423. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

490. Information … concerning increasingly frequent contact between high-level Yemeni representatives in Cairo and Soviet agents there, coupled with known proliferating arms sales by USSR to Near Eastern countries, is causing Department considerable concern over real possibility that Yemeni-Soviet trade agreement signed on March 8 may well be a prelude to Yemeni purchases of arms from Soviet bloc. Department believes that King Saud also would have reason to be gravely concerned if Yemen were to add itself to procession of countries closely neighboring on Saudi Arabia that have permitted themselves thus to fall under real threat of Communist penetration and direction. Train of events started by Nasser of Egypt would, in event substantial arms purchases by Yemen, reach a stage that would offer a tangible threat to balanced and peaceful relations that have subsisted between Saudi Kingdom and Yemen.

USG has been impressed by exemplary bearing of King Saud in face of ostensibly luring offers of Communist arms and by his informed comprehension of implications of these offers not only to Saudi Arabia but also to other nations surrounding his country. [Page 751] Department therefore believes you should in absence countervailing considerations, bring such of above thoughts and considerations as you may think appropriate to Saud’s attention at your earliest possible convenience. You may intimate to King that he may wish in interests of brotherly relations that exist between him and Imam to advise Imam against thus mortgaging his country’s resources to Communists and exposing his country to manifold dangers of Communist influence. You may also wish request from King benefit his wise and experienced counsel in advising us how such a Soviet thrust might best be frustrated.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 461.86H41/3–2656. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted and approved by Rountree.