363. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Rountree) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Dillon)0


  • Suggested Reply to ICA Regarding our Proposed Yemen Program


  • Mr. Smith’s memorandum to Mr. Dillon of May 7, 1958


The attached memorandum (Tab B)1 to you from the Director of ICA requests advice regarding what ICA can now do to assist in the [Page 801] proposed program of economic aid for Yemen and notes that ICA believes this matter is of urgent concern to all of us. I need hardly emphasize the extent to which NEA shares this sense of urgency. According to a despatch just received from our Consulate in Aden, recent agreements which Yemen has signed with both the Soviet Union and Communist China seem certain in the near future to increase to approximately 300 the number of Communist technicians in the country, while on its side the West can so far “point to not one tangible achievement that would result in a direct increase in the number of its representatives in Yemen”. (Condes 170, Tab C.)2

You will recall that the Yemen Government submitted an interim reply to our economic aid proposals on December 27, 1957. Their definitive response has been delayed because of subsequent internal unrest, heightened tension along the Yemen-Aden Protectorate frontier and developments in connection with implementation of the UAS confederation agreement. In talks with officers of our Consulate from Aden, the Yemen Deputy Foreign Minister has recently raised the subject of our economic proposals on his own initiative and has stated that the Imam is still thinking in terms of accepting the Taiz–Sana’a roads betterment project. A recent telegram from a Department officer, who has just finished a brief visit to Yemen, reports that, as of May 17, the Yemen Government is still interested in this project and the proposed coffee expert and also appears to have renewed interest in an irrigation farming expert (Contel 182, May 17 attached, Tab D).3

From the provisional nature of the Yemeni reply of last December, as well as from these more recent comments of high Yemeni officials, we believe that the Yemen Government may, within the next few weeks, make a formal reply to our proposals which will, among other things, constitute acceptance of portions of our economic aid offers, notably the roads betterment program. We, therefore, believe that we should reply to Director Smith’s memorandum to you by expressing appreciation for ICA’s continuing desire to be of assistance and noting that there have been a number of recent indications that the Imam is still considering our proposals and may accept several of them. We would also point out to ICA that, while a favorable Yemeni reply in the next few weeks would cause some difficulty in view of the approaching end of the fiscal year, we believe that it would be possible to find sufficient funds to get the program started promptly. In the event of a Yemeni reply accepting some of our proposals, we would hope that it would be possible to dispatch an ICA team promptly with authorization to negotiate the [Page 802] simplest possible type of agreements as a first step in initiating a modest program of economic assistance to the Yemen.


That you sign the attached memorandum to Mr. Smith (Tab A)4 which embodies the foregoing suggestions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 811.0086/5–758. Secret. Drafted by Brewer and cleared in draft by Robert G. Barnes, Dillon’s Special Assistant for Mutual Security Coordination, and L. Wade Lathram, Director of the Office of Near Eastern, South Asian Regional Affairs.
  2. Dated May 7. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated May 4. (Ibid., 746C.00/5–458)
  4. Not printed. (Ibid., 811.0086/5–1758)
  5. Dated May 27, not printed. (Ibid., 811.0086/5–758)