister Ammash) to accede to extremist demands for exiling of moderate leaders.

Prime Minister Bakr appears be devoted to Baath and man of genuine moderation, placed in impossible dilemma. He might have mustered bulk of Iraq Army to crush National Guard, but this involved ordering slaughter of Baath youth in Baghdad; if Army had failed defeat National Guard, moderate leaders would have been executed as traitors; if Army succeeded, GOI would have found itself without Party support, at mercy predominantly non-Baath military.

The Future

Earlier indications that Saadi planned early return to Baghdad appear be incorrect. This appears fortunate as might have initiated more dangerous phase or even showdown between opposing factions. Eventual showdown between Saadi faction and moderates might pit augmented National Guard and other security elements against portion of Army with heavy equipment, with Air Force stand unknown.

Embassy Baghdad believes sincere cooperation between opposing factions out of question. One would sooner or later move against other. Embassy sees possibility establishment of Military regime, with or without Baath participation, or such a regime dominated by Baath. Long-term prospects of Baath to govern Iraq and create Syria-Iraq unity impaired by overt and violent intra-Party strife. Whatever the ultimate outcome of present crisis, mystique of Baath Party, as organization of disciplined and dedicated idealists able to deal with Arab World's many problems, has suffered.

Rusk

 

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

Washington, November 16, 1963, 6:07 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, REF PAL. Confidential. Drafted by Buffum, Campbell, and Sisco; cleared by Talbot and Jernegan; and approved by Cleveland. Sent to Tel Aviv and repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Ankara, London, and Paris.

1440. Ref: urtel 2105./2/ Palestine Refugee Item./3/ (This instruction subject to clearance by Secretary Monday)

/2/Dated November 16. (Ibid., REF PAL 3)

/3/Between November 4 and 21, the U.N. General Assembly's Special Political Committee discussed the annual report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA covering the period July 1962-June 1963. (U.N. Doc. A/5513) On November 7, the Department of State, in telegram 1350, transmitted to USUN for consultation with other delegations the text of a U.S. draft resolution that, among other points, reiterated a request contained in General Assembly Resolution 1856 (XVI) that referenced paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 (III) and asked the Commission to continue to seek progress on the Palestine Arab refugee question. (Ibid., REF 3 UNRWA) On November 12, Ambassador Harman telephoned Cleveland to present Israel's objections to the U.S. draft resolution. (Telegram 1398 to USUN, November 12; Department of State, Central Files, REF PAL 3)

1. Dept has reassessed situation in SPC on PalRef item in light reaction to our resolution, Arab resolution, and Israeli direct negotiations res. In determining what our next step should be, we are motivated primarily by desire to assure that outcome will, to maximum extent possible, leave door open to further quiet talks with Israelis and Arabs on refugee question, reduce Arab antagonism and suspicion which have been aroused by PCC report, and keep to minimum difficulties with GOI.

2. We believe it necessary to consider political situation which will evolve as result our attitude in UNRWA item in context whole range of near eastern questions we will be facing during coming year. These include following:

a. Highly adverse impact among Arabs which will result when we announce at pledging conference 5% reduction in relief component of our contribution to UNRWA;

b. Complications in our relations with Arabs as result of Gruening amendment;

c. Significant exacerbation of our relations with Arabs which must be anticipated over coming months when we side with Israel at the time of diversion of Jordan waters.

3. We are also concerned at possible outcome of GA consideration UNRWA item this year if we continue to stand on our present position, which is to seek adoption of our resolution in present form while opposing both Arab resolution and Israeli resolution. According to our estimate, it is probable but not certain that our resolution would receive 2/3 majority in present form, that Arab draft would certainly receive 2/3 majority and that Israeli draft would be defeated. Such a situation is not desirable. At best this would mean adoption of our resolution and Arab resolution with certainty that we would be exposed to charges of abandoning our traditional support of paragraph 11. Adoption of Arab resolution and defeat of Israeli resolution would certainly be blamed on us by Israel. Moreover, such situation would leave Israel in worst possible position because Assembly, for first time in years, would have opted for outright Arab position, defeated Israeli effort and damaged US relations with Arabs which would reduce our ability help Israel and moderate anticipated difficulties of next few months.

4. We agree with you that our stand on para 11 issue cannot be blurred as last year. Taking all above into account, we conclude that best course for US is to seek way of assuring passage our own resolution, in manner which reestablishes our bona fides on paragraph 11, and results in agreement by Arabs and Israelis not to press their resolutions to a vote. We think best chance of achieving all these objectives is to amend our present draft, replacing present operative paragraph 4 with following language:

"Renews its request to the Palestine Conciliation Commission to continue its endeavors to find a way to achieve progress on the Palestine Arab Refugee problem pursuant to paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 (III)."

5. Accordingly, at appropriate time after Israeli resolution is tabled, you should go to the Israeli delegation and tell them of our intention to amend our resolution as indicated above. Suggest you draw on foregoing and following additional points as appropriate to show Israel why we believe this course of action is in Israel's interest as well as our own:

a. It designed to prevent adoption of a purely Arab resolution;

b. It seeks to sidetrack Arab property rights proposal as well as several other objectionable features which Israelis have emphasized to us;

c. You may emphasize our considered judgment that Israeli resolution for direct negotiations would be defeated and that this in combination with adoption of Arab resolution would represent a major defeat for Israeli objectives. You should continue reiterate our belief that Israelis should look to other factors rather than hold US responsible for diminution of support in GA on UN res. (See Deptel 1378)/4/

/4/Dated November 9. (Ibid., REF 3 UNRWA)

d. To Israeli admonitions that this course of action will mean end of talks as far as Israel is concerned, you should discreetly remind them that solution of refugee problem is above all to Israeli interests and that US Government in best position to protect Israeli interests in any negotiations. In addition, you may assure Israelis that in order to ease any problem adoption our resolution may cause for them, US would seek to view future talks with Israelis as extension of talks already begun last year and would conduct them on same basis. Important to distinguish between practical solution and symbolism. If settlement eventually reached on basis limited repatriation and massive resettlement, Israelis would achieved major victory even though Arabs permitted retain face-saving symbolism.

You should, of course, make perfectly clear to Israelis that our willingness to revise our resolution is based on expectation of commitment not to put Arab res to a vote. Fact that Pakistanis, as one of sponsors, has already indicated desire for one res should be helpful. It ought to be possible to get present sponsor to put some pressure on Arabs.

For Tel Aviv: Upon receipt flash instruction you should explain our intentions to GOI.

Rusk

 

363. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (Quinn) to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Iraq 1963. Secret.

S-18, 895/P-3

Washington, November 18, 1963.

SUBJECT
(U) Military Take-Over in Iraq
/2/

/2/Talbot sent Rusk a similar report on developments in Iraq on November 18. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23-9 IRAQ)

1. The internal struggle between extremists and moderates of the Pan-Arab Socialist Baathist movement has provoked a military take-over in Iraq, seriously threatens Baathist control in Syria, and may lead to a resurgence of Nasser's influence in the Arab world.

2. The Iraqi military, long dissatisfied with Baathist activities, were goaded into action by the intemperate actions of the National Guard, the tool of the extreme wing of the Baathist Party which stands for a rapid socialization of the country. The abortive 13 November revolt of the Guard aroused the armed forces and the fact that the Baathist international leadership appeared to support the extremists raised military fears that the Guard would try to take over control from the armed forces. President Arif, a lukewarm Baathist and a supporter of Nasser, took advantage of this discontent to rally the military and oust the civilian Baathist leadership. While many of the officers now in positions of authority are at least nominal Baathists, their relations with the Party will undoubtedly be strained and it appears unlikely that they will relinquish power in the immediate future. At the present time, Arif has been granted extraordinary powers by the National Council of the Revolutionary Command (NCRC) which in effect is the ruling body in Iraq today. The reorganized NCRC includes Arif as Chairman and CinC and the top military leadership--Air Force Commander Tikriti as Deputy Commander in Chief, the Army Chief of Staff, Tahir Yahya, the division commanders, and other military leaders. One of the NCRC's first acts was to dissolve the National Guard whose acts were branded as "unnational." The tone of the new regime's communiques reflect a pan-Arab rather than a Baathist tendency. While Arif has asserted that Iraq will adhere to Iraqi-Syrian "statements and commitments," he also stated that Iraq will work with the other Arab states "particularly the UAR." The Iraqi military take-over may therefore lead to better relations between Iraq and Egypt and slow down the moves toward bilateral Iraqi-Syrian relations. Arif can be expected to encourage closer ties with Egypt but his ultimate ability to maintain control is in some doubt since he is distrusted by many of the military leaders, partly because he is pro-Nasser.

3. Syria is jittery over the repercussions of the Iraqi developments. First reports from Damascus indicate that the Baathist extremist wing is in control but the current tension could lead to a coup attempt there by one or more of the many ambitious Syrian officers who aspire to personal power.

4. Egypt is remaining outwardly neutral but undoubtedly is satisfied with this obvious setback to the Baath which was posing a real challenge to Nasser's claim to Arab leadership. Jordanian forces were on the alert prior to the Iraqi take-over but no additional reaction has been noted.

5. This information has been provided to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and to interested elements of the Joint Staff.

William W. Quinn

Lieutenant General, USA

 

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

Washington, November 18, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 229, POL-22 Incidents, Disputes, Arab-Israeli Dispute. Secret. Drafted by Crawford on November 16 and cleared by Jernegan and Davies.

SUBJECT
Anticipated Special Problems in the US-Arab Relationship--Information Memorandum

1. I am increasingly troubled by the current and prospective draw down of the "money in the bank" with the Arabs which we have built up with considerable effort over the past several years and which is essential to help us meet serious problems just over the horizon.

2. Recent actions which have put us on what the moderate Takla of Lebanon calls a collision course with the Arabs include the following:

a. Rediscovery by the Arabs that they can obtain a Soviet veto of US-UK initiative on behalf of Israel (the Security Council action in which we sought to condemn the murderous actions of Syrians in the Almagor attack).

b. Arab reactions to our seeming to resile from the traditional formulation of support of Paragraph 11 of Security Council Resolution 194(III), which Israel wants to sweep under the rug and the Arabs cling to as the anchor of their position on the refugees.

c. Suspicions on the part of some Arabs that we have adopted others as our chosen instruments (Hussein's belief we are supporting the Ba'ath and that it behooves him therefore to get closer to Nasser; Faysal's conviction that we will back Nasser in any exploit; etc.)

d. Arab suspicions of Israel's nuclear intentions and belief that our recent transfer of heavy water to Israel (although under full safeguards) may indicate a U.S. role therein.

e. The continuing aftermath of the Hawk transaction and generous ($25 million) credit given for it.

3. We cannot protect Israel's security in the area without war or without driving the Arabs into the arms of the Soviets unless we keep fairly satisfactory relations with the Arabs. Nor can we be certain of protecting U.S. interests in the area, quite apart from Israel's, if we drift into contretemps with the Arabs. A number of problems, present and pending, make it essential that we treat our Arab relations with great deftness at this stage. Principal among these are:

a. Jordan Waters: For a decade and more this has been foreseen as the critical Near Eastern problem likely to precipitate Arab-Israel war. We are committed to support Israel and therefore must be partisan. We are making every reasonable preparation to forestall military hostilities and/or a decisive break with the Arabs, but the issue is uncertain and the strains will be great at best.

b. U.S. Elections: The Israelis are taking, and will mount steadily increasing pressures to gain, advantage by the coming U.S. elections. The import will be especially in the military field in which the Arabs are most sensitive and the Soviets in best position to benefit from any U.S. moves that might result from domestic considerations. The Gruening-Farbstein amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, and reactions to it, are a portent.

c. Intra-Arab Conflicts: We have interests on all sides. To preserve these amid quick and violent change, we spend capital now in one Arab country, now in another, trying to maintain a balance. A misstep could lose a valuable position in one or give all common cause against us. These intra-Arab disputes are now at an all-time high (Nasser-vs-Baath-vs-Monarchies).

d. Arms: The arms competition between Israelis and Arabs has reached a new and highly dangerous threshold. We are preaching restraint and safeguards to both sides, yet Dimona goes critical by the end of this year and Israel is using nascent UAR missile development to move far and perhaps faster in the same field.

e. Yemen: Remains a knotty problem only likely to be untangled if we maintain maximum influence with all involved.

f. Refugees: We embark this month on our first significant shift away from indefinite relief (a 5% cut in contribution to relief shifted to education/vocational training). We will have until next fall's UNGA session to pursue a political solution, necessitating full use of U.S. influence if there is to be a chance of success. If not, we begin disengagement, which was the fall-back purpose of our 3-year initiative. This alone would be cause for significant disruption of US-Arab relations.

g. Oil: We now face the most intensive pressures (from OPEC) for major contractual revisions that have ever been put forward in coordinated form.

 

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

Washington, November 19, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Palestine, Refugees, Vol. II. Secret. An undated note filed with the source text reads: "Secretary Rusk is coming to see the President at 4:30 on Arab-Israeli Resolution in the UN. Mr. Komer thinks it would be a good idea for you to give his memo to the President before that time." The note is marked in Bundy's hand: "P[resident] saw." President Kennedy's Appointment Book indicates that he met with Rusk and Talbot between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on November 19. (Ibid.)

McGB--

Another teapot tempest is upon us at the UN on annual Arab refugee debate. Issue is over mentioning Para. 11 of UN Resolution 194 (1948) in annual compromise resolution we sponsor and get through (Para.11 calls for repatriation or compensation of refugees).

Through 1961 we referred directly to Para. 11. Last year under Israeli pressure we fuzzed issue by referring mainly to Res. 1856, and mentioning Para. 11 only in passing. Israelis took this as a big victory, claiming it meant Para. 11 was mentioned in retroactive sense only. Arabs didn't catch on.

This year, however, Arabs have made a big issue of whether US retreating from Para. 11. They've introduced their own bad resolution, which we think could win a 2/3 majority. Israelis have countered with usual "direct negotiations" gambit.

Last Saturday we decided (Feldman, Schlesinger, myself concurring) we simply can't afford to drop Para. 11 just now, without breaking faith with Arabs and sustaining a defeat. Among other things, JFK's 1961 letter to Arab leaders said we'd search for a refugee solution under Para. 11. Moreover, 1964 would be an Israeli year--on top of SC vote condemning Syria and Gruening Amendment, we face problem of cutting UNRWA relief rolls and then Jordan Waters, etc. So best course was to block bad Arab resolution by agreeing to insert old reference to Para. 11 in ours. They agreed (NY 2124),/2/ and also to drop any effort to amend our version to include old property custodian para. However, Arabs want Israelis to agree not to bring direct talks resolution to a vote either. We think this a good deal, since it almost certainly can't win.

/2/Dated November 18. (Department of State, Central Files, REF 3 UNRWA)

Israelis are wroth, however. Gazit says we're heading for a crisis in US/Israeli relations. Israelis claim regime will be in trouble with Knesset because it said this year's refugee talks were "without preconditions", i.e. without Para. 11. So no further refugee talks possible if US version goes through. Israelis say we can lick Arab Res. if we fight all-out, but even so we'd have to abandon Para. 11 and eat crow.

Despite the likely flak, our strategy seems to be working. With luck we'll end up with both Arab and Israeli resolutions abandoned for our own. Feldman seems chiefly concerned by proposed dropping of direct negotiations resolution (but IO is a better judge than he of whether it can win). Israelis themselves say their principal concern is that our statement and if possible resolution don't base themselves solely on Para.11, but include other less offensive resolutions. This should be possible.

An alternative is to sidestep the issue, withdrawing our resolution and abstaining on Arab and Israeli ones. But this lets Arabs win; so we and Israelis would be even worse off.

State's proposal seems best way to stay evenhanded and minimize losses on both sides. Rusk has the decision at moment, and I've urged he touch base with JFK.

RW Komer

 

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

Washington, November 20, 1963, 7:50 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 US-UAR. Secret. Drafted by Jones on November 19; cleared by Buffum, Seelye, Killgore, Davies, and Jernegan; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, London, Taiz, Amman, and USUN.

2227. Department trusts UARG sufficiently reassured by President's statement on US aid (Depcirtel 900)/2/ to be amenable to US counsels to expedite Yemen disengagement. Immediate action is essential.

/2/Dated November 14. (Ibid., AID (US)) Reference is to remarks made by President Kennedy at his press conference on November 14. Speaking in response to a question, the President said that he did not think that the requirement of the Gruening Amendment strengthened the U.S. hand or flexibility in dealing with the UAR, but rather had the opposite effect. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 850)

This connection, USG notes: 1) evidence UAR forces Yemen remain at 30,000 level--contrary Nasser's assurances they would be reduced to 26,000 by November 1; 2) continued bombing royalist bases; 3) resumption bombing Saudi territory (Jidda's 528)./3/ If Embassy has not yet transmitted Talbot's six recommendations (Deptel 1937 to UARG),/4/ suggest this action should be taken now. We leave to your discretion means of transmittal--whether by letter from Ambassador to Nasser, conversation between Embassy officer and Presidency official, or otherwise.

/3/Dated November 19. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 SAUD-UAR)

/4/Telegram 1937 to Cairo, November 6, contained a summary of a conversation between Talbot and Ambassador Kamel, during which the two discussed how to break the deadlock in Yemen. Talbot urged that the United Arab Republic moderate propaganda, broaden the government in Yemen, expand cooperation with UNYOM, stop rotating UAR units into Yemen, evacuate the demilitarized zone, and stop the bombings. (Ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

FYI: If UARG genuinely seeks detente with Amman and Riyadh, repatriation of defected aircraft might be effective gesture. Embassy may wish consider utility allusion to this possibility on appropriate occasion.

