372. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Jones) to the Under Secretary of State (Dillon)0


  • United States Economic Assistance to Yemen


Ambassador G. Frederick Reinhardt presented his credentials as Minister to Yemen on April 28. As the result of his visit to Yemen and his talks with the Imam, the Crown Prince and other senior Yemeni officials, as reported in Taiz telegram 251 (Tab B)1 the Ambassador has recommended “rapid, vigorous and effective implementation of our current aid program”. The Ambassador comments that this is necessary since our aid program in Yemen is modest indeed by comparison with the magnitude of the Communist effort there.

As you are aware, the major component of our program in Yemen is a road construction and training project for which a project agreement was recently signed. In specific implementation of his general recommendation cited above, Ambassador Reinhardt has strongly urged that a major effort be made to initiate work on this project as expeditiously as possible (Taiz telegram 252—Tab C).2

It is to be noted that both the general and specific recommendations made by Ambassador Reinhardt are in complete consonance with the OCB “Operations Plan for Yemen” approved by the Board on May 11, 1960.3

With respect to Ambassador Reinhardt’s recommendation that a major effort be made to hasten initiation of our work on the Taiz-Sana’a road, it is our understanding that if normal bidding procedures are used in the acquisition of the equipment necessary for construction, such equipment will not arrive in Yemen in less than from four to six months. On the basis of information available to us from our Legation in Yemen and the Director of the ICA mission there, it is apparent that such a delay [Page 816] would give support to the invidious comparisons made by Communist propaganda as to the efficacy of Communist versus Western assistance. This propaganda is unfortunately given wide-spread credence and will continue to spread, with a serious implied threat to the somewhat tenuous position we have won in Yemen, until such time as work on some project of tangible benefit to the Yemeni people actually commences.

ICA is exploring with the Bureau of Public Roads, which will carry out work on the road project in question, various procedures whereby the time lag in delivery of the equipment could be shortened. While the decision as to the means to be employed will be reached between ICA and BPR, a general indication to ICA of the need for prompt initiation and execution of this important project would be desirable.


That you sign the attached memorandum (Tab A)4 to Mr. Riddleberger.

  1. Source: Department of State, NEA/NE Files: Lot 63 D 81, Yemen, Taiz—Sana’a Road, 1960. Confidential. Drafted by Crawford and cleared by Bevilacqua, Bell, Conn, and Meyer in draft. A note on the source text indicates that this memorandum was returned from Dillon with “no action” on June 6.
  2. Dated May 3. (Ibid., Central Files, 611.86H/5–360)
  3. Dated May 6. (Ibid., 886H. 2612/5–360)
  4. Not printed. (Ibid., OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385)
  5. The attached memorandum to Riddleberger was not sent and is not printed.