427. Telegram From the Embassy in Ethiopia to the Department of State1

745. From Richards. Flew Sana April 12 to visit Crown Prince-Foreign Minister Badr. Dinner at palace with Crown Prince, Ministers Interior, Finance, and Justice and conversation following dinner. Recurrent theme Crown Prince’s conversation was British “aggression” against Yemen and necessity small country seek aid from any source in this struggle against “imperialistic” enemy.

Following dinner explained purpose my mission. Crown Prince expressed thanks to President Eisenhower and mission. Asked permission make frank comments. Complained US has stood too far [Page 756]from Yemen. Yemen has witnessed US help other Arab countries but has received none itself. Hopes this visit will be beginning new relationship. Stressed Yemen’s need for aid greater than that of any other Arab country. Places much hope in US but desires clarify certain matters and wants his views conveyed to President and US Government.

Yemen holds no basic enmity for UK but must oppose UK aggression. British describe situation as being merely tribal warfare. Whatever description must remember men, women and children being killed. Yemen wishes be friends with UK but friendship must be based on equality. Yemen does not desire expand and wishes live in peace with British.

Yemen will never turn to Communism because of its religion. “When I went to Russia I told them I had come in answer to their invitation and to renew an old friendship but could not adopt their principles”. Yemen must do everything possible gain support for its cause, gain votes in UN and avoid Russian veto. Because of action it has taken, Yemen at least assured that Russia will be neutral. Wishes assure US that no military pact exists with USSR. Have enough problems on borders and certainly not going to complicate issue by permitting Communists create disturbances internally. “We are anti-Communist”.

Endeavoring build up military forces for protection. (I took this as indirect explanation and excuse for purchases Soviet bloc arms.)

Regarding American-owned Yemen Development Company, concession has been granted to explore for oil but no action yet taken by company. This should not be considered complaint but hope mission will urge company to do something productive. I replied Yemen Development Company private company. Must realize proper surveying takes time. Prince asked if reason for delay has been his visit to “other countries”. I assured him such was not the case. Prince replied he merely being frank and had raised question only because Gabier (Vice President Yemen Development Company) had arrived in Yemen with mission. He hoped mission “could give him push”. I assured him I would give Gabier push but that Gabler’s presence had nothing to do with mission visit. Prince stated fact he was trying persuade me push an American company, i.e., Yemen Development Company, was proof he was not “Red Prince” British newspapers have called him.

Conversations extremely friendly throughout. Prince showed himself intelligent and possessed of good sense humor…

Simonson
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 120.1580/4–1557. Secret. Repeated to London and Jidda and pouched to Aden. For additional information on the Richards mission, see Documents 276 ff.