Johnson

 

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

Washington, November 20, 1963, 7:51 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 PAL/UN. Confidential. Drafted by Killgore; cleared by Sisco, Davies, and Lubkeman; and approved by Jernegan. Sent to USUN, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Kuwait, Taiz, Tel Aviv, Ankara, London, and Paris.

917. Following summary for information only and contents should not be disclosed to foreign officials. It is uncleared and subject to amendment upon review of memcon.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Atallah called on Secretary November 19./2/ Atallah apprehensive that USG wavering on support Paragraph 11, UN Resolution 194 and charged Palestine Conciliation Commission Report compromises USG position on Palestine refugees. Reference in Report to "talks without preconditions" with respect to refugees "kills" Paragraph 11.

/2/The memorandum of conversation is ibid.

Atallah made emotional plea for clear reaffirmation Paragraph 11 by USG. He contended Israel lacked sovereignty over former Arab lands in Israel, particularly in areas not allotted to Israel under UN partition plan of 1947. He urged that USG call on Israel to stop "expropriation" Arab lands as otherwise refugees would have no place to which return. Arabs were not asking for property custodian but something much less.

Secretary stated he personally familiar with genesis refugee problem. He regretted USG must disagree with Arabs on some things. With respect Paragraph 11 Secretary thought USG position could be clarified satisfactorily. US would prefer no UN resolution on refugees but apparently will be impossible to avoid one. USG would give thought to Foreign Minister's views.

Johnson

 

368. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, November 21, 1963.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Israel, 11/18/63-1/30/64. Secret. Drafted by Komer.

At luncheon with Israeli Minister Gazit we had a rather brisk exchange. He began by complaining bitterly about the way we had "lied" to them about the Arab refugee matter in the UN. Cleveland and Sisco had misled Harman and him by not revealing we had changed our strategy to include para. 11./2/ We had never told them the real facts of our position. He also accused us of "active lobbying" to get some of the co-sponsors to withdraw. Israel took the direct negotiations resolution very seriously. There had been a full Cabinet meeting on it the week before which decided to go ahead, and our role in the debacle was going to create real complications in US-Israeli relations. All in all, he was most unhappy about the future course of these relations.

/2/On November 20, the U.N. General Assembly's Special Political Committee adopted a U.S. draft resolution that called upon the Palestine Conciliation Commission to continue its efforts to implement paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 (III). A plenary session of the General Assembly adopted it as Resolution 1912 (XVIII) by a vote of 82 (including the United States) to 1, with 14 abstentions.

While I was not familiar with all the ins and outs of the refugee debate this year, I simply couldn't accept this accusation. We had clued the Israelis on our new position as soon as it became apparent we could no longer get away with blurring para. 11. We had told them that otherwise both of us would end up with the worst of all possible outcomes--an Arab resolution passed by 2/3 majority--if we didn't shift. We'd sought to exchange information on vote counts, but they'd refused. I even recalled some difference in view as to whether they had in fact promised us they would not even bring the DN matter to a vote this year.

Turning to a larger frame, I felt this was another occasion on which Israel tried to press us for all the traffic would bear. Its consistent policy seemed to be to force us into an openly pro-Israeli stand despite our protests that this would undermine us with the Arabs and give the Soviets a field day. Israel's whole effort since 1948--in the UN, in the maneuvers for a public security guarantee, in demands for more arms, joint planning, etc.--seemed aimed at forcing us off of an ostensibly middle position which permitted us to maintain reasonable relations with the Arabs and thereby combat Soviet penetration of the Middle East. Israel might think that a net outcome in which the US backed Israel all-out, while the Arabs turned to Moscow, was in its overall security interest, but we most emphatically did not. We saw our ME policy as being in Israel's interest as much as ours. We had consistently tried to explain this to them, with little success.

I then mentioned (since the President had emphasized this the day before) how the Gruening amendment had so limited our freedom of action with the Arabs as to make it very difficult for us to be as forthcoming with Israel in the refugee or other issues as we would otherwise like. Gazit, of course, insisted that Israel had had nothing to do with the standard pro-Zionist reactions of Farbstein, Gruening, Keating, and Javits. He recounted how Javits had come to the area and wanted to write a report on the Arab refugees. Israel had tried to convince him not to issue such a report but he had gone ahead anyway. I told Gazit that even if Israel had done nothing positive to encourage the Gruening amendment, it would have been in Israel's interest to discourage such limits on the President's flexibility in foreign policy. How could one define "aggression", much less "preparing for" aggression? It was even possible that Israel could be called to account under this amendment as a result of a reprisal raid.

Gazit deplored the "arms length" relationship between the US and Israel which made it so difficult to achieve our joint purposes. For example, they had laid out all of their intelligence in the Rabin exchange, but we had kept "mum". I retorted that we had given the Israelis more of our intelligence estimates on the UAR than at any previous time. We certainly didn't give the Arabs any such intelligence on Israel. The Rabin exercise had been a good one, and we hoped the Israelis appreciated this. Moreover, if one were going to talk about lack of candor, it was strange to me that Israel was so consistently coy about describing its own defense plans and programs to its guarantor, banker, and strongest friend in the world. If trouble developed in the Near East it was not the French or Germans but the US which had to come to Israel's defense. We were expected to subsidize Israel, both privately and publicly, to support her to the hilt on every issue, to meet all of her security requirements, and to defend her if attacked. In return, we did not even know what she intended to do in such critical fields as missiles and nuclear weapons. I referred to the way in which Israel had handled the Dimona question as creating real suspicion on our part that such evasiveness must mask an intent to acquire nuclear capability. Now in response to direct questions on two occasions, Rabin had refused to say whether Israel was acquiring missiles from France. What kind of a relationship was this?

Gazit said he regretted the way his Government had chosen to handle Dimona, but returned to the theme that the US/Israeli relationship was entering a state of crisis. As reasons he cited not only the new UN resolution but indications that the US was raising objections to Israel security relations with third parties. When I asked what he meant, he said that they had heard we were objecting to certain things they were getting from European sources. I told him I did not propose to discuss this matter in specifics, but that I believed I knew what he was talking about. It was by no means the situation he described. On those occasions when Israel and another country made arrangements with respect to items on which we had a lien, we jolly well expected that both parties--as friends of ours--would as least consult us in advance. Second, as Israel's chief guarantors and financial backers, weren't we in general entitled to have a better idea than they seemed to think about what they were doing? After all, if Israel acquired weapons which set off a new round of arms escalation in the Middle East and otherwise seriously disturbed the existing deterrent balance, or if Israel took action (e.g. vis-a-vis Jordan or reprisal raids) which could lead to a war into which we would inevitably be drawn, we emphatically felt entitled to have our say in advance.

Gazit then described the special security problems of Israel and the importance of its having adequate deterrent power. He indicated, without saying it in so many words, that his Government had decided to acquire a missile capability; this was dictated by its security interests. I told him that I personally felt this was not a decision which Israel should take without consulting us. Given our role vis-a-vis Israel, why were we not entitled to be consulted on as major a new departure in the Israeli military program as buying several hundred dollars worth of SSMs? It looked to me as though Israel was planning to use its own substantial foreign exchange reserves to buy from France a very expensive missile capability, while coming to us for several hundred tanks. As those who provided far more financial aid to Israel than anyone else over the years, why couldn't we legitimately suggest that Israel take the money we thought it would waste on a missile capability and purchase tanks in Europe instead? We argued extensively with our other allies about such misuse of their resources. Why was Israel a special case?

I stressed our great concern over the possible repercussions of Israeli acquisition of SSMs. I thought we had convinced them that the primitive UAR missile force, even if built up to the 1000 they alleged by 1968, would not represent a threat to military targets, probably would not even give the UAR much disruptive capability against Israel's mobilization, and was only of psychological value. If Nasser wanted to waste his money this way (and we doubted that he would go for any 1000 missiles), why should Israel follow suit? Gazit said that even if we could convince the most knowledgeable people in Israel, such arguments could not override the deep concern of the Israeli people over UAR missiles, which the political level must heed. I responded that one way of meeting this problem was to conduct an educational campaign to explain to the Israeli population how little a threat the primitive UAR missiles actually were.

Moreover, was the psychological deterrent gained through Israel's acquiring superior missiles worth either the cost or the risks? I wanted to stress these risks again. First was the risk that the UAR would be stimulated to get good SSMs from the USSR, which would give them a better capability even with conventional warheads. But even more important, such missiles were not militarily effective without nuclear warheads. Therefore, Israel's acquisition of SSMs inevitably raised questions in our mind as to whether it was not indeed going for a nuclear capability as well. Even if Israel did not intend to do so at this point its possession of an operating reactor plus a missile delivery system would bring it much closer to a nuclear deterrent if it chose to go this route. The US was fundamentally opposed to such nuclear proliferation. This was not a policy directed at Israel. It was a cause of great strain in our relations with France. Yet we were determined to undergo this strain. Why should we put Israel in a different category from France?

As we left, I suggested to Gazit that since he had frequently suggested how the President should answer their letters, I would presume to suggest how Eshkol or BG might answer ours. Couldn't the Israeli Government acknowledge just once that the US had a defensible position in attempting to maintain good relations with the Arab states. Instead take Eshkol's latest letter; he simply dusted off the President's statesmanlike exposition of our reasoning on a security guarantee by saying that he would come back at us again, and then proceeded to make a whole series of new requests. It was not always a question of the US failing to take Israel's security interests into account but of at least comparable failure on their part to give any recognition to the possible validity of our policy. We were ships passing each other in the night.

R. W. Komer/3/

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

 

369. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, November 21, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451. Secret. Drafted by Dingeman. This memorandum was sent to members of the Special Group under cover of a November 29 memorandum. (Ibid.)

SUBJECT
Minutes of the Special Group (CI) Meeting

2 p.m., Thursday, November 21, 1963

PRESENT
Governor Harriman, Mr. Bell, General Taylor, Mr. Murrow, Mr. Bundy vice Mr. Gilpatric, Mr. Karamessines vice Mr. McCone

Mr. Jernegan and Mr. Killgore were present for Items No. 1 and 2.

Mr. McClure was present for Item No. 2.

Mr. Battle was present for Item No. 3.

Ambassador Henderson was present for Item No. 4.

Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting.

[Here follows item 1 on an unrelated matter.]

2. Presentation of the Internal Defense Plan for Jordan

Mr. Jernegan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, reviewed for the Group the major elements of the Plan. He emphasized that the reason Jordan is important to US policy in the Near East is its close location to Israel and the latter's concern over the stability of Jordan. He believes that if the Jordanian Government were to be violently overthrown, Israel would probably occupy part of its territory.

Mr. Jernegan pointed out that a quick coup backed by elements of the Army is considered to be the primary threat to the current regime. Aside from this, threats posed by other elements, including the Communists, are not believed to be serious. He then described the US policy objectives in Jordan and courses of action. He commented that there is some doubt whether Jordan can absorb the proposed reduction in US budgetary support planned for future years.

Mr. McClure, Chief of the AID Mission in Jordan, reported that recent developments indicate that progress is being made in the economic area. Improvements are being made in the fiscal management field and the seven-year development plan now being formulated is an encouraging sign. The refugee problem has complicated the development of youth programs, but increased attention is being given to these programs.

The Group noted the IDP and deferred taking any other action pending review of the terms of reference of the Group.

The Group agreed with the CIA recommendation that contingency plans pertinent to this region should be reviewed.

The Group agreed that CIA should review and update, as necessary, the existing Special National Intelligence Estimate on Jordan.

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

James W. Dingeman

Executive Secretary

Special Group (CI)

 

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

Washington, November 21, 1963, 6:56 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15 IRAQ. Confidential. Drafted by Killgore on November 20, cleared by Davies, and approved by Jernegan. Sent to Baghdad, Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Taiz, Athens, Nicosia, Tehran, Ankara, Bonn, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Kuwait, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Aleppo, Dhahran, and Istanbul.

927. There follows SITREP and Department's comments on Iraqi situation:

Present Situation

Iraqi Army appears firmly in control of Iraq with only scattered National Guard holdouts reported in Baghdad as of November 20. While power of National Guard and thus Baath extremists apparently broken, political aspects Iraqi situation unclear. President Aref seems accepted by Army commanders, by moderate wing Baath Party, and Baath military officers, thus looms as real leader of Iraq. Failure of former Prime Minister Bakr and Defense Minister Ammash to employ Army to destroy National Guard following latter's violent reaction to expulsion of extremist leaders, gave Aref his opportunity. Whereabouts of Ammash unknown.

Very few names and little information about emerging personalities being broadcast. Aref steering careful course with view maintaining solidarity with Baath military officers. President's reputation for friendship with Nasser will assure him support from Nasser-oriented nationalists. Only in unlikely event his returning Iraq to Baath domination would Aref quickly lose non-Baath nationalist support. While maneuvering undoubtedly taking place behind the scenes course of future events uncertain.

Initial appraisal cabinet named November 20 is that it contains some moderate Baathis. Of twenty-one ministers, seven are holdovers from previous cabinet, thirteen are civilians, four are from moderate Shabib-Jawad faction of Baath (Defense--Tikriti; Communications--Abd al-Latif; Education--Jawari; Health--Mustafa) and a number of technician-type civil servants.

There is no necessity for USG recognition of GOI because President Aref remains as Chief of State.

Speculation on Future

Embassy Baghdad sees little doubt Aref looks forward to being effective ruler of Iraq. Uncertain how able a political manipulator he will be. Seems clear, however, that he allied himself with principal Baath military officers in order destroy National Guard. His immediate aims are to finish National Guard resistance and clarify Iraqi relations with Syria. He needs continued help from Syrian brigade against Kurds and will wish avoid giving SARG pretext for withdrawing troops. Indications are some understanding has been reached with Syria in view reported cessation Damascus radio attacks.

In longer term, basic question is whether Aref's cautious stance towards Baath merely tactical expedient to be discarded when he feels strong enough dispense with Baath support. Despite his reputation of friendship with Nasser doubtful he will permit growth UAR influence in Iraq; Aref's own ambitions and political complexities of Iraq are likely to combine against this. However, friendlier relations with UAR appear likely.

Whatever shape Iraqi regime assumes Embassy Baghdad speculates there will be less pressure for rapid nationalization. Current agreement with Kuwait seems likely to stand. Embassy believes quite possible policy of rapprochement will be followed with respect Turkey and Iran. On relations with US, Soviet Bloc and domestic Communists, Embassy expects little change likely. On Palestine issues Embassy also expects no change.

Safety of Foreigners

Embassy Baghdad reports no known casualties among Americans and other foreigners in Iraq.

Ball

 

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

Washington, November 23, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 NR EAST-US. Secret. Drafted by Talbot and Davies. A handwritten note on the source text indicates Secretary Rusk saw the memorandum. The two major sections of this memorandum were originally prepared as separate memoranda from Talbot to Rusk, both dated November 23 and both bearing indications that Rusk saw them. (Ibid.)

SUBJECT
Problems and Opportunities Ahead

I know of no problems in NEA that will require the immediate attention of the President.

Policy Implications in the NEA area of President Kennedy's death./2/

/2/President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22.

1. Almost all governments will be shaken and anxious about future American policy. It is of the utmost importance to signal the continuation of strong, confident policy lines.

2. Pakistan may well believe it now can count on stronger support in the White House of its views vis-à-vis India and may therefore intensify its efforts to halt U.S. military assistance to India.

3. Conversely, India will be uncertain and troubled about American intentions until it gets fresh signals from Washington.

4. The Shah will need fresh assurances.

5. Israel may now conclude that its problems, and especially its security problems, could play a larger role in the 1964 U.S. elections than it had anticipated. After a decent interval it may therefore push harder on these issues.

6. The Arab states will be likely to fear a pro-Israeli swing in American policy. Consequent agitation, unless tamped down, could lead to more strident anti-Israeli actions (e.g., on Jordan water diversion) and increased interest in links with the USSR.

7. Saudi Arabia is likely to push for a harder US line against the UAR, especially on Yemen.

8. The UAR may well expect that the US will be harder to get along with, and in the absence of signs to the contrary that it had better reexamine the balance of its international relationships.

Problems Ahead.

[Here follows paragraph 1 on India and Pakistan.]

2. Gruening Amendment. President Kennedy was angered and distressed by this Amendment, and we understand was considering making a statement on the matter when he signed the Aid bill. We would strongly hope that President Johnson would adopt the same line.

3. Yemen, where the U.N.'s Spinelli/3/ is seeking with our encouragement to find a way for broadening the base of the Yemen regime, and where risks remain of direct confrontation between the UAR and Saudi Arabia.

/3/On November 4, Secretary-General U Thant appointed Pier P. Spinelli, Under Secretary and Director of the U.N. European Office, as his Special Representative for Yemen and Head of the Yemen Observation Mission. Documentation on the Spinelli mission is ibid., POL 2 YEMEN, POL 27 YEMEN, and POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN.

4. Israel and Arab-Israel Issues.

a. Near Eastern Arms Policy. Pressures to force change in our Near Eastern arms policy have been building up on all sides. We can expect a major push by the Israelis to reinforce their general security position. We also anticipate further pressures to erode our policy in military sales to the Arab countries. Thus, at an early stage we would hope President Johnson could make clear publicly our policy is to seek to reduce tensions and to avoid contributing to an arms race.

b. Military. The Israelis were rather taken aback by our rebuttals to their high-level presentation of the estimated UAR threat on November 12. They have told us to expect more information. We can expect a major push for (a) tanks and naval equipment, and (b) US concurrence in an Israeli missile program, presumably helped by France (and perhaps Germany).

c. Jordan Waters. We anticipate strong Arab reactions when, or before, Israel starts pumping Jordan basic waters out of Lake Tiberias in the spring or summer of 1964. Fully supporting Israel's right to do this under the 1955 Unified Plan, we are seeking to maintain a quieting influence with the Arab states.

d. Palestine Refugees. Israel got caught in its own box in the refugee debate in the Special Political Committee, and has threatened not to continue talks with us. We will need to work out next steps.

