No. 1573
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Arabian Peninsula Affairs (Awalt)



  • Call of the Yemeni Chargé d’Affaires.


  • Mr. Abu-Taleb, Yemeni Chargé d’Affaires
  • NEA—Mr. Berry, Acting Assistant Secretary of State
  • NE—Mr. Awalt
[Page 2618]


Mr. Abu-Taleb called this afternoon at his request. He said he had been instructed by his Government to call and request assistance in behalf of Lahej. He said that he, himself, lacked complete information and would call again if he received further word which would have an important bearing on the matter.

Mr. Abu-Taleb outlined briefly the circumstances leading to the Sultan’s flight from Lahej to Yemen. He said that this action on his part was an embarrassment to the Imam who had no sympathy for the Sultan whose actions were reprehensible in the extreme. The concern of the Yemeni Government, he said, was directed toward the action of the British in sending forces to Lahej to control the country. He said this was in contravention of the treaty of 1934 which provided that neither Yemen nor the UK would interfere with the status quo in areas in dispute between the two countries. He said the Yemeni Legation in London had made representations to the Foreign Office but these were rejected. Consequently his Government wished to appeal to the United States to intercede with the British and persuade them to withdraw their forces from Lahej and remove the British representative from the Regency Council now governing that small State.2 He added in this connection that the membership of the Regency Council was very satisfactory and made up of the best available Arab representatives.

Mr. Berry thanked Mr. Abu-Taleb for giving him such a clear and able exposition of events in Lahej. He said that the United States always supports the legitimate aspirations of all peoples and that the Department will study this problem which he has raised and see what it can properly do about it. He assured Mr. Abu-Taleb that he would be delighted to see him again if any further information came to the latter’s attention.3

  1. This memorandum of conversation was drafted on May 19.
  2. A memorandum by Samuel K. C. Kopper, Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs, to John F. Simmons, Chief of Protocol, dated May 16, transmitted a translation of a telegram by the Sultan of Lahej to the President. The Sultan appealed to the President to protect his small state against British colonialism. The memorandum recommended that no reply should be made by the President or the Department of State. (786H.00/5–1652)
  3. On July 14 the Yemeni Chargé d’Affaires again came to the Department of State. Awalt informed him that his fears of British influence in Lahej did not seem to have been realized, since the new Sultan who had been named was known to be friendly to Yemen rather than to the United Kingdom. (Memorandum of conversation of July 14, 1952; 786H.00/7–1452)