256. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy 0

The long delay in the UN effort to get disengagement officially started in Yemen is cause for worry. Meanwhile, despite repeated Saudi affirmations that they turned off aid to the Royalists a month ago, we have hard evidence some arms are still getting through. So the UAR reacted the other day with a single plane “warning” raid on a Saudi supply point. Odds are that neither Saudis nor UAR want to start a war again, but there’s always a risk.

We’re going back hard at UAR and Saudis, but problem is to move the SYG. Because of financial stringency, U Thant is holding off till Saudis and UAR agree to split expenses. One trouble is that UN thinks at least 200 observers needed, while we see this as largely a symbolic operation requiring only 50 or so.

1.
If we could put in a little start-up money ($150,000 or so) from AID contingency fund, it might help get operation underway. Alternatively, if SYG would invest this much himself, we could agree to underwrite UN to this extent, should UAR and Saudis balk. May I tell State you’d approve?
2.
If you would call Stevenson and tell him to urge SYG to get this show on the road, it would help too. USUN has not been pushing hard enough, lest we get the SYG mad. Yet if our Yemen effort collapses, it will add mightily to our woes in the Middle East.1
R.W. Komer
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Yemen. Secret.
  2. A handwritten note on the source text by Bundy reads: “P[resident] saw called Cleveland.”