5. UAR. We told Dr. Kassouni in October that new aid would be extremely difficult to offer so long as the UAR continued heavy spending on the Yemen operation. That position stands. However, we added that we would consider a program loan shortly after the first of the year if certain conditions were met.

[Here follow paragraphs 6-8 on Turkey, Ceylon, and Cyprus.]

9. Iraq and Syria. Although it is too early to be sure, the new regime in Iraq seems to have established itself as an Iraqi nationalist-cum-moderate Ba'athist government relying heavily on the power of the Army. Nasser has little to be pleased about in the composition of this government. Syria has been put under new strains, and may well be the next trouble spot.

[Here follows paragraph 10 on Nepal.]

Opportunities Ahead.

Presidential responses to messages of condolence. Rather than ordinary expressions of appreciation, these could be written with sufficient substantive content to reassure some of our anxious partners and friends that American policies will remain firm and strong. Thus, reassurances through statements should be made to Prince Faisal, King Hussein, Prime Minister Eshkol, President Nasser, the Shah of Iran, Prime Minister Nehru, and President Ayub./4/

/4/A typewritten note at the end of the source text, entitled "AID Comment," drafted by Gaud, deals with the Indus Water settlement.

 

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

Jidda, November 30, 1963, 1 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Dhahran, London, USUN, Cairo, and Taiz.

561. Disengagement: The decisive days. Dept Circ 971.1 Pending instructions re proposed course of action being developed in Department I feel impelled make now following comments and recommendations which I had planned to discuss with Amb. Badeau and Minister Cortada at Asmara Dec /2/:

/2/Dated November 27. (Ibid., ORG 8-2)

Comments:

1. Disengagement is not succeeding. UAR troops not only are not being withdrawn but process is now reversed and according most estimates UAR has as many troops in Yemen as at any time previously. There is no real prospect reducton total to 21,000 by end Dec as offered in October by Nasir, who has in any case juggled figures so often and impeded UNYOM efforts to verify departures and arrivals to degree that certified withdrawals before Jan 4 must considerably exceed 5,000 if we are even to get back where we thought we were Nov 4. Instead UAR appears to have made decision keep large military forces in Yemen "for years." (British Amb. Crow has just shown me copy report from Beeley in Cairo of Oct. 31 conversation with Anwar Sadat who made this remark twice.)

2. This is in defiance of commitment made to President Kennedy via Amb. Bunker as clearly understood here and as understood by Faysal. Bunker on instructions and with my full support promised for President effective application such US influence and pressure as might be necessary to get UAR to comply. I have repeatedly reaffirmed we were applying pressure. If we have now decided we can no longer exert necessary leverage then my influence with Faysal is decisively undermined. By same token if we continue to try but are able accomplish no substantial and verified results before Jan. 4, then I see no present basis on which I can argue Faysal into another renewal of UNYOM. His stockpiling of arms in south has been increased [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that I am therefore 90 percent sure of failure. Furthermore, US Govt has been unable to pressure Nasir into compliance while we continue massive aid programs to UAR cannot be made credible to SAG. It can only mean we unwilling.

3. Threat of withdrawal Hard Surface will not be sufficient to induce Faysal again renew UNYOM in absence UAR compliance. Faysal prepared take his pounding although it may be worse than he supposes. Resentment against US for withdrawing Hard Surface will surely be high. I am sure Faysal's position will be weakened by these attacks and by fact we will have failed help him in his defense. Nevertheless he will take his chances on basis requirements for self defense as he sees them.

4. Failure UAR withdraw troops appears to be generating some anti-UAR reaction in responsible YAR circles. UAR military presence now serves UAR and no other interest.

5. If, as indicated Deptel 428 to Madras,/3/ Dept now focusing its efforts primarily on seeking establishment broader based govt in Yemen, such a course, while unquestionably necessary and should be continued, is operationally too slow of realization to preserve disengagement and peace by Jan. 4. Establishing such govt in next four weeks now appears quite unrealizable even if it had full UAR blessing, which no longer appears be the case, given UAR fears that broadened YAR may be anti-Egyptian. Nasir has apparently made decision force return to Yemen of Sallal, a man who does not want to go back, whose support in Yemen has eroded, who has long known his only bulwark was Egypt (and, if possible, union with it) and whose return will operate decisively against SAG recognition of YAR or even authorization of discussion with YAR delegation representing Sallal.

/3/Not printed.

6. From here it is apparent quiet diplomacy has not evoked any meaningul UAR response. Instead it has been met by temporization with successive attempts place blame on SAG for alleged violations of disengagement (unsupported by UNYOM), on British interference from south, on SAG "moral" support of Royalists and finally on SAG stockpiling of arms in southern Saudi territory. It has been said that US should not place US-UAR relations on line because of Yemen. In fact, it is Nasir, with every indication he has taken full measure of our unwillingness "confront" him, who has placed those relations on the line, not really over Yemen but over Saudi Arabia. This in cool defiance of most able and vigorous presentation by Ambassador Badeau end of October. UAR has not heeded our repeated requests tone down anti-Faysal broadcasts or "enemies of God" program and has been heard Nov. 27 to attack President Johnson. Quiet diplomacy with Faysal has also about run out. With latest UAR overflights and bombings of Saudi territory it has ceased to have real meaning. On Nov. 28 Prince [garble], just back from Riyadh, made this clear. We may now have to take some real risks with UAR-US relations if we are to keep the peace. As I see it we have no choice. When peace collapses we shall face this problem in worse form. In absence very sizable withdrawals UAR troops before Jan. 4 we may not be able save peace at all but we have a chance if we lay full record on disengagement before UN. Our public exposition should be a full airing of all essential facts with a proposal for action. UAR will not like it but judicious statement of what has happened and constructive role UAR could have played--and might still play in Yemen would appeal to the impartial. Some of material in USIS Midston cable number 3 "peace in Yemen"/4/ would be useful.

/4/Not further identified.

Experience 1952-61 US-UAR relations in which I had closest uninterrupted contact shows conclusively Nasir had early chance for good relations with US but chose bring them almost to point of break in 1956-58. He recoiled from break while throwing entire propaganda and subversive machinery of UAR against US interests and US friends in area with almost entire Arab (even Saudi) popular sentiment heavily on his side. Nevertheless he failed seriously to impair single important US interest and with his enemies in Arab world now far more numerous than in earlier years I do not believe he can do so today.

History of US-UAR relations over this period also shows that Nasir has repeatedly tested our intentions for firmness. If words and threats of diminished aid are insufficient we are left, as I see it, with the public forum. Like any other leader with desire for wide acclaim he cherishes his image. I am not suggesting we destroy it but rather we let him know that private counsel having repeatedly failed, we are not fearful of his reaction as we make public a program to preserve the peace which goes against his own strategy and splashes him where he earned it. By same token a fair expose will not leave SAG entirely unblemished, but it will let SAG know we are not [garble] and are prepared face UAR in open debate. SAG will be more inclined preserve its own relatively good record and weigh disadvantages of renewal aid to Royalists. I think there is a chance this could succeed.

7. We have a bare 3 weeks at most before UNGA disbands until after January 4. Spinelli is taking his time, as no doubt he must. I believe we should move at once on action in UN since it may involve reference to present GA before it recesses.

Recommendations:

1. USG take policy decision at highest level to preserve disengagement before it lapses January 4. This should be given priority over all other considerations in US-UAR, US-YAR and even US-SAG relations at present juncture./5/

/5/A marginal notation in an unidentified hand at this point reads: "concur, but under new guise."

2. USUN consult al-Ayni in New York and via Minister Cortada YAR leadership in Taiz saying that YAR must be broadened if US and other free world help to be forthcoming. Urge YAR (using US cryptographic channels if need be rather than those of UAR) to instruct al-Ayni to cooperate with USUN in requesting UN undertake soonest supervision over referendum within Yemen of tribal and other leaders to set up nationally-based government including all major tribes now dissident./6/ UAR to quickly withdraw sizeable force and regroup remainder to ensure against interference with this referendum.

/6/A notation at this point reads: "al-Ayni already so doing (?)."

3. If feasible an adjunct to 2 above, YAR be asked to appeal for small UN force to cover key cities San'a and Sa'ada during period of referendum, thus relieving UAR troops which would be totally withdrawn./7/ Fact of UAR troop withdrawals and prospect of referendum should serve to abate Royalist attacks (which already at low level) and make task of UN military force relatively safe one. It is realized that YAR support would be minimum requirement if resolution is to carry, and that other considerations may rule it out. Nevertheless, idea should be studied.

/7/A notation at this point reads: "add UN agree?"

4. Regardless of YAR reaction to proposals 2 or 3 above, USUN might initiate preparatory discussions with UK delegation and others friendly to success of disengagement and then, preferably within first week December, initiate disengagement debate in USUN by reference to SYG's last report. USUN could say all parties favored latest extension UNYOM, hoping for progress in reducing threat to peace. SYG's report had cited unsatisfactory compliance by one party. Month having passed, we regretted to note that compliance by that party now worse and disengagement failing. We therefore consider threat to peace of area to be fast approaching and likely overtake UN during Christmas recess. We would lay bare most essential facts re Bunker agreements and status of compliance by parties in thorough expose, let the chips fall where they may. USUN might state belief positive UN role in Yemen now urgently required and would voice need for UN-supervised referendum at earliest possible date. We could refer to US willingness in principle to engage with UN and free world countries in coordinated long-term program economic development to begin only when UN-sponsored referendum completed and UAR troops withdrawn.

We might then circulate draft resolution calling for withdrawal UAR troops, maintenance disengagement by Saudi Arabia and other neighbors, and UN-supervised referendum. If vetoed by USSR, we could still seek action in UNGA under Uniting for Peace procedures before Christmas recess.

Conclusion:

It is realized foregoing course presents difficulties and risks. We may get no help from indecisive or weak YAR. We may lack votes in UN for our resolution. We may have to face charge US "interfering" to protect "feudal Saudi interests." I see no way of avoiding these risks, and find no course but to face them. By early public airing of this very real threat to peace, we may forestall breakdown of disengagement. Otherwise I see no way to do so in month which remains.

Hart

 

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

Washington, December 1, 1963, 2:36 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye on November 27; cleared by Davies, Colonel Robinson, Sisco, Komer, Colonel Bunte, Quinn, and Christensen; and approved by Jernegan. Also sent to Cairo, Taiz, London, and USUN.

440. Next Steps in Yemen.

I. Introduction

Department has carefully reviewed Jidda's 506,/2/ 523 and 525/3/ and has noted in particular:

/2/In telegram 506 from Jidda, November 12, Hart reported on a conversation with Saqqaf and forwarded several recommendations concerning the Yemen situation. Hart also asked that he be given specific instructions concerning whether Hard Surface would be withdrawn if Saudi Arabia resumed aid to the Royalists. (Ibid.)

/3/Dated November 17 and 18, respectively. (Both ibid., POL 27 YEMEN)

A. Importance Embassy places (a propos prospective Spinelli visit to Jidda and talks here with Pharaoun) on continuing emphasize to SAG primacy of UAR troop withdrawals when discussing Yemen.

B. Embassy Jidda's suggestion President dispatch personal message to Faisal in lieu Embassy's earlier proposition we submit to Faisal unequivocal USG statement re withdrawal Hard Surface if Faisal resumes aid to Yemeni royalists.

C. Faisal's illusion USG insisting broadened Yemeni regime exclude Hamid al-Din family and Jidda Embassy's view broadened YARG must include some representative royalist leaders in order be acceptable to Faisal.

D. Faisal's statement to French Ambassador Saudi friendship with US "unshakeable" although our interests may occasionally diverge; and equivocal French response to Saudi request for specific indications French assistance in defense Saudi Arabia.

Department has following comments re foregoing:

A. We have instructed Cortada caution Spinelli this regard (Deptel 1438 to USUN, rptd 2134 to Cairo, 404 to Jidda, 367 to Taiz, 3145 to London)./4/ Same time we must consider whether time may not have arrived begin prepare Faisal for unpleasant fact appreciable draw-down UAR troops may not occur by January 4, 1964. Our best estimates are that despite Nasser's promise 6,000 UAR troops would be withdrawn by November 1, 1963 and his belief another 5,000 would depart by January 1, 1964, current UAR troop strength remains--and will probably continue remain--at about 32,000. View foregoing, problem is how long we can tell Faisal we expect imminent appreciable UAR troop withdrawals and hold him to Bunker agreement. (For this reason in talk with Pharaoun November 18 Talbot refrained from indicating belief we expect "important progress" re UAR troop withdrawals, contrary to Embassy Jidda's recommendation.)

/4/Dated November 15. (Ibid., POL 2 YEMEN)

B. We agree Presidential messages to Faisal should not be reserved for emergency stages. Same time believe should insofar as possible reserve such messages for matters considerable import. Thus, we have in mind Presidential message only in circumstances described below (C, 1, f).

C. We gratified Embassy has taken steps disabuse SAG of belief USG insisting broadened YARG must exclude members Hamid al-Din family (Embtels 506 and 525). Obviously decision up to Yemenis; informal Departmental views expressed to Shami represented realistic assessment of situation, not USG preferences. Same time appears clear to us that Faisal, despite his contention, emotionally attached to Yemeni royalist cause and stating own preferences rather than known Yemeni attitudes.

D. We welcome Faisal's reaffirmation of bed-rock USG-SAG friendship and fundamental mutuality US-SAG interests. Dilemma is how make Faisal understand we fully share these sentiments and that our Yemen and UAR policies wholly consonant therewith. How do we get across to Faisal basic truth that while meddling of UAR and Saudi Arabia in Yemeni internal affairs harms both parties--each in somewhat different way--USG less concerned with harm Yemen conflict causing UAR than possible adverse consequences to Saudi Arabia of its Yemeni involvement?

II. Plan for Consideration of Addressees

A. In consideration of foregoing Department contemplating plan of action re Yemen which flows from following premises:

1. Present UNYOM mandate will end January 4, 1964 but UN will maintain political presence and possibly small group observers.

2. UAR will not have withdrawn appreciable number of troops from Yemen by January 4, 1964.

3. In absence satisfactory UAR compliance with disengagement agreement, Faisal determined resume his aid to royalists January 4, 1964, regardless existence Bunker agreement; and in retaliation UAR will be tempted resume series air attacks over Saudi territory.

4. Spinelli effort assist in developing broadened Yemeni regime will not have borne fruit by January 4, 1964 (although his report should provide basis for new emphasis on coalition effort as precursor to UAR troop withdrawals).

B. Our objectives in Yemen remain as before, i.e.:

1. Termination of foreign military intervention in Yemen permitting self-determination and measure of internal stability.

2. Prevention of escalation and spread of conflict.

3. Protection of US interests in entire Arabian Peninsula.

4. Prevention enhancement of Soviet influence and position in Yemen.

C. Recognizing realities of premises in "A" while not losing sight of objectives in "B", Department proposes following course of action re Yemen for consideration of addressees:

1. In Jidda inform Faisal:

a. Bunker agreement succeeded in preventing SAG-UAR military confrontation which was primary objective. It is now clear, however, various factors beyond our control have obstructed our undertaking to Faisal to obtain "expeditious" withdrawal UAR troops during six-month period of UNYOM's official presence (ending January 4, 1964). While there have no doubt been extenuating circumstances causing UAR footdragging, from any vantage point UAR performance in fulfilling disengagement agreement has been unsatisfactory. In view of foregoing and Faisal's decision resume aid to royalists January 4, 1964 (as transmitted by Pharaoun to Talbot November 18), USG considers Faisal is relieved of his commitment to use us under terms of this agreement and that time has come develop new strategy.

b. This does not mean USG has abandoned concept of disengagement in its efforts to get UAR troops out of Yemen. USG continues seek return Yemen to Yemenis and believes no external parties have right to speak for Yemeni desires in respect to kind and composition their government. While continuing to press UAR on withdrawal, USG placing emphasis on Yemeni coalition effort, which if comes to fruition would appear offer most effective means get UAR troops out and restore measure stability in Yemen.

c. In view our and UN support Yemeni coalition effort and our recognition YARG, USG would regret resumption Saudi aid to Yemeni royalists. In fact, view Faisal's decision resume such aid USG has determined it best withdraw Hard Surface from Saudi Arabia in late December 1963 in order USG not be placed in unacceptable position of appearing offer protective umbrella to Saudi intervention in Yemen. In any case, Hard Surface sent to Saudi Arabia on temporary basis and by year's end will have been there some six months. Faisal can rest assured that USG stands behind him in defense his nation against aggression, provided of course he does not resume arms shipments to Yemen. In latter contingency and in event such action invites UAR air attacks against Saudi Arabia, Faisal must understand USG disposition stand by him will be adversely affected and international community might very well seek condemnation SAG actions by UN. (FYI. Security Council might actually condemn hostile acts by both sides. End FYI.)

d. Still our view best course for Faisal in strengthening his country--and preserving Saud regime--against Nasserist danger is avoid exposing Saudi military and other weaknesses to undue stresses. If Faisal resumes aid to Yemeni royalists, Saudi weaknesses will be exposed as result retaliatory UAR action, with further danger weakening whole structure Saud regime. Better tactic is for Faisal to concentrate his energies on course he has already charted in direction:

(1) improving SAG military capability to defend itself;

(2) strengthening fabric Saudi society.

