369. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State0

2964. Embtel 2924.1 Among interesting implications Nasser’s suggestion supplanting ChiCom road project Yemen with joint UAR-US effort are following:


Nasser’s motive in making proposal, i.e., reduction Soviet Bloc influence Yemen, coincides with our own objectives; thus, unity of aim is new development since our past relations with UAR where inter-Arab affairs involved have persistently been plagued by incompatible US and UAR political aims in other Arab States. Endeavor now contemplated is one in which UAR would make constructive contribution to project already judged by US experts be essential to Yemeni development. This contrasts with previous tendency UAR restrict activities to extension its political influence and subversion uncongenial Arab regimes.

Furthermore, from my conversations with UAR leaders on Yemen there emerges on their part clear sense of shock and embarrassment at conditions Yemen and of necessity doing something improve them. This attitude (displayed uniquely re Yemen, since they appear look on other Arab States as relative equals culturally with possible exception Saudi Arabia), is not without analogy to our own feeling responsibility toward undeveloped areas.

Proposal offers US opportunity associate itself with joint Arab undertaking, thereby demonstrating our benevolence toward properly directed Arab unity and solidarity. At same time we would encourage inter-Arab cooperation in constructive endeavor in welcome contrast with past, when common Arab efforts have all too often been directed toward political objectives at odds with our policies.
Forthcoming US attitude would provide effective riposte to complaint being voiced by UAR laymen that US is doing nothing help Nasser in his campaign against communism.
As UAR in position apply more leverage than we on GOY, proposal this sort might possibly come into operation sooner than US economic aid program can get under way. Furthermore, by avoiding necessity for introduction practically any American personnel, would also reduce headaches residential establishment in Yemen as well as multiple complications and suspicions inherent in foreign presence there.

Foregoing admittedly represents marshalling of favorable arguments and possible that further study may well develop unfavorable factors. However, believe proposal sufficiently interesting to merit active consideration and further exploration with UAR authorities provided Department interested and Taiz feels Yemenis would be responsive.2 Suggest however Taiz avoid local discussion subject until decision reached re our attitude.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.001/4–959. Secret. Also sent to Taiz.
  2. In telegram 2924, April 6, Hare reported on a discussion with Nasser in which the UAR President recounted a conversation with Prince Badr about the Chinese Communists in Yemen. Badr expressed the Imam’s concern about the Chinese influence through their road construction project. Nasser suggested that if Yemen was prepared break the contract, the UAR would finish the road. Nasser had suggested to Hare that the United States should join with the UAR in this project. Hare commented that the suggestion was “somewhat off the cuff,” but thought that a joint UAR-US effort “to deliver a telling blow to Communists in Yemen” was a novel, but attractive idea. (Ibid., 786.001/4–659)
  3. The Chargé in Taiz agreed with Hare that the idea was an “unexpected opportunity” and should be seized upon immediately. (Telegram 45 from Taiz, April 9; ibid., 786H.00/4–959)

    In telegram 3220 to Cairo, April 23, the Department of State authorized Hare to explore with Nasser a joint US-UAR effort to take over the Chinese road project. The Department was skeptical about joint participation with the UAR in actual construction, but it would be willing to assist the UAR through a loan or grant in obtaining U.S.-owned UAR pounds for the Yemen project. (Ibid., 886H.0093/4–2359)