123, J. Rives Childs

The Minister in Saudi Arabia (Childs) to the Secretary of State

No. 69

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that, upon receipt of the letter from President Truman9 accrediting me to His Majesty, the King of Yemen, I sent a telegram to the Deputy Foreign Minister of Yemen, a copy of which is enclosed,10 requesting permission to visit Yemen in the month of September to present my letter. I received, on September 16th, a reply from the Deputy Foreign Minister, a translation of which is enclosed.11 The Department will observe that the Yemen reply is framed in the usual circumlocutory style of that isolated Government. The Department will also find, I believe, of particular interest the reference in the reply welcoming my visit to the effect that:

“His Majesty agrees that Your Excellency will take care of the interests of your Government toward His Majesty’s Government in a special and not official capacity, because the circumstances have caused a delay in exchanging consular representation in an official capacity.”

Both I and Second Secretary Harlan B. Clark were somewhat puzzled by this reference, even in the light of the well-known Yemen compunction against the establishment of normal diplomatic relations involving the exchange of representatives. I, therefore, took occasion to consult with Haj Hamdi Belkacem, French Chargé d’Affaires, who [Page 926] accompanied the French Minister to Sana’a last May when the latter presented his letter of credence. Haj Hamdi exhibited no surprise at the Yemen reply and stated that, when the French Minister arrived in Sana’a, the Yemen Foreign Minister was most particular in explaining that the acceptance of the French Minister’s letter was by way of exception and did not involve the establishment of normal diplomatic relations which would include the right of the French Government to appoint permanent representatives in Yemen. It was only when that was made fully clear and accepted by the French Minister that the way was paved for the acceptance by the Imam of the letter of credence, (see Legation’s despatch No. 242 of June 20th).12 This point having been clarified as a result of my conversation with Haj Hamdi, I dispatched a telegram to the Deputy Foreign Minister, of which a copy is enclosed,13 expressive of my purpose to arrive in Hodeidah on or about September 22nd, for the purpose of proceeding to Sana’a.14

Respectfully yours,

J. Rives Childs

[For further information on the visits of Ministers Eddy and Childs to The Yemen in 1946, see Richard H. Sanger, The Arabian Peninsula (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1954), pages 248–273.]

  1. Dated August 24, 1946, not printed.
  2. Dated September 10, not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Dated September 16, not printed.
  6. Minister Childs presented his letters of credence as first United States Minister to Yemen on September 30, 1946; for text of the statement released by the Department on October 4, see Department of State Bulletin, October 13, 1946, p. 690.