Progress made on these two fronts will reduce threats posed by Nasser both in Peninsula and throughout Arab world. If Faisal continues to withhold support to royalists while pursuing courses in (1) and (2) we consider time on his side in view of serious problems UAR already facing by virtue its commitments to Yemen.

e. While USG cannot be expected pull Faisal's chestnuts out of fire which he appears intend rekindle in Yemen, it can and will continue assist him in both (1) and (2) above. Re (1) USG about to submit comprehensive plan for shoring up Saudi air defenses and in this connection disposed sell Saudi Arabia certain types modern military armaments and equipment.

f. If SAG should reconsider its decision to resume aid to royalists and undertake avoid meddling in Yemen for indefinite period, President prepared dispatch message to Faisal (which could be published if Faisal desired) underscoring not only USG support for Saudi integrity (as in President Kennedy's October 1962 message) but for Faisal regime which moving in direction of reform. We visualize that latter might also get into specifics of kind action US might take through UN and on our own to come to military support SAG if externally attacked in unprovoked fashion. We would expect that affirmation of US support would be in lieu of continued deployment of Hard Surface.

g. Meanwhile USG again urges Faisal it in his best interests to appoint high level Saudi meet secretly with UAR representative for purpose exploring possibilities of SAG-UAR detente. Modus vivendi between two countries, even if only minimal, could be instrumental in attaining objectives which all parties seek of leaving Yemen to Yemenis.

2. In Cairo tell Nasser:

a. We consider failure UAR withdraw any, or any appreciable number, troops from Yemen after six months UNYOM presence forces USG consider Bunker agreement at end as of January 4, 1964. USG can no longer expect Faisal fulfill his part of bargain in absence satisfactory UAR performance, extenuating circumstances notwithstanding. USG so informing Faisal, stating its best efforts secure "expeditious" UAR troop withdrawals in vain.

b. Nevertheless, USG continues adhere to disengagement concept as in best interest all parties and will continue urge both SAG and UAR abide by concept--though not on basis any previous commitment. Only difference now is neither side "committed" to USG to abide by specific disengagement agreement and we in effect acknowledging impossibility of bringing about "expeditious" UAR troop withdrawals. Regrettable aspect in new turn of events is lessening of USG capability impose restraint on Saudi activities in Yemen. However, despite lessened leverage available to us, we will continue do all possible restrain Faisal with some expectation we will succeed in this endeavor.

c. Nasser should clearly understand that USG has important interests in Saudi Arabia and has pledged its support to reformist-minded Faisal regime. USG would continue take exceedingly dim view of UAR air attacks against Saudi Arabia--whether or not UAR considers it has adequate provocation--and would remind Nasser that while USG seeks maintain cordial relations with UAR and would wish avoid UAR-USG confrontation, we cannot do so if price is imminent threat to Saudi integrity and disappearance of Faisal regime at Nasser's hand. USG will not stand idly by should Nasser carry "battle" into Saudi Arabia. Moreover, issue might be likely to go to UN where UAR would not be in defensible position, particularly in view its failure to disengage. If SAG resumes aid, proper response of UAR and YAR might be complaint to UN SC.

d. USG placing increased emphasis on development coalition regime in Yemen and again urges Nasser in strongest terms cooperate fully in this endeavor. Creation some semblance viable YARG is best prospect for solving difficulties now being encountered by all sides. There have been reports which suggest UARG actively discouraging indigenous Yemeni efforts broaden base YARG. We believe international community will expect all external parties to Yemen dispute to respect idea of Yemen self-determination and Yemen for the Yemenis.

e. US continuing press SAG agree send representative meet with UAR secretly for purpose clearing air between two countries. Discontinuation UAR propaganda against Saudi Arabia still appears key to bringing about such meeting.

f. Nasser must open eyes to dilemna he faces in Yemen. We question whether "revolutionary" ardor of Yemenis will long continue unless UAR finds way to extricate itself. Longer UAR remains there, more Yemeni opposition aroused against UAR presence and thus against YARG. Tribes in north have capability resist central government for many months even without Saudi assistance. USG has endeavored and will continue endeavor help UAR extricate self from Yemen without loss prestige. Unless UAR now takes statesmanlike advantage opportunities presented, Yemen imbroglio can only go from bad to worse causing instability to entire Arab area and incidentally casting discredit on Arab nationalism and "revolution". Spinelli mission currently offers best hope for UAR in Yemen and Nasser should not let this golden opportunity pass.

D. Concluding Comment

Questions left unanswered are (1) what USG does if after we have withdrawn Hard Surface from Saudi Arabia Nasser bombs Saudi Arabia and (2) what further actions might be taken by UN after January 4, 1964 in advancing Yemeni solution. Foregoing plan of action designed preclude first eventuality; if occurs, we have several alternatives open to us which we shall have to face when time comes. We are still canvassing possible courses of action through UN and recognize that substitute to Bunker agreement (pegged to Spinelli report or some specific Security Council action) must be devised as framework for modified disengagement and for continued UN presence in Yemen.

Request urgent views of addressee posts.

For Jidda

Department would appreciate your views above suggested courses of action/5/ prior commenting your 561/6/ which just received.

/5/Responses to this telegram from the Embassies in Riyadh, Cairo, Aden, and London are ibid., POL 27 YEMEN. In telegram 462 to Jidda, December 9, the Department of State, on the basis of these comments, modified its course of action outlined in telegram 440 to include: "(1) continuing use Bunker Agreement as reference point for disengagement and (2) leaving Hard Surface in Saudi Arabia until end January assuming SAG does not resume support of royalists." (Ibid., POL 26 YEMEN)

/6/Document 372.

Rusk

 

374. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, December 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 B 01285A, Box 2, DCI Files, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, Meetings with the President. Top Secret. Drafted by McCone on December 3.

 

SUBJECT
Meeting with The President, December 2; in attendance, Mr. Bundy

[Here follows item 1 on an unrelated matter.]

2. I again brought to the President's attention the seriousness of the Yemen problem. I extended the discussion to express my worries over the entire Middle East because of the Yemen conflict over the northern tier of Africa, the continuing problems with the Israeli border, the Iraq-Syria situation and finally the problems between the oil companies and the producing states which resulted in a planned meeting of the eight producing states in mid-December. This coincided with the determined effort on the part of several countries to renegotiate their concessions. I explained to the President that the producing states are taking the position that the oil companies are in competition, one with the other, had forced the prices down to the advantage of the Western consumers, i.e. Western Europe, Scandinavia, the United States and Japan, and to the disadvantage of the Middle East and Venezuelan producers. I pointed out to the President that Mr. McCloy and Mr. Bunker were well-informed on the Middle East situation, most particularly the Yemen and the problems of Nasser.

Action: This entire area should be kept under the most active surveillance and observation by both DDI and DDP.

3. Syria. Comments on Syria were included in my discussion on the Middle East; however I ventured that it appeared to me that while the forces ascending in authority in Syria and Iraq were not Nasser satellites, that Nasser's wave of influence was on the upsurge and we could expect further efforts on his part to consolidate his position in these two countries.

[Here follow items 4-8 on unrelated matters.]

 

375. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Solbert) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor)/1/

I-28675/63

Washington, December 2, 1963.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Near East, 1963. Secret.

SUBJECT
Near East Arms Policy
/2/

/2/Additional documentation is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 1963 Files, 9180/9105 (2 December 63), Sec 2.

The Department of State has prepared a proposed Memorandum for the President (Enclosure 1)/3/ bearing on the above subject. The basic conclusion of the State paper is that the traditional U.S. policy of restraint regarding arms sales to the Near East states is valid and should be reaffirmed.

/3/Enclosure 1 is an undated draft memorandum from Rusk to Johnson; for text, see the Supplement, the regional compilation.

We believe that the situation in the Near East has changed sufficiently since our original policy was enunciated to warrant review of U.S. arms policy in the area and the State paper thereon. Accordingly, this office has prepared a counter draft to State's paper which is attached at Enclosure 2./4/ It is our tentative judgment that this draft more accurately reflects, among other things, the policy implications inherent in (a) continued Soviet/Bloc military aid to the area, particularly to the UAR, (b) the development of the UAR's strategic capability in terms of missiles and aircraft, and (c) an apparent increase in the tempo of Western European arms being introduced into the area.

/4/Enclosure 2 is an undated, unsigned memorandum; for text, see ibid.

In connection with points (a) and (b) preceding, the Government of Israel sought to demonstrate, in talks held at the Department of State on 12 and 13 November, that an imbalance in military capabilities, particularly as between the UAR and Israel, is developing into a serious threat to Israel's security. A summary of these discussions, which is at Enclosure 3, bears on the overall question of U.S. policy in the area, as the Israelis obviously hope to compensate for what they regard as an arms imbalance in the UAR's favor by securing their materiel requirements from the U.S. Specifically, they have asked for agreement to purchase from 400 to 500 M-48 type medium tanks in an "as is" condition and have served notice of an intention to seek additional naval equipment and perhaps surface-to-surface missiles and additional aircraft, if not from U.S. then perhaps from European sources (i.e., France).

The Department of State considers it important to provide appropriate recommendations on U.S. arms policy for the Near East to President Johnson as soon as possible. Accordingly, the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are requested on the foregoing by 6 December 1963.

Peter Solbert/5/

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

 

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

Washington, December 3, 1963.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Vol. 2. Secret.

McGB:

Key issues on which Presidential stamp needed shortly are following (I've held off harassing as long as I could but time growing short as indicated):

1. Yemen. We're probably in for real trouble here, as no one now thinks UAR will pull enough out by 4 January to permit us to get disengagement extended once again. Nasser has the bear by the tail and the fool can't let go. So we face some tough decisions (a) on our jets, which we're in effect committed to withdraw if Faysal resumes arms shipments; (b) what next steps to prevent explosion. Airing of UAR's record of course will make it all the harder for LBJ not to cut off aid under Gruening Amendment. At my urging NEA (but not 7th floor yet) is ready with anti-Saudi proposals (To Jidda 440/2/ attached). However, Hart (Jidda 561)/3/ thinks we should go to UN and pin Nasser. In any case, at latest we ought to give LBJ a brief this weekend and meet early next week./4/

/2/Document 373.

/3/Document 372.

/4/A marginal notation by Komer at this point reads: "How about SG on these?"

[Here follows item 2 on an unrelated matter.]

3. Arab/Israeli problems and Israeli demands. Though no immediate issue presses (we have Eshkol 4 November letter/5/ to answer but can stall), we need to lay out whole complex of problems (security guarantee, aid to UAR, arms requests, Dimona and missiles, Jordan waters, refugees, etc.) to LBJ and get clear signal lest we fail to protect ourselves here and get defeated in detail. I've asked for State paper but would also do my own. We ought to have review before Xmas.

/5/See Document 356.

[Here follow items 4-6 on unrelated matters.]

RWK

 

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

Washington, December 3, 1963.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Komer Memos, Vol. 2. Secret.

McGB--

Adding to the impact of the last ten days is my increasingly grim feeling that we're in for a time of trouble throughout the Middle East.

[Here follows discussion of India, North Africa, and Cyprus.]

On the Arab-Israeli front, the Baathis (if they survive) will be even more aggressive than Nasser, and in turn force Nasser to be more aggressive to compete with them. Beginning of Jordan River diversion in 1964 will precipitate affairs at a time when our hands will be partly bound by 1964 elections. Meanwhile the process of political maturation goes on in the Arab states--coup follows coup; as soon as we make friends with one regime, it's ousted by another. I raise Yemen last among these problems, because it is intrinsically not very important. But the way the Saudis (and I am sorry to say our British friends) are playing it, the UAR's failure to perform in Yemen will be used as a club to try and force us to do what we have so far avoided--coming down on one side against the other. And it will add powerful impetus to the Gruening effort to cut off aid to the UAR. But Nasser won't get out of Yemen just because we cut off aid; we'd have to push him out. And if we try, you know where he'll go for support.

Indeed the only bright spot is Iran, where the Shah's "white revolution" is rocking along, its lack of economic steam fortunately compensated for by increasing oil revenues (estimated at some $425 million for 1964).

All these dire possibilities won't come to pass, but the trend is adverse. In large part this is a product of circumstances beyond our control, though I find State and others terribly slow to practice preventive diplomacy instead of reacting to events. But the important thing is that, if I'm even half right, President Johnson will be faced with a series of tough policy problems in my area (and no doubt the FE too), at a time when he'd prefer tranquillity--if not a few successes--as 1964 elections draw near.

This memo is mood music to communicate my sense of foreboding. What we can do varies in each case; in some we have real leverage, in others little. But one problem in most cases is that the short term argues with the longer run. I suspect it would be domestically popular, for example, to revert to a tougher line on impossible neutralists like Nasser, Sihanouk, Sukarno, Ben Bella, or even Nehru, though I fear this would merely give new openings to the Soviets and Chinese (as did our policy in the '50s). At any rate I'm still trying to act as gadfly, and will have thoughts on all the above.

RWK/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.

 

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

Washington, December 3, 1963, 8:17 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Confidential. Drafted by Seelye, cleared by Davies and Judd, and approved by Jernegan. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, Taiz, Dhahran, Aden, and USUN.

3413. USG has increasing evidence YARG leaders desire good relations with both SAG and HMG/SAF, partly no doubt as result increasing revulsion against UAR occupation Yemen. Accordingly, tangible HMG gestures in direction propitiating YARG over coming weeks would appear be in HMG's overall interest. HMG agreement to Aden border pullback/2/ is step in this direction. Would be most helpful in addition if HMG could "clear air" further by: (1) making more vigorous effort circumscribe free-wheeling activities Sharif of Beihan (FYI. We remain unconvinced Aden authorities doing their utmost this regard. End FYI); (2) passing word to royalists HMG fully supports Spinelli effort obtain political compromise in order spike royalist belief they enjoy HMG moral and--potentially material--support; and (3) agreeing to exchange Consuls with YARG in order establish useful line of communication with YARG and to get USG off embarrassing hook of seeming endorse series of HMG representations to YARG. Request your comments as to appropriateness making above points to HMG at this time./3/

/2/Documentation is ibid., POL 32-1 ADEN-YEMEN. See also the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.

/3/On December 4, the Embassy in London responded in telegram 2615 that while the British Government was reluctant to improve relations with Yemen for a number of reasons, the United States should continue to press them on this subject. The Embassy offered further proposals on how to approach the United Kingdom on this subject in telegram 2631, December 5. Both telegrams are in Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ADEN-YEMEN.

Rusk

 

379. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot) to the Ambassador to the United Arab Republic (Badeau)/1/

Washington, December 4, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 218, UAR, AID 1. Secret; Official-Informal. Drafted by Dickman on November 29 and cleared in draft by Davies, Gaud, and in substance by Williams and Phillips.

Dear John: We have been pondering answers to the different questions you have raised in your letter of November 16,/2/ especially in light of events of the past few days.

/2/Not found.

At this time, there is no precise picture of what the effect of the Gruening Amendment is going to be. As you have pointed out, aggression is a subjective term. No one has been able to define it successfully, not even the United Nations after fifteen years of debate. The broader concept of preparing for aggression is even more difficult. Before President Kennedy's assassination, the Administration was examining how to put a better perspective on the Amendment, possibly by (1) having a statement in the Conference report interpreting the sense of Congress which would stress the importance of the President's judgment in determining whether aggression in fact exists, (2) seeking an amendment of the PL-480 Act which would permit transactions under this Act notwithstanding the Gruening Amendment in the Foreign Assistance Act, and (3) interpreting the provisions of the Gruening Amendment in a strict and properly narrow sense.

The Administration is of course sensitive to the fact that the Amendment could become a tool for opponents or pressure groups seeking to put it on the defensive. The Amendment almost puts the executive in a position of having to argue publicly with Congress whether aggression did or did not take place or justify why a determination was or was not made. President Kennedy's press statement of November 14 made clear that the executive branch must have freedom of action to deal with problems as they arise. In President Johnson's statement to Congress on November 27,/3/ he specifically referred to the need to preserve executive flexibility in the conduct of foreign affairs. We have recommended that the President issue a statement at the time the Foreign Aid Bill is signed in which he will comment on problems posed by this legislative action and of his intentions to employ his authority according to a strict and careful definition of aggression and aggressive intent. Although the House-Senate Conference now meeting to review the Foreign Aid Bill has not acted to change the Farbstein-Gruening Amendment, it has acted to remove a number of other mandatory strictures which had been placed in the Aid bill. Also, we now have a letter from Congressman Farbstein confirming the interpretation we had already placed on the Amendment; namely, that it leaves the initiative in determining aggression to the executive.

/3/For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-64, pp. 8-11.

Since the application of the Gruening Amendment requires Presidential determination and we can expect that the President will wish to use this authority judiciously, it should not significantly alter our current aid relationship provided the UAR does not take action which could be classed as aggression in the full sense of the word and require the President to make a determination. Providing military assistance to a country that has requested it, such as Algeria, would probably not be considered aggression if this was all that was involved. The same could be said of the Yemen. However, when the UAR bombs Saudi territory, or refuses to withdraw from a Demilitarized Zone surveyed by the United Nations, or violates Saudi airspace with its military aircraft, the determination of whether aggression has occurred becomes more difficult. Certainly the pressure to make such a determination increases.

To answer your questions more specifically, our analysis to date indicates a determination of aggression under the Gruening Amendment would affect both AID and Public Law 480 Title I assistance. As regards the former, no further fund obligations, either for new or continuing activities, could be incurred and it might be necessary to reconsider further implementation of activities under way in light of the Congressional policy expressed. This would mean examining each project on a case by case basis. The provision of the amendment prohibiting sales under PL-480 would probably preclude issuance of further procurement authorizations pursuant to the Title I agreement. There is some possibility that assistance under programs sponsored by voluntary agencies (Title III) may still be possible in whole or in part. Now local currency loan obligations would probably be precluded. Since the statutory language is significantly different from previous "termination of aid" provisions, the precise legal effect may not be determined for some time.

