134. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic0

908. Embtel 1002.1 For Ambassador from Talbot. View apparently differing perspectives of current situation Yemen as seen from different capitals might be useful recapitulate Department views as follows:

Department agrees UAR commitment conditioned on reciprocal action by other parties which so far lacking, and that thus UAR intentions not truly put to test. But by same token UAR has made reciprocal action vastly more difficult through a) obfuscating its public commitments by issuance diametrically opposite propaganda; b) continuing stream of invective against other parties; c) carrying warfare across Saudi borders in violation accepted international principles; d) violating pledged word to USG (per Jan 7 Najran bombings); e) continuing activities in Syria, Libya and elsewhere (of which everyone is aware and which cast doubts on UAR’s desire exercise its considerable potential for leadership in constructive manner).

UAR appears take stance that by committing itself to program reciprocal disengagement and withdrawal from Yemen it doing USG a favor whereas USG formula allows UAR extricate itself from dangerously over-extended position on basis of legitimacy of YAR. It would be fitting therefore if UAR, rather than complaining about alleged USG lack of action in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would consider what steps it might itself take to facilitate results it says it desires.

Among actions Department has proposed, none of which would pose serious difficulties for UAR, are following:

Moratorium on propaganda warfare and termination subversive activity.
More moderate attitude toward UK to facilitate latter’s recognition YAR.
Quiet contacts to reach accommodation with Faysal.
Cooperation with international or neutral intermediary through whom perhaps to be found best means of permitting Faysal disengage while saving face.
Symbolic withdrawal of military unit from Yemen without prejudice to UAR military position.
Return of defecting aircraft.
Abandonment of Nasser Said and his “Republic of the Arabian Peninsula”.

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Only on (7) above has UAR ostensibly taken action or even given USG courtesy of clear-cut response. Department leaves to your judgment manner in which these suggestions should be pursued but UAR should not be allowed to forget them or that it has a more important stake than the US in trying to find a solution to present impasse. We greatly disturbed by implication Nasser’s remarks to Beeley that in response Saudi refusal suspend support royalists he contemplates renewed attacks on Saudi Arabia. This is not statesmanship.

Moreover we now have reports, thus far unconfirmed, UAR may contemplate further exacerbation of situation by declaring union with Yemen. We would not wish UAR to be under illusion that union under circumstances of large-scale external military intervention would conform to US criteria for free associations of peoples. Thus, without prejudice to ultimate right of Yemenis to choose their own course, USG would presently be forced oppose.

In elaborating foregoing Department mindful that it not in character of Egyptians to display awareness of their responsibilities or to accentuate the positive in their dealings with others.

Department does not expect Embassy perform miracles or achieve perfection. However we fear UAR may contemplate further rash actions, e.g. renewed attacks on Najran and Jizan, perhaps even before intermediary has chance to apply additional leverage to persuade SAG and Jordan suspend support to royalists. We would thus wish find means drive home to Egyptians how they spoiling their own case and would welcome suggestions regarding additional techniques doing so. Opposition to US policy toward UAR not only widespread and powerful, but is growing. Department considering advisability of a letter from President Kennedy to Nasser and requests your views.

Department has impression, perhaps erroneous, that there has been reversal in previously improving contact and dialogue between USG and UARG. Are there any further channels that should be employed?

Department open to exploring any helpful suggestions that might assist in untangling present snarl in US-UAR relations, and awaits further results your conversations and your views.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786A.5622/1–1563. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow on January 17, cleared by Talbot (in draft) and Little, and approved by Strong.
  2. Dated January 15. (Ibid.)
  3. Badeau responded to this telegram in telegram 1040 from Cairo, January 21. (Ibid., 686A.86H/1–2163) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on Yemen.