133. Telegram From the Department of State to the Sana’a Office of the Legation in Yemen0

42. In discussing Yemen mediation mission with SYG,1 US has not spelled out for him our ideas on precise terms of reference of mediator. This was to be left initially to SYG. As far as Dept knows, SYG has not informed UAR, YAR, Saudi and Jordanian representatives precisely what he has in mind, although he has undoubtedly advanced some tentative and general ideas about how mediation would work.

Dept has been inclined to belief mediator should go to area without very rigid instructions, but with sufficient leeway to work out on spot [Page 306] best way (1) to obtain agreement for withdrawal all sides, and (2) to carry out and verify withdrawal. In Dept’s view, mediation mission by SYG’s representative should be in two phases: first, visits to capitals to obtain agreement and work out modalities of withdrawal verification, and secondly, to have a small staff group verify disengagement. While this is something for Spinelli to work out, our assumption is that in order for proposal to be acceptable to parties concerned Spinelli and staff would have to be able to operate both in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

You should at first appropriate moment counsel Yemenis that important thing is that neutral observer such as Spinelli may be able to bring about disengagement which YAR so ardently desires. They should therefore reflect on advantages to them of agreeing at least tentatively to principle of mediation by SYG’s representative, and not out of hand reject such mission on basis of form.

As noted above, form mission will take still largely undetermined, but it expected mediator whether Spinelli or someone else will act as representative of SYG. Mediator would not operate as U.S. representative. You should therefore, as appropriate, make clear that mediator would not be President’s representative.

For USUN. In addition to briefing SYG on points mentioned in Deptel 830 to Cairo,2 you should fill him in on Yemeni reaction as reported in Sanaa’s USUN 1 since it also indicates serious misunderstanding of nature and purposes of SYG’s mediation effort.

For Cairo. View apparent UAR misconception as to what we support in way of mediation suggest you provide clarification to UAR.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786H.00/1–1663. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Campbell; cleared by Seelye, Strong, Sisco, and Wallner; and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, Jidda, and USUN. On January 28, the Legation at Taiz was raised to the level of an Embassy, with Robert W. Stookey serving as Charg?’Affaires ad interim. Stookey occasionally traveled between Taiz and Sana’a to conduct official business with various Yemeni officials.
  2. In telegram 24 from Sana’a, Stookey reported that, according to Baydani, U Thant had proposed to the Yemeni Representative at the United Nations to designate Spinelli as an intermediary who would establish a U.N. “presence” in Yemen. Baydani flatly rejected the principle of a U.N. Representative as mediator, because he feared this would turn Yemen into another “Congo.” Stookey requested Department of State guidance on the terms of reference for the Spinelli Mission and whom Spinelli would represent. (Ibid., 786H.00/1–1463) Additional documentation relating to the proposal for a U.N.-appointed mediator for the Yemen conflict is ibid., 786H.00
  3. Dated January 14. (Ibid., 786H.00/1–263)