Our new President's views regarding an economic aid relationship with the UAR frankly are not known to us. If his statement to Congress on November 27 is any indication, he will wish to avoid precipitating a crisis through halting of aid. However, since the ability of the Administration to pursue this policy will depend a great deal on the image that the UAR projects in the United States, we cannot expect that the President will want to be called upon to argue away ill-conceived actions which the UAR may take. As you have correctly surmised, Congressional attitudes toward U.S.-UAR relations have been affected by events outside of the Arab-Israel dispute and your moves to point out that Zionism alone is not responsible for the Gruening Amendment are well taken.

If you can avoid discussion of the Gruening Amendment for the time being with Dr. Kaissouni or other Egyptians, that would be best. I cannot overemphasize the importance of not identifying President Johnson's Administration with my view of the Amendment before the President has had opportunity to examine the matter in detail. You can, of course, make clear to Dr. Kaissouni that it remains our purpose to stand by our commitments, and we hope to continue to operate our aid program on a "business as usual" basis. However, the three requirements which we indicated to Dr. Kaissouni last October still remain and no new commitments can be expected until we can see effective action in these three areas. In the meantime, it should be recognized that the Yemen developments have made it increasingly difficult for us to rationalize effectively our aid policy toward the UAR. If progress does not occur, we face the very real danger of eventual Congressional action directly to ban aid to the UAR.

With kindest personal regards.

Sincerely,

Phillips Talbot/4/

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

 

380. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/

SNIE 30-4-63

Washington, December 4, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Near and Middle East. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet: "The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, AEC, and NSA." All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in this estimate on April 17, except the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained because the subject was outside his jurisdiction.

A December 10 memorandum from Komer to Bundy indicates that Komer requested that this estimate be written "as basis for our responding to Israelis that we do not see UAR rocket development as posing threat Israelis claimed." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Central Files, Vol. 2) The memorandum is in the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.

THE UAR MISSILE PROGRAM AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR ISRAEL

The Problem

To estimate the probable developments in the UAR missile program over the next five years, and their implications for Israel.

Conclusions

A. By mid-1964 the United Arab Republic (UAR) may be able to deploy a few surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) capable of reaching Israel, but these missiles would probably have no more than a 500-pound payload, and a CEP on the order of 5-10 miles. They would not have nuclear warheads, and their military value would be trifling. (Paras. 1-6)

B. Over the next five years, the UAR will doubtless seek to produce more, and more accurate, SSMs. Because of high costs, inadequate production facilities, and shortage of competent personnel, we believe that the UAR is unlikely to deploy more than a few hundred SSMs, and the figure could well be substantially less. (Para. 7)

C. Israel's leaders claim that UAR missiles, despite their inefficiency, could seriously affect Israeli morale and disrupt mobilization, thus enabling UAR conventional forces to overrun Israel. In view of the inaccuracy, limited payload, and limited reliability of the UAR missiles, we believe it extremely unlikely that any UAR missile attack would have such serious results, at least for the next five years. (Paras. 10-13)

D. Israel has contracted with a French firm for 250 sophisticated SSMs [1 line of source text not declassified]. While the factors which have inhibited a new outbreak of Arab-Israeli hostilities in recent years still apply, the progress of the advanced weapons programs will raise tensions on both sides. In an atmosphere of this kind, there will always be the danger that one side or the other might initiate hostile action. (Paras. 14-15)

[Here follows the Discussion section of the Estimate; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on the Arab-Israeli dispute.]

 

381. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, December 6, 1963, 2:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 NR EAST. Confidential. Drafted by Blackiston on December 9 and approved in M on December 30.

SUBJECT
Discussion of Near East Developments and OPEC
/2/

/2/A memorandum from Davies to Talbot, September 16, contains information on the OPEC Conference, then scheduled for November 1963, and its implications for U.S. policy. (Ibid., PET 3 OPEC) A memorandum from Symmes to Talbot, December 11, contains a recommended course of action with respect to OPEC. (Ibid.) Both memoranda are in the Supplement, the regional compilation. Briefing memoranda prepared prior to the December 6 meeting are in Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 66 D 5, Memos to Secretary and through S/S.

PARTICIPANTS
See Attached List
/3/

/3/The list is printed below.

Governor Harriman noted that the previous four meetings with the oil companies had been held pursuant to their requests./4/ This time the invitation had come at the Department's initiative because of the uncertain political periods ahead which the Department faces. The Yemen situation will likely become worse before it improves. While we are very concerned with developments in that country, no U.S. troops are going to be used to "liberate" Yemen. A second source of difficulty is the impending Israel diversion of the Jordan waters. The Gruening Amendment to the Aid bill will likely create more trouble than it will help. Its effect will tend to reduce our influence in the Near East area.

/4/Documentation on these meetings is in the Supplement, the regional compilation.

Governor Harriman asked Mr. Talbot for an extension of these remarks. Mr. Talbot said that we had previously thought that we might ease by the Jordan waters diversion date without major difficulty. Now we are not so sure. UAR attitudes toward this problem are important. We support Israel's diversions of Jordan waters as long as they do not exceed Johnston plan allocations. Belligerent statements from Syria and Iraq and the current meeting of the Arab military leaders on this issue are a source of increasing concern.

We are also disturbed by the growing arms race in the Middle East. There is always the chance of a rash act. The Baath party at least had the advantage of discipline within the ranks, now this is being dissipated. The Baathis have been squeezed out in Iraq and a similar development seems to be taking place in Syria.

The Israelis are quite unhappy about our vote on paragraph 11 of UNGA Resolution 194(III). They have asserted that United States action during last year's debate signified a new U.S. attitude toward the problem. We have not considered our action of last year as in any way reversing our long-standing policy on the refugee issue.

In recent months 80 percent of our energy has been devoted to the Yemen issue. UN Ambassador Spinelli is in the Yemen seeking to find a formula whereby the base of the Yemen government can be broadened. He is due back in about 10 days. Between then and January 4, when the UNYOM exercise terminates, a whole series of policy decisions by the U.S. and the UN must be taken. As matters now stand, it seems unlikely that major withdrawals of UAR forces will take place before that date since, given the nature of the YAR, this is politically and militarily not feasible for Nasser. It appears, therefore, that UNYOM will be terminated in its present form after January 4. It is, of course, already substantially changed from what it was in the first two months of its operation when Yugoslav combat units were on the scene. We want to see a UN political presence remain in Yemen so that pressure can be kept up for a broadened YARG. In our judgment the pressures on the UAR to reduce its presence in Yemen to limits tolerable for Faysal and the British are building up. One of these is the growing disenchantment in Yemen with the Egyptians. There is also the economic burden which the operation imposes on the UAR. Two months ago we made it clear to the UAR that no new economic aid would be forthcoming while the Yemen drain continued. Economic advisers to Nasser will be the first to recognize the effect on the UAR economy.

Pressures for withdrawal are also working within the UAR Government and within the Near East area generally. Nasser's prestige has declined as it becomes clear that he is caught in Yemen and cannot extricate himself nor gain a victory. For us this argues against making January 4 a decisive date.

While UNYOM has not succeeded in removing the UAR force from Yemen, it has kept the conflict from escalating and involving a weak Saudi Arabian regime. The Soviet presence in Yemen has been reduced by about half. Present indications are that the YAR does not wish the Soviets to stay on in any appreciable numbers. The situation thus boils down to the attitude of Faysal. In the judgment of the Department an aid cut-off would not mean UAR disengagement, but it would greatly injure our position in the NE area. There are even those in the UAR who would like to see us abandon our assistance to the UAR so that another cause celebre like the Suez might be created which would serve to rally the Arabs around Nasser.

We are still working with the UAR on the Arab-Israel problem--not with great success but still the UAR is more moderate than Iraq and Syria.

Mr. Owen asked what the USG position would be if, after January 4, the UAR resumes its bombing of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Talbot replied that the question would then be whether or not such bombing were aggression. If the President so determined, then we would have no flexibility in the situation. Mr. Talbot observed that the question of aggression is very difficult to define--the subject having been wrestled with by the League of Nations as well as the UN.

Mr. Noble asked whether the USG is considering withdrawal of recognition of Yemen. Mr. Talbot replied that in considering all possible courses of action, we could pull out our Embassy and aid program from Yemen but we believe this would be interpreted as abandonment of Yemen to the UAR. Mr. Roosevelt said that the Shah feels strongly that withdrawal of recognition would be otherwise interpreted by Nasser and in the Middle East area. Mr. Talbot responded that the monarchies of the Middle East and Israel have one view of the Yemen situation but other states of the area have a different view. As a practical matter there is not for the moment in Yemen an alternative to the present regime.

OPEC

At the suggestion of Mr. Parkhurst, Mr. Page turned the discussion to the subject of OPEC. Mr. Page said that Mr. Pattison (BP), one of the "3 P's", had received a telegram from Rouhani following the December 4 OPEC meeting in Beirut stating that the companies' offer "as made" was unacceptable and that OPEC was going ahead with its plan for a December 24 meeting at which sanctions would be considered. Previously there had been reports that Iran was prepared to accept the Consortium offer but not the mechanism. On the other hand there were reports that the Saudis liked neither the offer nor the mechanism of achieving it. Mr. Page felt that the highest levels of the governments of the OPEC countries were not getting the oil company side of the story since all information was being channeled through Rouhani. Faysal, for example, does not understand the offer, he said.

Mr. Roosevelt demurred saying that as for the Shah he had spent two hours with him a few days ago, and he had found that the Shah had a very clear understanding of the offer and of Rouhani's counter proposals. Mr. Parkhurst asked if the Shah understood why the offer is the maximum which the companies can make. Mr. Roosevelt said that he does. However, he noted that the Shah had said that bargaining is what the companies and governments will have to live with for a number of years to come.

Mr. Page said the company offer gives the governments a 57-58 percent take which is comparable to any arrangements elsewhere in the world including that in Indonesia. It is better for the government than the SIRIP or Pan American deals in Iran. If the Venezuelan tax arrangements were offered to Iran, the GOI would receive less than under the Consortium offer. Mr. Parkhurst emphasized that it was a final offer but that it did not represent the least common denominator of the companies involved.

Mr. Page noted that Faysal now says that the situation is a political problem for him. Page remarked that the problem is one of Faysal's own making. If too much steam is put behind the issue, it will get out of hand. If there is a final breakdown between companies and governments, it will be "real warfare", he said.

Mr. Talbot said that he supposed steps had been taken to inform the governments of the details of the companies' offer and the rationale behind it. Mr. Page said that this had not yet occurred. The companies did not wish to give the impression that they are prepared to better their offer.

Governor Harriman asked what the companies might want the Department of State to do. Mr. Page replied that the companies might request the State Department to make sure, in Iran and Saudi Arabia, that the offer is understood. Mr. Talbot said that the Department would want the companies to have a firm idea of what they wanted in their own minds before we could consider taking any action.

Mr. Parkhurst observed that the coincidence of the impending Yemen and OPEC crises was most unfortunate, especially in view of Faysal's deep involvement in the former.

Governor Harriman asked about the proposal the Shah had made to Mr. Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt replied that the Shah had suggested expensing of only a part of the royalties for the time being. Mr. Parkhurst observed that if you accept expensing of part of the royalties, the oil company position against expanding this beachhead is shaky. On the other hand, the offset of the 8-1/2 percent discount on posted prices is sounder economically and can be defended. Mr. Page noted that the Consortium offer would give Iran $22 million more than it would receive under the present arrangement. The offer if applied throughout the Middle East would result in additional costs to the companies of $125 million. Additionally the take per barrel for Iran would be higher under the Consortium proposal than was its take in 1955 when the Consortium agreement was reached. Positively no company was prepared to exceed this offer; and if a showdown was inevitable, it might as well take place now.

Mr. Owen asked Mr. Davis whether, based on his conversations in Kuwait, Sayed Omar (Kuwait OPEC delegate) had indicated that he would oppose sanctions. Mr. Davis said Omar appeared moderate but it was very difficult for any one Arab to stand up against the more extreme in an OPEC meeting.

Mr. Roosevelt remarked on the December 2 Platt's Oilgram interview with Omar in which he had indicated a very conciliatory line and had suggested postponement of the OPEC meeting until March.

There followed discussion of the dangers of the issues becoming a matter of public debate and Mr. Talbot noted that we fear a band wagon situation. Mr. Page remarked that the tactic of OPEC is to get member governments into a position from which they cannot retreat. If any one person in OPEC is pushing the issues harder than the others, it is Yamani, perhaps aided by Watarri who has ambitions to succeed Rouhani as OPEC Secretary General. Perez Alfonso of Venezuela is perhaps also working behind the scenes. Venezuela has nothing to lose if an impasse between the companies and the Middle East governments is reached. If sanctions are applied against the companies, Venezuela is not affected.

Mr. Moses asked what Mr. Talbot thought of a diplomatic initiative with the Shah concerning OPEC in a manner which would not indicate any weakening of the company position. Mr. Talbot said that this was something which we would wish to look at very carefully.

LIST OF THOSE ATTENDING MEETING

Oil Executives
G. L. Parkhurst--Vice President and Director, Standard Oil Company of California; Director, Arabian American Oil Co.
William F. Bramstedt--Vice President, Standard Oil Company of California
John Noble--Vice President, Texaco, Inc.; Director, Arabian American Oil Co.
Howard Page--Director and Vice President, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey; Director, Arabian American Oil Co.
Henry C. Moses--Executive Vice President, Middle East Concessionary Interests, Socony Mobil
Oil Co.; Director, Arabian American Oil Co.
Garry Owen--Director and Vice President, Arabian American Oil Co.
Kermit Roosevelt--Vice President, Gulf Oil Co.
Grady Davis--Vice President of Gulf Oil Co.

Department Officers
M--Governor Harriman
E--Assistant Secretary G. Griffith Johnson
NEA--Assistant Secretary Phillips Talbot
NEA--Deputy Assistant Secretary John D. Jernegan
NEA/NE--Rodger P. Davies
E/FSE--Andrew Ensor
AFN--David Newsom
NEA/NE/E--Slator C. Blackiston, Jr.

 

382. Memorandum on the Substance of Discussion at the Department of State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting/1/

Washington, December 6, 1963, 3:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, State-JCS Meetings: Lot 70 D 199. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text, which bears a typed note that it is a Department of State draft not cleared with the Department of Defense. The meeting was held at the Pentagon.

[Here follows a list of participants.]

Iran

Ambassador Holmes opened his presentation following an exchange of pleasantries between Mr. Johnson and General Wheeler. The Ambassador said that things are relatively quiet in Iran in terms of law and order; there are no scare cables; and, while progress is not going as planned it is still good. The Shah's reform program is changing the character of the entire society. He set out to destroy the old landlords and he has done so. He went directly to the peasants to accomplish this. The Shah has not yet consolidated his power but the Majlis is truly representative and is serving as the base for consolidation of power. The economy has improved and confidence is returning.

The opposition is disorganized and is no longer a threat. A lot of the credit for progress is due to internal security programs. The excellent work done in this area by ARMISH-MAAG is paying off handsomely. Ambassador Holmes noted that he was pleased with the five-year military aid program. It is a good program which is going well and it also helps to provide some leverage for control over the Shah's MAP demands. The Iranian Armed Forces are going well and General Eckhardt is doing an excellent job. He has very fine relations with the Shah. The Shah is preoccupied with defense. He wants more money and materiel. He is worried about the Persian Gulf but is not overly concerned with the USSR. Ambassador Holmes said that the Shah refuses to believe that there is no immediate threat from the Persian Gulf area and that he sees Egypt as an emerging threat. This vision worries the Shah badly. The Shah is a worrier by nature and he is given to going into black moods. Part of this worry is real and part is designed to attempt to force us into giving him destroyers, radar stations and torpedo boats.

The Shah requires assurances and the presence of carriers in the Indian Ocean will be pleasing to him. He should be told about the establishment of this force before any public announcement is made. This force will help to ease his worries about the Persian Gulf.

General Wheeler asked about the Shah's views on CENTO and Ambassador Holmes replied that the Shah had always used CENTO and cooperated with that organization.

General McKee then inquired about the reaction to General Adam's visit to Iran. Ambassador Holmes responded that the reaction was good and that the Shah had offered to permit pre-positioning in Iran of supplies and equipment for three U.S. divisions. General Adams told the Shah that he appreciated the offer; however, this offer would have to be given intensive study. At this point General Wheeler interjected that he would like to have new equipment for three divisions in the U.S. General Wheeler and Ambassador Holmes then had a brief exchange concerning the events surrounding the visit of the President of the USSR to Iran.

[Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.]

 

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

JCSM-953-63

Washington, December 7, 1963.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Near East, 1963. Secret.

SUBJECT
Near East Arms Policy (U)

1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-28675/63, dated 2 December 1963,/2/ subject as above, which requested the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the matter.

/2/Document 375.

2. The OSD proposed policy introduces two variants to the present policy which would:

a. Abandon the practice of deferring to European sources the sale of arms to Israel and the Arab states.

b. Not preclude the sale of so-called offensive weapons to Near East states on a case-by-case basis.

3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that the present US policy of avoiding actions likely to intensify the Arab-Israeli arms competition has not prevented an accelerated arms race in the area. While Soviet arms continue flowing to the UAR, Syria, and Iraq, West European arms suppliers are apparently intensifying their efforts to sell weapons in the area, sometimes in direct opposition to advice given by the United States. Current NIEs indicate that the flow of weapons to the Near East has so far not upset the substantial military equilibrium between Israel and the Arab states. Nevertheless, tension and antagonism between them and among some of the Arab states continue unabated. A change in US policy so as to permit the selective sales of weapons on a case-by-case basis would not necessarily reduce these tensions or provide the area stability which the United States seeks. It would, however, provide greater flexibility in exerting US influence to restrict the flow of arms to the area and in maintaining the military equilibrium which inhibits actual hostilities. The appearance of US discrimination in the Arab-Israeli conflict could be expected, however, to impair US influence with the adversary discriminated against. The Joint Chiefs of Staff therefore believe that US arms policy for the Near East should emphasize the requirement for effective limits and controls on the flow of arms into the area. The achievement of such controls, however, requires a more flexible Near Eastern arms policy than that currently in effect.

4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that certain of the other related actions contained in the OSD proposed memorandum to the President would afford an opportunity for the United States to assert leadership in establishing an arms control in the Near East area. By initiating some of these actions, the United States could possibly receive credit for being the predominant influence leading to area arms stabilization and at the same time avoid the onus for stimulating an arms race.

5. In summary, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the substantial military equilibrium presently existing among Near Eastern states does not warrant immediate action to supply major quantities of arms to any of those countries. Rather, the highest priority effort should be directed toward achieving agreement among Middle East arms suppliers to restrict the flow of arms into the area. Pending the results of such efforts, however, the arms policy should provide the requisite flexibility without positively identifying the United States with either side in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

6. For the foregoing reasons, the Joint Chiefs of Staff generally concur with the conclusions and "other related actions" proposed in the OSD draft memorandum, except as follows:

a. The "other related actions" which affect only Israel should be either eliminated or broadened in scope to include all Near Eastern countries.

b. The proposed measures to restrict the flow of arms into the area should be vigorously pursued as a first step.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

A. H. Manhart
Major General, USA
Deputy Director, Joint Staff

 

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

Washington, December 9, 1963, 8:31 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 33-1 ISR-JORDAN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Crawford, cleared by Campbell and Symmes, and approved by Jernegan. Repeated to Amman and by pouch to Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, London, Jerusalem, and USUN.

511. Jernegan saw Harman December 6 re Jordan waters and Knesset action on refugees./2/

/2/A briefing memorandum prepared for this meeting, from Davies to Jernegan, December 6, is ibid., NEA/IAI Files: Lot 70 D 229, Jordan Waters Memoranda. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., Central Files, POL 33-1 ISR-JORDAN. On December 3, the Israeli Knesset adopted a resolution that took "note of the statement of the Foreign Minister in the Knesset in December 1963, on discussions at the United Nations General Assembly, and takes cognizance of her declaration that the Government of Israel will not conduct negotiations in the matter of the Arab refugees on the basis of Paragraph 11 of United Nations Resolution 194 (III) of 1948." (Airgram 427 from Tel Aviv, December 18; ibid., REF 2 PAL)

Re Jordan waters Jernegan recalled his October 10 talk with Harman here and October 30 meeting with Yahil in Jerusalem. Jernegan said that at latter we received with gratification GOI reassurance full info re salinity, stream-flow, testing and withdrawal will be provided. But that meeting also showed continuing difference opinion re (1) amount Tiberias water GOI obliged release to Jordan, (2) Yarmuk allocation to Israel for Adasiya triangle, and (3) suggested Israel use of public relations theme signifying willingness accept international observation if Arabs do likewise.

Re (1) and (2) Jernegan said we can only support what was in Unified Plan (i.e, 100 mcms allocation of Tiberias waters to Jordan of which minimum of 85 mcms must be of average Tiberias salinity; 25 Yarmuk allocation to triangle). There is only one Plan and Arabs know what it is. USG is in position of "moral guarantor" of Israel's intentions. If we cannot truly say its actions are consistent with Plan, Arabs could exploit this difference in effort vitiate our support for Israel's forthcoming withdrawal program. Israel says there are in effect two Unified Plans, the other being that in Johnston's draft Memorandum July 5, 1955. Our records show however that on several occasions Johnston made it clear he regarded that draft as reflecting Israel's position and said it was not acceptable to him.

Re (3), we continue see need for quiet GOI statement of willingness accept observation on reciprocal basis. We need this to point to in talks with Arabs, who do not fully trust us as guarantor because we are so close to Israel. We are not discussing a mechanism. Mechanism provided for in Plan itself if it should ever come to that. We doubt it will. We think Arabs would be first to shy away from such mechanism.

Jernegan said we remain willing have Wiener and Criddle meet in Washington but not sure re purpose such talks or their timing.

Harman said he surprised by this approach, since he had understood full agreement reached with Jernegan in Jerusalem (Jernegan demurred), but would report and seek instructions.

Re refugees, Jernegan expressed concern at GOI statements in Knesset and at Knesset action disavowing paragraph 11. This poses serious problems for continuation our talk and for our efforts seek solution. Harman noted this but reacted along much same line as Meir with you (Embtel 649)./3/

/3/Telegram 649 from Tel Aviv, December 6, reported on a meeting between Meir and Barbour, during which Meir emphasized her unhappiness over the U.S. vote for U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1912 on the Palestinian refugee question. (Ibid., POL ISR-US)

Rusk

 

385. Paper Prepared in the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs/1/

Washington, December 11, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret. Jernegan transmitted this paper to Rusk on December 10 together with a draft letter from President Johnson to Crown Prince Faysal and a recommendation that both be sent to President Johnson. Jernegan noted that the Department of Defense reserved its position on the paper because of a question concerning the composition of Hard Surface, if it were to be continued. Sisco, Padelford, Symmes, and Robinson concurred in the paper. (Ibid.) The paper printed here and the draft letter to Faysal were sent to the White House under cover of a memorandum from Rusk to the President. In it, Rusk stated that the paper represented the consensus of the NSC Standing Group at its December 6 meeting, and that the report and the letter were drafted in consultation with a member of the White House staff. Records of the Standing Group meeting are ibid., S/S-NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265.

McGeorge Bundy and Komer forwarded Rusk's memorandum and its attachments to President Johnson on December 11, under cover of a memorandum that reads in part: "We face a minor crisis over Yemen shortly, because UAR failure to withdraw enough troops from Yemen will probably lead to the demise of the UN observer force. The Saudis did carry out their engagement not to supply the royalist side, so now want us to come down on their side. But we doubt that further US pressure would get Nasser to play ball; more likely it would have the opposite effect. So State recommends that we keep trying to make disengagement work, keep the Saudis and UAR apart, and promote a compromise regime in Yemen acceptable to both. As an incentive to Faysal not to resume aid to the royalists, we'd agree to keep our small jet fighter force there for another month or so." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Aides File, Bundy, Chron Dec. 63)

APPRAISAL AND RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION REGARDING YEMEN

Another turning point in our Yemen policy is approaching. The UAR has not pulled out a substantial number of troops as it is committed to do under the Bunker agreement. The UN Observer Mission (UNYOM) will not be extended after its terminal date of January 4, although a UN presence will continue. If Prince Faisal should carry out his threat to resume covert aid to the royalists after January 4, we could be faced with a major crisis in our relations with both Saudi Arabia and the UAR.

Background. Our concern throughout has been not Yemen itself but keeping the civil war from escalating into a Saudi-UAR fracas. In such a conflict the Saudis would look impotent (even if they did not collapse), and they would try every way to drag us in. So to protect our oil interests in Saudi Arabia we have tried to convince Faisal of the folly of his taking on Nasser. We also want to avoid wrecking our relations with the UAR and the attendant risk of a possible US-UAR military confrontation. We do not want to risk reversing the substantial decline in Soviet penetration of the Middle East by leaving the Soviets as the UAR's only outside contact.

The disengagement scheme, which Ambassador Bunker developed with the UAR and Saudis, and then with the UN, had a sweetener for Faisal. We sent a squadron of eight US jets (Hard Surface) as a symbol of our support (though we did so only after the Saudis agreed to halt aid to the Royalists). We thus bought nearly a year of time in which we have kept the two sides apart.

Our dilemma. But the disengagement scheme has stalled, and the UNYOM buffer probably cannot be again extended in its original form: (1) With 30,000 troops still in Yemen Nasser has not lived up to commitment for phased withdrawal--he has the bear by the tail and can't let go; (2) Faisal, who is under increasing criticism from the Saudi royal family, feels he cannot afford to stick to the bargain any longer and also sees a chance to get at Nasser through us; (3) U Thant is in no position to press for a continuing full-blown UN presence. (He will, however, probably be amenable to a continuing UN political presence whose prime task will be to seek reconciliation of the various factions in Yemen.)

Our aim is to keep the Yemen affair from blowing up before some kind of political compromise can be patched up (which both the Saudis and UAR can accept). We (and UN) have been trying to promote a broader-based coalition regime, still under UAR influence (so UAR troops would leave) but independent enough that Saudis and UK could live with it. However, it may take months for such a regime to emerge.

While buying time to work out such a compromise, we want to continue protecting Saudi Arabia from the consequences of a direct confrontation with Nasser which would almost certainly develop if Faisal resumed aid to the royalists. Convincing Faisal that this is in his interest has led to a growing crisis of confidence between us. With his Arab sense of honor and a long-standing grudge against Nasser, he feels strongly that because he carried out his disengagement pledges, while Nasser did not, we should now join him against Nasser. We must persuade Faisal to follow our advice.

The Stakes. What Faisal wants would mean abandoning, over so minor an issue as Yemen, the gradual influence over certain UAR policies we feel we achieved under President Kennedy. So long as the UAR does not trespass on our vital interests, the limited understanding we have achieved is of real value in our area wide policy. To break openly with Nasser now over Yemen would: (a) increase the danger of an Arab-Israeli explosion; (b) destroy our ability to get anywhere on Arab refugee or Arab-Israeli arms control issues; (c) nullify our influence with the key Arab state just when the Jordan Waters issue is heating up, and (d) cause the UAR to turn more to the Soviets, as it did when it alleged we reneged on the Aswan Dam.

Role of Hard Surface. We also want to avoid getting our small US deterrent force (8 jet fighters) unnecessarily involved in an inter-Arab war. We have consistently warned Faisal that we will not allow them to be used as an umbrella for resuming aid to the royalists. Our reasoning has been that this might cause the UAR to resume bombing the supply points inside Saudi Arabia, which in turn would lead to Saudi appeals for help. With our planes there, we would either have to respond or look like paper tigers to both sides.

But if we now pull out the squadron, the risk goes up too. Hard Surface is a symbol of our intentions to both sides. Nasser could conceivably also take its withdrawal as a signal that he can bomb Saudi Arabia at will. We would seem to be deserting our Saudi friends. If we flatly warn Nasser not to resume bombing, but he nevertheless does so, we must either react strongly or look like paper tigers in this case too.

One alternative would be to take a much harder line toward Nasser at this point, including either (a) ceasing US aid to the UAR--mostly PL-480 food; or withdrawing our recognition of the Yemeni Republic (YAR). But we estimate that neither course would succeed in forcing withdrawal of UAR troops from Yemen or a favorable change in Nasserist policies. On the contrary, such actions against the nation which has half the population of the entire area would increase Nasser's prestige at our expense, sharply set back our relations with the majority of other Arab states, and enhance the Soviet position in the area.

Withdrawal of US recognition from the YAR, as suggested by Senator Hickenlooper as well as by some senior US oil executives, would require us to close our diplomatic and AID mission in Yemen and withdraw completely from the country. It would certainly constitute a slap in the face to Nasser but would accomplish none of our objectives.

So the preferred alternative remains that of working to keep the Yemen war damped down, while seeking to reduce Egyptian influence in the Yemen to a level tolerable to Faisal and the British without disrupting our relations with the UAR in the process. Given time, this can be achieved. The Egyptians are increasingly unpopular in the Yemen, among the republicans as well as others. The Yemen operation, while possibly not as costly as we had estimated earlier, nevertheless is straining Egyptian capabilities. We have given Egypt a clear signal that no new aid commitments can be expected until the Yemen situation improves; this will further strain the Egyptian economy and strengthen the voices of Nasser's economic advisers vis-a-vis his military commanders. Further dragging out of the Yemen imbroglio will also erode still more Nasser's already depreciated prestige in the area.

Recommended Policy Decisions. In the coming weeks we believe we should, therefore:

1. Support the continuation of a UN political presence in Yemen as it has evolved (but financed by the UN) with continued emphasis on UN Representative Spinelli's efforts to bring about a broader-based Yemen regime, while agreeing to the termination of UNYOM.

2. Use all resources at our disposal to persuade Faisal that it is in his and our best interests that Saudi aid to the royalists not be resumed, including:

a. The extension of Hard Surface in Saudi Arabia by another month (until January 31, 1964). While informing Faisal of this, we would also stress that:

1) Under no circumstances can Hard Surface serve as an umbrella for the resumption of Saudi aid to the Yemeni royalists.

2) Hard Surface is only one tangible manifestation of USG support for Saudi Arabia and must soon be withdrawn.

3) The USG has other forces available in the area.

b. The dispatch of a Presidential message reaffirming USG support for Saudi Arabia's integrity and once again requesting his support of our Yemen policies (see attached draft).

c. The dispatch of instructions to Ambassador Hart to inform Faisal that USG would support a complaint raised by Saudi Arabia before the UN Security Council should deliberate and unprovoked UAR aggression against Saudi territory occur.

d. Public reaffirmation, if Faisal wishes, of USG support for Saudi integrity.

3. Continue to press Nasser:

a. To withdraw his troops from Yemen while recognizing that expeditious UAR troop withdrawals cannot be expected until a viable republican regime is created in Yemen;

b. To support actively the development of a broader-based regime in Yemen;

c. To refrain from attacks on Saudi Arabia.

4. Promote the restoration of diplomatic relations between the UAR and Saudi Arabia as an important step toward reaching an accommodation over Yemen. Do whatever is possible to bring about direct contact between Saudi Arabia and the Yemen Republican leaders.

 

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

Washington, December 16, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, PET 3 OPEC. Confidential. Drafted by Blackiston and cleared by Ensor (FSE).

SUBJECT
OPEC--Your Meeting on This Subject This Afternoon, December 16, 1963
/2/

/2/At the Secretary's staff meeting on December 16, according to the minutes, Talbot reported: "The OPEC oil situation is reaching a crisis with European meetings today and tomorrow. Mr. Ball asked to meet Mr. Talbot and Mr. Chayes on this in the afternoon." No record of the meeting has been found.

Discussion

At an OPEC meeting in Beirut December 4, offers of the oil companies to an OPEC demand on "expensing" of royalties were rejected (see attached)./3/ A further OPEC meeting is scheduled for December 24 in Riyadh and there is grave danger that resolutions calling for arbitrary member government action against the companies will be passed. The refusal of the companies' offer has already become public knowledge. Some representatives in the OPEC organization, notably the delegate of Iraq, have taken an extreme position. Mainly because Venezuela seeks to up the price of Middle East oil so that that of Venezuela will become more competitive, the Venezuelan delegate has sided with the extreme faction.

/3/The attachment, "OPEC Royalty Expense Resolution and Companies' Offer," is not printed.

Prime Minister Alam of Iran is gravely concerned by the developing situation and has dispatched an Iranian Government emissary, Reza Falla, to meet with the Iranian Consortium in London on December 17. He is taking with him a number of proposals described by Alam as reasonable and flexible. Alam states that if an understanding is reached between Falla and the Consortium, this will give Iran strength to oppose extremist Arabs at Riyadh. The Iranian Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been instructed to approach the respective governments in order to obtain a common front for moderation.

Thus far the steps we have taken are as follows:

With the Oil Companies--At a meeting with senior oil company executives on December 6, without reference to the merits of the companies' offer, I urged that means be found to keep discussions going with the governments and avoid an impasse.

In Iran--Our Charge has informed Prime Minister Alam that the USG shares Iranian Government concern over the situation. He commended the sending of Falla to meet with the Consortium.

In Saudi Arabia--Ambassador Hart had dinner with Petroleum Minister Yamani December 15 at the latter's request. Yamani said he had begun to see a ray of light in a previously hopelessly bad situation. Ambassador Hart said Aramco and the SAG were a partnership which should work together. Yamani agreed but was unwilling to go further in the discussion. Yamani may be willing to accept an Aramco proposal for a secret meeting with Consortium representatives, Aramco officials and Rouhani (OPEC Secretary General) this week, perhaps in Rome. Ambassador Hart recommends against formal representations to Crown Prince Faisal or Yamani pending the results of the Rome meeting.

If an impasse is to be avoided, it now seems evident that the companies must alter their offer. It appears that the amount of the offer (3-1/2 cents per barrel in the case of Iran) could be accepted by Iran and Saudi Arabia and probably Kuwait. The governments, however, object vigorously to the discounting mechanism of achieving this sum since it would, in effect, mean recognition of further posted price reductions, which is anathema to them. The governments also object strongly to some of the conditions particularly that relating to a quit claim against any future government demands. It therefore appears that if an impasse is to be avoided, the companies will have to make some modification in the mechanism of the offer and in some of its conditions. The Kuwait OPEC delegate has suggested that depletion allowances or a change in depreciation could be the means to this end.

We have the impression that some of the companies are now thinking of the possibility of modifying their offer even though all had previously stated that the offer was final.

The British are very greatly concerned by this situation and we are exchanging information regularly.

Mr. Talbot and Mr. Jernegan of NEA, Mr. Davies and Mr. Blackiston of NE, and Mr. Ensor of FSE will attend your meeting.

Recommendation:

We propose the following course of action.

1. That we take no further action with the companies or with the governments pending the results of the Consortium meeting now taking place in London and the subsequent meetings with Reza Falla, Yamani and Rouhani. (We have now learned that a meeting of the Consortium with Falla took place today, but we have no details.)

2. If no progress is apparent, we call in the American companies, certainly not later than Friday, December 20, to state that national policy as well as the companies' own interests require sufficient modifications in their proposal to permit a useful resumption of the dialogue with the governments.

3. If the companies agree to (2) above, we consider instructing Ambassador Hart to intervene with Crown Prince Faisal urging moderation so that talks with the companies have a chance of success.

4. In the event that our intervention with the companies and the governments is required, we urge the British to take similar steps with their companies and suggest an approach by the British Ambassador to the Ruler of Kuwait.

 

387. Memorandum From William R. Polk of the Policy Planning Council to the Counselor and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow)/1/

Washington, December 17, 1963.

/1/Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, William K. Polk Chron. Secret.

SUBJECT
Iran

Ambassador Holmes was away from Tehran during my visit but, because my airplane to Kabul was canceled, I had a chance to spend a few extra days talking with various members of the Staff and old friends. My general impressions disturbed me a great deal.

Ambassador Holmes' reporting from Iran is a highly personal and direct one. Most of it consists of what the Shah and the Foreign Minister and he have discussed. Supplementary reporting from other Embassy officers does not add a great deal to this. The single exception is a reporting of a former Harvard colleague of mine, Mr. William Miller, who has visited most of the remote areas of Iran and is writing about such programs as Land Distribution.

During the last decade, there have been major structural changes in Iranian society. For example, there are some eleven thousand Iranian students abroad today. Major changes have taken place in the Primary and Secondary school systems to the point where the whole strata of the Iranian society which never before were involved in the educational process are now deeply involved. Literacy is now reaching a very much higher proportion of the society than was the case even a few years ago.

At the same time that this rise in access to information has occurred, bringing with it a corresponding rise in aspirations, the note [rate] of economic growth has slowed appreciably. There has probably been no rise in gross national product for this year and may indeed have been a slight decline.

Similarly, the Shah's control over the repressive machinery of his government is tightened. However, the Shah now speaks for an even smaller proportion of the ruling elite than was the case here two years ago. There is notable dissatisfaction within the ruling circle, apparently including even the chief of his security and intelligence apparatus and the Prime Minister. The Shah has even fired his Minister of Court who was his most notable stooge in the whole government structure.

However, none of these major structural changes or the adverse political changes have been mirrored adequately in the reporting from the Embassy. Indeed, I should go so far as to say that the Iran we know in Washington from the reporting of the Embassy is a different country from that mirrored in scholarly American studies and in what one can pick up in Tehran.

The attitude of the American Embassy in Tehran is strongly affected by the experience of the Iranian Task Force which was convened in Washington in the early days of this administration. The Deputy Chief of Mission of our Embassy in Tehran told me that he felt no need of any further attempts at cooperation or collaboration with any government departments and indeed he felt that his Embassy was under slightly less harassment than it had been in the past and that all it really wanted was to be left alone by Washington. This is such a striking contrast to the attitude of the American Ambassador in Ankara, that it is perhaps the key of the difference between the two situations. We have almost no contacts at all with anyone in any of the opposition groups in Iran.

Indeed, if the assassination of President Kennedy should be followed by the assassination of the Shah as everyone, including the Shah, thought possible, there is no single institution upon which the Iranian Government would devolve. Even the major leader of the moderate opposition to the Shah, the former director of the planned organization, Mr. Ebtehaj, told me that he would be horrified if anything should happen to the Shah today. He said, "The situation would simply disintegrate here." Our political counselor admitted to me that his contacts were so limited that if the Shah should die or be replaced, as nearly happened a few weeks ago when the Shah took the whole ruling family on an airplane ride, we would be almost totally out of touch with the political situation.

This leads me to believe that we need very much to mount a National Policy Paper of Iran in the springtime but that it must be done with extreme caution and care to the susceptibilities of the Embassy in Tehran in order to secure their cooperation.

In the meantime, I must say that I am disturbed by almost everything that I saw during my short visit to Tehran. I do not believe that we are in a better position today than we were two years ago. To the contrary, I believe that we may be in a considerably worse situation.

 

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

Washington, December 18, 1963, 8:04 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN. Secret. Drafted by Campbell on December 12; cleared by Davies, Seelye, Barrett (in substance), Buffum, and Jernegan; and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, London, Taiz, Ottawa, and CINCSTRIKE.

1709. Yemen. Suggest USUN seek early opportunity discuss with SYG question of continuing UN presence in Yemen. We believe it useful for us to present our ideas if possible before he receives Spinelli report and makes any definite decisions, even though he will undoubtedly wish to have Spinelli's recommendations before committing himself. However, we would appreciate receiving any information on his tentative thinking since this would be most helpful in planning our own action in area and insuring it will complement UN efforts. We suggest you take following general line:

1. With UNYOM approaching end of current mandate on Jan. 4, USG has been conducting thorough review Yemen situation and has reached following preliminary conclusions (These are of course subject to some change upon further reflection, and especially in the light of Spinelli's eventual recommendations when they become available):

(a) Only present hope for solution of problem is in establishment broadly-based and viable YARG. Best chance of accomplishing this lies in hands of Spinelli.

(b) Nasser does not appear to be making adequate progress in fulfilling his promise to withdraw troops from Yemen, and we doubt whether on Jan. 4 UAR forces will be drawn down sufficiently to satisfy Faisal. However, we still feel he would like to withdraw all but training mission as soon as possible if political situation in Yemen permitted.

(c) Although Faisal will be under heavy pressure to renew arms and financial aid to Royalists when UNYOM ends on Jan. 4 with strong concentrations UAR troops still in Yemen, it may be possible to persuade him in his own interest to desist.

2. In these circumstances, USG currently inclined:

(a) To continue to press Nasser: to withdraw his troops; to refrain from further bombing attacks on Saudi Arabia; to move toward general detente with SAG, and to support actively efforts by UN and others to establish viable coalition govt in Yemen.

(b) To assure Faisal we will continue to press Nasser to disengage; strongly urge Faisal not to renew aid to the Royalists; seek his cooperation in efforts to establish viable regime in Yemen; and urge him to respond favorably both to UAR overtures for reconciliation and friendly overtures from YAR.

3. We regard Spinelli role, in seeking internal reconciliation in Yemen and in arranging SAG accommodation with UAR and YAR, as crucial. Consequently we believe it of vital importance to continue UN presence along lines in which it has been evolving under leadership of Spinelli. USG will continue to give all possible support to Spinelli's efforts and to take other steps with parties which will help contribute to the success of his mission.

4. We assume that SYG shares our view regarding need to continue Spinelli mission and would be prepared to act affirmatively on basis of general understanding with parties without formal SC action. We would hope in light his position last October he would agree to finance it henceforth out of UN contingency funds and would not find it necessary to set terminal date on mission. It may require some time for Spinelli to work out solution; if no time limit set, this would avoid difficulty UNYOM encountered in working under short deadlines. While SYG will undoubtedly wish report his intentions to SC members, assume he would agree that formal SC meeting neither necessary nor desirable.

5. While many details must be considered in continuing UN presence, we believe one should be taken up as soon as SYG decides continue operation. This involves small Canadian air transport unit without which Spinelli would be severely handicapped, and dependent on UAR, at least for moving about Yemen. In view GOC's possible misgivings about maintaining air transport, we think it would be wise for SYG to seek Canadian agreement soonest to leave at least two-plane unit in Yemen to transport Spinelli and UN observers./2/

/2/In telegram 2543 from USUN, December 19, the Mission reported that Stevenson gave the substance of this telegram to Secretary-General U Thant, who was accompanied by Bunche and Spinelli. Among other points, Spinelli said that he was convinced that Nasser had no more than 21,000 troops in Yemen and wanted to remove all his troops from Yemen except for a training contingency and would reduce his forces as long as it was safe to do so. Spinelli also pointed to a great deal of evidence that the British were actively supporting the Royalists in Yemen in order to protect their position in Aden. (Ibid.)

Ball

 

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

Washington, December 19, 1963, 6:49 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL SAUD-US. Secret. Drafted by Komer and Seelye; cleared by Davies, Jernegan, Baldwin, and McGeorge Bundy; and approved by Talbot.

486. Following is letter from President to be delivered to Faisal in conjunction with instructions to follow:

"December 19, 1963

"Your Royal Highness:

"Since the tragic death of President Kennedy, I have reiterated, as you know, the continuity of United States policies and purposes in every part of the world. In regard to our relations with your country, however, I have gone beyond reiteration to undertake intensive personal re-examination of the past and study of the future--including careful review of the communications exchanged between you and President Kennedy./2/

/2/Faysal's most recent letter to Kennedy, dated October 31, was transmitted in telegram 473 from Jidda, November 3. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 476, Saudi Arabia)

"I share to the fullest the conviction of the late President that understanding between the United States and Saudi Arabia is imperative and that candid exchange of views is most desirable. In that spirit, I am communicating now to express the hope that the beginning of my Administration will mean no interruption in the friendly rapport enjoyed personally between you and President Kennedy.

"United States-Saudi relations have long been outstandingly amiable. Our friendship for your country and your people has not only been professed in words, it has been expressed in deeds again and again. I am determined this pattern shall continue under my Administration.

"From the exchanges I have reviewed, I know your concern for our policy toward Yemen. We have only one purpose in regard to Yemen: to protect Saudi Arabia's integrity. We believe it essential for Saudi Arabia's security that direct confrontation with the UAR in Yemen be avoided. You have kept your disengagement agreements. The UAR's performance has been far less satisfactory. In view of this, I would like to express my views and interests personally.

"First: on its present course, the UAR is gaining little, losing much in Yemen. UAR problems are many. Yemen's drain on UAR resources is great. UAR is not winning popular support among the people. Yemen can well prove to be a trap for those who would seek to dominate it. On the other hand, your course for Saudi Arabia is steadily increasing world stature and respect for yourself and your country. I hope this may continue.

"Second: we had earlier concluded cutting off United States aid to the UAR would not hasten UAR withdrawal but would more likely provoke closer UAR ties with the Soviets, contrary to your interest and our own purposes of minimizing Soviet influence in the Arab world. I feel it especially unwise to pursue or even consider this course at this time, as I am sure you will understand. Let me add: I would be concerned that resumption of Saudi aid to Yemeni royalists now most likely would provide Nasser with provocation for resuming bombing attacks, relying even more on Soviet assistance, and attempting to shift to you the burden of responsibility which he now must bear.

"Third: we and the United Nations are moving the UAR toward a political compromise and withdrawal. These efforts will be pursued resolutely. I hope no actions are taken frustrating this direction and causing Nasser to commit himself more firmly to remain in Yemen.

"The United States has counseled restraint in the past. Coming into this office now, as I have, I want to renew those same counsels, believing this to be of greatest service to our mutual interests and the interests of world peace. I would not ask this, of course, except in the belief that Saudi Arabia is secure, that events are moving toward an independent Yemen ruled by Yemenis, and the indications which we have that the/3/ Yemen Arab Republic might take a much stiffer attitude toward the UAR if assured of a friendly attitude on your part.

/3/In telegram 660 from Jidda, December 24, Hart recommended that the words "leaders of the" be inserted at this point in the letter to Faysal. (Ibid., Central Files, POL SAUD-US) The Department of State approved the addition in telegram 502 to Jidda, December 25. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 476, Saudi Arabia)

"I have written frankly, in a spirit of friendship, hoping you will not hesitate to communicate with equal frankness in that same spirit. In the memory of your great father, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, and that of my illustrious predecessors, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, I ask your help in this time when I must assume global responsibilities for the peace and security of free men everywhere. You have my personal friendship and the friendship and support of the United States. I am confident that restraint toward the situation in Yemen will serve the highest interests of both our peoples and foster the climate in which your endeavors to bring a better future to your people will succeed.

"Sincerely,

"Lyndon B. Johnson"

Signed letter to follow via pouch.

Ball

 

390. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

US/MC/12

London, December 19, 1963, 10:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret. Drafted by Lampson and approved in S on January 3, 1964. The meeting was held at the British Foreign Office. The source text is labeled "Part VI of XIII." Secretary Rusk was returning from Paris, where he attended the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council.

PARTICIPANTS

United States
The Secretary of State
Ambassador Bruce
Mr. Tyler
Mr. Manning
Minister Jones
Mr. Lampson

United Kingdom
Foreign Secretary Butler
Colonial and Commonwealth Secretary Sandys
Sir Harold Caccia
Sir Patrick Reilly
Sir Geoffrey Harrison
Mr. Henderson
Sir Bernard Burrows
Mr. Cheetham
Mr. Crawford
Mr. Peck
Mr. Hadow

SUBJECT
Yemen

Yemen

Butler said this was both a foreign affairs problem and a domestic political problem for the British Government. The simple-minded backbenchers could not see why [sic] shouldn't restore the Royalists. He thought there were two problems to consider. The first was what could be the composition of a broadly based Yemeni Government. The second was how could influence be exerted on Nasser.

Rusk said that Spinelli's estimate of the number of Egyptians in the Yemen was about 10,000 lower than US estimates. This discrepancy should be checked up on. Rusk, however, for the time being trusted US estimates. Sir Geoffrey Harrison said the British thought there were about 30,000 Egyptians still in the Yemen.

Butler said that the Yemeni Government must be acceptable to the northern tribes if it is to serve as a basis for a settlement in the Yemen. The problem was how to get sufficiently strong representation of the tribes into a coalition government and get the democratic elements to acquiesce and keep Nasser from sabotaging the settlement.

Butler urged Rusk to use American influence on Nasser. Points could be made that the prestige of Nasser with the US was being undermined. If Saudi Arabia took the issue to the UN it would be very difficult for the US not to support Saudi Arabia. Rusk said he had no thoughts as to who should be in a coalition government. He doubted whether any government in which leading Royalists served would be possible. He said Faisal had not insisted on any particular people being in a government. Butler replied that the northern tribes' interest, not the interest of the royal family, was what the UK was concerned about. Rusk said they should encourage Spinelli. He hoped that January 4 would not be a terminal date. He thought the military presence would cease but a UN civilian presence might continue. He thought there might be some advantage in letting Egypt know about the UN angle which Butler had suggested. He then added that the US was more interested in Saudi Arabia than in the Yemen itself. This had been made clear to Nasser. Six or eight months ago Faisal's position had been precarious. But he believed his position now had been somewhat strengthened. He thought that action should be taken along three lines: (1) to encourage Spinelli; (2) to press for troop withdrawals; and (3) to emphasize that attacks across borders must stop. Butler said their main interest was Aden. They were trying to get a neutralization agreement for the border between Yemen and the Aden federation. The Aden Government had made a proposal and the Yemeni Government had replied with an unacceptable counter-proposal. The Aden Government was studying it to see whether it could be used as a basis for negotiation.

Rusk said that there were signs that both sides were beginning to be fed up. Butler commented that Egyptian resources were beginning to be stretched to their limits. He hoped economic pressures could be applied to Egypt. Rusk replied that US legislation which cut off aid to countries engaging in aggressive actions--although it had been drafted with Israel as well as Egypt in mind--would apply to Egypt. The US could press this point in Cairo. Butler asked whether the Hickenlooper resolution had been designed to build up pressure against Egypt. Rusk said he thought that it would be kept in the Foreign Relations Committee for some time. It has been drafted with the knowledge of the State Department. Rusk hoped that means could be figured out to bring Yemenis in contact with one another in the hope that they could work out a coalition without being inhibited by Egyptians. Spinelli might play a role here. Meetings might be arranged outside of the Yemen. Rusk was optimistic that the UN diplomatic mission would continue but thought the military mission would be terminated. Rusk and Butler agreed to keep in touch with U Thant about the continuation of a UN diplomatic mission.

They agreed to keep in touch on this question and operate together as much as possible.

 

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

Washington, December 23, 1963, 7:09 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 UAR-US. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Jones and redrafted in the White House by Komer, cleared by Harriman and McKesson, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Jidda, London, Taiz, and USUN. The Department of State proposed that a Presidential message be sent to Nasser in a memorandum from Read to Bundy, December 12. (Ibid.) A note attached to the memorandum, dated December 23, from Bundy to Read, indicates that the President cleared the draft prepared at the White House.

2860. In conjunction with presentation to Nasser on Yemen requested separate telegram,/2/ you should convey following oral message:

/2/See Document 392.

"Mr. President,

Being aware of the scope and the candor that characterized the dialogue between you and President Kennedy, I hope this dialogue may be continued. I also intend to continue the policy of seeking to expand the cooperation between our two countries.

But the continued instability in Yemen confronts our two governments with a serious challenge. I know your often expressed repugnance to Arab fighting Arab, and we too look forward to the creation of circumstances whereby the conflict can be terminated and disengagement carried out. Only through measures to set an independent Yemen Government squarely on its own feet can we reaffirm our common support for the principle of self-determination.

I urge you to accept the sincerity of our counsels, as expressed by us to your Ambassador in Washington, and to you by our Ambassador in Cairo. Let us work together to see if we can continue the closer cooperation which has marked our relations over the past few years.

Lyndon B. Johnson"

Rusk

 

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

Washington, December 23, 1963, 8:34 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Seelye on December 21; cleared by Davies, Bunte, Robinson, Stoddart, Jernegan, Buffum, and McKesson; and approved by Talbot. Sent to Jidda and Cairo and repeated to Taiz, London, Dhahran, USUN, POLAD CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA and by pouch to Amman, Tel Aviv, Kuwait, Aden, Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus.

1133. Ref: Deptel 1709 to USUN;/2/ Deptel 3707 to London, rptd 475 to Jidda;/3/ 2811 to Cairo;/4/ CA-6156./5/ Ambassadors Hart and Badeau should meet soon with Faisal and Nasser respectively for purpose seeking their full cooperation described in reference messages. While each Ambassador may use discretion re nature and details of presentation to be made, should include points indicated for respective posts in "Recommended Course of Action" (Deptel 3707 to London). Ambassador Hart, however, may adjust in light of talk with Saqqaf as mentioned Jidda's 641./6/ Department suggests following approach:

/2/Document 388.

/3/Telegram 3707 to London, December 16, reported that Jernegan had briefed British Embassy officials in Washington regarding the tentative plan of action on Yemen (see Document 385). (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 YEMEN)

/4/Not printed. (Ibid.)

/5/Dated December 17. (Ibid.)

/6/Dated December 20. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27-14 YEMEN/UN)

A. For Cairo

1. Inappreciable UAR Withdrawals. We deplore failure UAR withdraw substantial number troops from Yemen after six months UNYOM presence. FYI. Best Department intelligence does not substantiate Spinelli report re substantial withdrawals UAR troops from Yemen. Our estimate is that troop drawdown is at most no more than a few thousand. End FYI. In absence satisfactory UAR performance, USG having increasing difficulties keeping Faisal--who has been fulfilling Bunker commitment--from resuming aid to royalists. Nevertheless, despite resultant lessened leverage now available to us, we will continue do all possible restrain Faisal. Substantial UAR withdrawals by January 4 would help immeasurably in this respect.

2. Requisite of UAR Cooperation in Development Coalition Regime. USG and UN placing increased emphasis on development coalition regime in Yemen and we urge Nasser in strongest terms to help and stimulate this process. Only through creation viable YARG can UAR be enabled withdraw bulk its troops from Yemen. Reports circulate suggesting UARG actively discouraging indigenous Yemeni efforts broaden base YARG. International community will expect all external parties to Yemen dispute to respect idea of Yemen self-determination.

3. Important USG Interests in Saudi Arabia. Nasser understands USG has important interests in Saudi Arabia and has pledged its support to reformist-minded Faisal regime. USG would not stand idly by if UAR should attack Saudi Arabia--whether or not UAR considers it has adequate provocation. In event SAG resumes shipments to Yemeni royalists, YARG and UARG should have recourse to UN or similar measures, and not spread conflict by attacks on Saudi Arabia.

4. UAR-SAG Detente. USG suggesting SAG agree send representative meet with UAR secretly for purpose clearing air between two countries. Immediate discontinuation UAR propaganda against Saudi Arabia appears key to bringing about such meeting.

5. Nasser Faces Serious Dilemma in Yemen. Unless UAR finds way to extricate itself, situation will increasingly take on aspect of occupation. Longer UAR remains there, more Yemeni opposition aroused against UAR presence and thus against YARG. Tribes in north have capability resist central government for many months even without Saudi assistance. Unless UAR now takes advantage opportunities presented, Yemen imbroglio can only go from bad to worse causing instability to entire Arab area and incidentally casting discredit on Arab nationalism and "revolution". Spinelli mission currently offers best hope for UAR in Yemen and Nasser should not let this golden opportunity pass.

B. For Jidda

1. Continued USG Concern for Saudi Integrity. In delivering very confidential letter from President (Deptel 486),/7/ you should take special cognizance of President's belief in bed-rock USG-SAG friendship and in fundamental mutuality of USG-SAG interests. (Letter should be closely held and under no circumstances publicly released.) Despite some recent differences over Yemen, should be recalled--as President emphasizes--that US undertook Yemen policy primarily as means protect Saudi Arabian integrity. USG public actions, as well as words, in support of basic integrity Saudi Arabia have deterred both military and subversive moves against the kingdom. USG intends continue this policy of support and prepared, if Faisal desires, make public statement on suitable occasion underscoring USG support for Saudi integrity and for progressive-minded Faisal regime.

/7/Document 389.

2. Disadvantages of Faisal's Re-involvement in Yemen. USG undertaking to stand by Faisal would be adversely affected by resumption Saudi aid to royalists, as Faisal already knows. USG cannot be placed in awkward position of appearing provide protective umbrella to indirect Saudi aggression in Yemen. Moreover, we strongly doubt resumption Saudi aid to royalists would force Nasser withdraw troops from Yemen. Instead, he would probably add to his commitment, rely even more heavily on Soviet assistance and increase pressure against Saudi Arabia. This could endanger stability of Saudi Arabia as was case last winter until disengagement agreement worked out. UAR-YAR might successfully obtain condemnation of Saudi Arabia's actions by UN. On other hand, we would support Saudi complaint raised before UNSC in event occurence deliberate and unprovoked UAR aggression against Saudi territory.

3. Preferable for SAG Concentrate on Modernization Program and Development Own Defense Capability. Best course for Faisal in strengthening his country--and preserving his regime--against Nasserist danger is avoid exposing Saudi military and other weaknesses to undue stresses. Should concentrate his energies on course already charted in direction: (1) improving SAG military capability to defend itself, (2) strengthening fabric Saudi society. Progress made on these two fronts will reduce threats posed by Nasser both in Peninsula and throughout Arab world. Re (1), USG has completed survey Saudi air defense needs which prepared help SAG in fulfilling. If he wishes, Ambassador may deliver summary survey report at this time. Re (2), would be pity if accomplishments thus far, which have attracted outside admiration and recognition, were dissipated by diversion of funds into fruitless outside adventure.

4. Favorable Saudi Position Vis-à-Vis Yemen. Faisal should take note his excellent vantage point vis-à-vis Yemen. Saudi Arabia is secure. YAR is in effect wooing him. Indications are Yemeni leaders and people would take stiffer attitude toward UAR if assured friendly Saudi posture. Yemenis are increasingly disillusioned with UAR presence. Yemen represents considerable drain on UAR resources.

We believe in Faisal's interests establish contact with YAR leaders and not be bound to only one group in Yemen. If Faisal extends hand of friendship to Yemenis, not impossible YARG leaders themselves will publicly request UAR to withdraw from Yemen.

5. USG Supports Coalition Effort While Continuing Press for UAR Withdrawals. We continuing to press UAR on withdrawals and have indicated we cannot provide any additional aid until UAR reduces economic drain caused by its Yemeni adventure. Meanwhile, USG placing emphasis on Yemeni coalition effort. Latter appears offer most effective means get UAR troops out and restore measure stability in Yemen. USG fully supports Spinelli initiative and notes Yemeni leaders now understand that national reconciliation and reconstruction will be facilitated if Yemenis settle their problems themselves. Rising Yemeni disillusionment and discontent should hasten Nasser's acceptance of representative regime. We pushing Nasser hard to cooperate fully, showing him this in his best interests. Meanwhile, hope Faisal sees way clear give coalition effort his support.

6. UAR-SAG Détente. USG again urges Faisal appoint high-level Saudi meet quietly with UAR representative for purpose exploring possibilities of SAG-UAR detente. Modus vivendi between two countries, even if only minimal, could be instrumental in attaining objectives which all parties seek of leaving Yemen to Yemenis.

7. Question of Hard Surface. Hard Surface brought to Saudi Arabia for temporary period as outgrowth Bunker Agreement. During some six months' tenure has served both as training mission and as public manifestation USG support for Saudi integrity. Represents only one example of military measure USG can take and must shortly be withdrawn. USG has other forces available in area for deployment at moment's notice in lieu of Hard Surface. USG also prepared to assist in developing and broadening SAG military capabilities. In addition to assisting in Saudi air defense needs we prepared support Saudi requests for conventional military materiel. In this context Secretary McNamara also has indicated that he would like to discuss mutual Saudi-US military matters in Washington with MODA Prince Sultan some time shortly after withdrawal of Hard Surface. Furthermore, USG informing Nasser we stand behind Faisal regime and would not stand idly by if Nasser should carry "battle" into Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we wish set at rest any apprehensions Faisal might have over prospective withdrawal Hard Surface early in 1964. FYI. Leave to your discretion whether mention January 31 target date but must be clearly understood HS must be withdrawn on that date. Also Faisal must clearly understand Hard Surface or other military support cannot serve as umbrella for resumption of Saudi aid to Yemeni royalists. End FYI.

Rusk

 

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

JCSM-1003-63

Washington, December 24, 1963.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 3131, Saudi Arabia 1963. Secret. In a December 24 covering memorandum to McNamara (CM-1094-63), General Taylor advised that he had learned after JCSM-1003-63 had been prepared that the decision had already been made to extend Hard Surface deployment to Saudi Arabia until January 31, 1964. He noted that while the memorandum printed here had been overtaken by events, he still considered the reasoning contained in it to be valid and worthy of transmittal to the Secretary of State.

SUBJECT
Withdrawal of Hard Surface Forces from Saudi Arabia (S)

1. The continued presence of Hard Surface forces in Saudi Arabia remains a source of concern to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This small and operationally incomplete force of 8 F-100's and 3 KB-50's lacks the radar, communications, and munitions necessary to perform an effective air defense function. As constituted, it is incapable of effective self-defense against United Arab Republic (UAR) forces available in Yemen. The announced Hard Surface mission to train Saudi Arabian Air Force pilots was completed last September. The Saudi government believes this force is in place to provide effective air defense of their nation, including the villages on the Yemen border.

2. The stabilizing effect the Air Force unit has had on the Saudi government is recognized, and it undoubtedly has restrained the activities of the UAR to some degree. The withdrawal of the UN mission on 4 January 1964, however, may well introduce a new phase of the UAR-Saudi activity on the Yemen border which could readily spread throughout Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Hart has indicated that, unless the UAR ceases its interference in Yemen, Hard Surface alone will not be sufficient inducement to restrain Saudi Arabia from resuming support to Royalist forces. In this eventuality, UAR reaction, at least to the extent of attacking Saudi supply points, can be expected. With Hard Surface in place, the United States will be forced to respond militarily or risk loss of credibility of its military power, not only in the Middle East, but world-wide. If Hard Surface is withdrawn after Faisal resumes aid to the Royalists, it will be a clear signal to the UAR that the United States has withdrawn its support of Saudi Arabia and an invitation for further UAR aggression. In either case, then, the United States may well be faced with black and white choices either of hostilities with the UAR or of abandonment of Saudi Arabia. Although the immediate withdrawal of Hard Surface could be interpreted as US abandonment of the disengagement formula, this risk is clearly minor in relation to the greater risk and inflexibility resulting from maintaining Hard Surface in place, particularly because of the proven failure to influence withdrawal of UAR forces from Yemen. Nevertheless, the Department of State has indicated desire to extend Hard Surface until 31 January 1964. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that Hard Surface should be withdrawn, and, if a military deterrent is required in the area, it should be replaced by other appropriate military forces.

3. Current contingency planning for the phased introduction of military force into the Saudi Arabia area is provided in CINCSTRIKE OPLAN 531-6. Forces provided in this plan are:

a. One Carrier Task Force from the 6th Fleet.

b. Naval forces from MIDEASTFOR (AVP, 2DD).

c. Two Tactical Fighter Squadrons, one composite reconnaissance element, one aerial refueling element, and service and support units as required.

The foregoing plan provides for progressive actions as follows:

Phase I: Naval Operations will be conducted in the Red Sea (MIDEASTFOR) and eastern Mediterranean (carrier task force) as show of force and visible evidence of a US capability to retaliate quickly and effectively against the UAR (Egypt). Tactical fighters based in Saudi Arabia will provide air cover for US naval elements in the Red Sea and defend US and Saudi forces against attack.

Phase II: Establish a blockade of UAR shipping supporting the aggression.

Phase III: Strike military targets and bases in the UAR and Yemen from which the aggression is being projected. Interdict and destroy UAR shipping supporting the aggression.

4. A further illustration of the magnitude of military effort required internally for minimum essential air defense of Saudi Arabia--without offensive capability to strike targets outside of Saudi Arabia--is provided by the recent "Air Defense Study." In this detailed examination, the study group determined, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff concurred, that the force requirement included:

a. Three 12 UE squadrons of F-5 or F-104H aircraft (one each stationed at Jidda, Dhahran, and Riyadh).

b. Three battalions of Hawks (one each stationed at Jidda, Dhahran, and Riyadh).

c. Three heavy permanent radars and one mobile radar.

5. If our foreign policy requires a military presence in or near Saudi Arabia, a more efficient and militarily acceptable solution is the periodic dispatch of a Composite Air Strike Force, the movement of selected elements of the 6th Fleet into the immediate area, or both. As you know, any of these forces, or combinations, can be dispatched to the area in a matter of hours. In order to avoid the impression that our withdrawal represents an abandonment of Saudi Arabia, a public announcement should be made that US forces will periodically exercise in Saudi Arabia. Thereafter, it is recommended that any military presence required in or near Saudi Arabia be provided by one, or both, of the foregoing options, utilizing regularly constituted and supported military forces.

6. A proposed letter to the Secretary of State is attached recommending an early solution./2/

/2/Attached but not printed.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Maxwell D. Taylor
Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff

 

394. Memorandum for the Record/1/

LBJ Ranch, Texas, December 27, 1963.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80 B 01285A, Box 7, DCI Files, DCI (McCone) Memos for the Record, Meetings with the President. Secret. Drafted by McCone on December 29. A handwritten note in the margin reads: "Noted by DCI & NE."

SUBJECT
Discussions with President Johnson at the Johnson Ranch on Friday, December 27th

[Here follow items 1-3 on other matters.]

4. I did not review the Israeli nuclear inspection with the President. This should be put on a later agenda./2/

/2/In telegram 642, December 5, the Embassy in Tel Aviv transmitted the text of a letter from the Israeli Foreign Ministry inviting U.S. representatives to visit the Dimona reactor on any date between January 10 and 15, 1964. (Department of State, Central Files, AE 11-2 ISR)

[Here follows item 5 on an unrelated matter.]

6. The President asked for a detailed briefing on the Yemen and how the situation evolved. I explained the background of the establishment of the Yemen Republic under Sallal and our recognition of that Republic at the urging of Nasser. I indicated that the British had not recognized the Yemen Republic and were critical of us for doing so. I told the President that the Yemen for a long period of time--hundreds of years--had been governed by a chief chosen on an understanding among tribal leaders and sheiks, the most recent being Badr. This government was overthrown by revolution and the new government was immediately supported by Nasser. However, when Nasser moved in troops in substantial numbers, military officers who overthrew the Imam became discouraged. A great many of them defected and returned to their old tribal leaders; others became neutral. As a result, Nasser was required to send in increasing numbers of troops and his forces now totalled 30,000 to 32,000. This is about one-third of his total armed forces. The costs to Nasser of the Yemeni operation are very high. They are estimated at about $50 to $75 million dollars. The situation now was difficult because the only military forces sustaining the Yemen Republic Government were the Nasser forces and the Egyptians were really running the country with the Yemen political authorities acting in a subservient position and with little authority. As a result, dissension was growing among the Yemen Government officials who resented the control and authority exercised by the UAR presence.

7. I then said that Ambassador Bunker had completed a rather effective negotiation last summer under which Faisal would cease supplying arms to the royalists, who had retired to the north into the hills, providing the UAR withdrew its troops. Nasser had agreed to withdraw 5,000 troops; however, to date he had withdrawn only 1,000 to 1,200. The initial withdrawals were to have taken place prior to November 4th, at which time the authority of the United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM) would come to a halt. After some considerable negotiations the UNYOM was extended until January 4th. The problem now was whether Faisal and Nasser would agree to further extension. If they did not it was highly probable that Faisal would again start to supply arms to the royalists, and that Nasser would escalate military activities against the royalists and into Saudi Arabia. I pointed out that this was an extremely critical matter, not because of the importance of Yemen, but because of our entire relationship with the Saudi Arabian Government and the importance of Saudi oil reserves to our national interest. The President asked what should be done and I said that every effort should be made to extend the January 4th date in the hopes that with the passage of time the Yemen resentment to UAR occupation would increase to a point where the UAR would be forced to withdraw increasing numbers of troops and the threat to Faisal would thus be relieved.

[Here follows item 8 on an unrelated matter.]

 

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

Washington, December 30, 1963.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, UAR, Vol. 1. Secret. Copies were sent to Harriman and Feldman.

Mac:

Nasser's annual Port Said speech (celebrating 1956 "victory" at Suez) is worthy of note./2/

/2/The Embassy in Cairo transmitted a summary of the speech in telegram 1412, December 24. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 UAR) Nasser's speech included a call for an Arab summit meeting to deal with Israel's forthcoming diversion of the Jordan waters. Additional documentation relating to the proposed Arab summit, held January 13-17, 1964, in Cairo, is ibid., POL 7 UAR.

Despite the usual bluster about Israel--"from Yemen to Palestine"--Nasser in fact says quite clearly that to fight now over the Jordan waters would be folly./3/ As he puts it, "The Palestine of 1948 can never be repeated." Why overbid when we know we can't win. When the Arab chiefs of staff meet, those from the other Arab states admit this privately, but then publicly they make bellicose noises. We Egyptians will not go in for this doubletalk. And the matter is one for the top political leaders, not the military, to decide. So let's have an Arab summit.

/3/In a separate note to Bundy on December 30, Komer expressed his concern that Arab frustration over inability to defeat Israel militarily might lead the Arab states to take action against the the West's Near Eastern oil supply. He also expressed his doubts about Department of State optimism that Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia would not go along with this. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, UAR, Vol. 1)

Here Nasser says his line will be: "We will not overbid. I am not ashamed to say that I cannot fight if I feel I cannot really. If I cannot fight and then go out and fight, I will only lead you to a disaster. Shall I bring my country to disaster? Shall I gamble with my country? Impossible."

As a footnote, note corollary article (Cairo 1431)/4/ by Nasser's mouthpiece Haikal, who says even if the Arabs could lick Israel, the latter wouldn't be alone. The US and UK would surely intervene. After all, we have gotten a few things across!

/4/Dated December 30. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 UAR)

While Nasser is obviously trying to prevent other Arabs from branding UAR a coward, the line he's chosen shows he's the one major Arab leader who may make sense. But he too can succumb to hysteria, so we'll need all the leverage we have to keep him on a course of restraint. Ergo, we'd be mad to use up such leverage as we have over Yemen, or to throw it away prematurely via the Gruening Amendment. The Near East will be quite a test of our policy (and nerves) in '64.

RWK

 


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