388. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations0

1709. Yemen. Suggest USUN seek early opportunity discuss with SYG question of continuing UN presence in Yemen. We believe it useful for us to present our ideas if possible before he receives Spinelli report and makes any definite decisions, even though he will undoubtedly wish to have Spinelli’s recommendations before committing himself. However, we would appreciate receiving any information on his tentative thinking since this would be most helpful in planning our own action in area and insuring it will complement UN efforts. We suggest you take following general line:

With UNYOM approaching end of current mandate on Jan. 4, USG has been conducting thorough review Yemen situation and has reached following preliminary conclusions (These are of course subject to some change upon further reflection, and especially in the light of Spinelli’s eventual recommendations when they become available):
Only present hope for solution of problem is in establishment broadly-based and viable YARG. Best chance of accomplishing this lies in hands of Spinelli.
Nasser does not appear to be making adequate progress in fulfilling his promise to withdraw troops from Yemen, and we doubt whether on Jan. 4 UAR forces will be drawn down sufficiently to satisfy Faisal. However, we still feel he would like to withdraw all but training mission as soon as possible if political situation in Yemen permitted.
Although Faisal will be under heavy pressure to renew arms and financial aid to Royalists when UNYOM ends on Jan. 4 with strong concentrations UAR troops still in Yemen, it may be possible to persuade him in his own interest to desist.
In these circumstances, USG currently inclined:
To continue to press Nasser: to withdraw his troops; to refrain from further bombing attacks on Saudi Arabia; to move toward general detente with SAG, and to support actively efforts by UN and others to establish viable coalition govt in Yemen.
To assure Faisal we will continue to press Nasser to disengage; strongly urge Faisal not to renew aid to the Royalists; seek his cooperation in efforts to establish viable regime in Yemen; and urge him to respond favorably both to UAR overtures for reconciliation and friendly overtures from YAR.
We regard Spinelli role, in seeking internal reconciliation in Yemen and in arranging SAG accommodation with UAR and YAR, as crucial. Consequently we believe it of vital importance to continue UN presence along lines in which it has been evolving under leadership of Spinelli. USG will continue to give all possible support to Spinelli’s efforts and to take other steps with parties which will help contribute to the success of his mission.
We assume that SYG shares our view regarding need to continue Spinelli mission and would be prepared to act affirmatively on basis of general understanding with parties without formal SC action. We would hope in light his position last October he would agree to finance it henceforth out of UN contingency funds and would not find it necessary to set terminal date on mission. It may require some time for Spinelli to work out solution; if no time limit set, this would avoid difficulty UNYOM encountered in working under short deadlines. While SYG will undoubtedly wish report his intentions to SC members, assume he would agree that formal SC meeting neither necessary nor desirable.
While many details must be considered in continuing UN presence, we believe one should be taken up as soon as SYG decides continue operation. This involves small Canadian air transport unit without which Spinelli would be severely handicapped, and dependent on UAR, at least for moving about Yemen. In view GOC’s possible misgivings about maintaining air transport, we think it would be wise for SYG to seek Canadian agreement soonest to leave at least two-plane unit in Yemen to transport Spinelli and UN observers.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–14 YEMEN/UN. Secret. Drafted by Campbell on December 12; cleared by Davies, Seelye, Barrett (in substance), Buffum, and Jernegan; and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, London, Taiz, Ottawa, and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. In telegram 2543 from USUN, December 19, the Mission reported that Stevenson gave the substance of this telegram to Secretary-General U Thant, who was accompanied by Bunche and Spinelli. Among other points, Spinelli said that he was convinced that Nasser had no more than 21,000 troops in Yemen and wanted to remove all his troops from Yemen except for a training contingency and would reduce his forces as long as it was safe to do so. Spinelli also pointed to a great deal of evidence that the British were actively supporting the Royalists in Yemen in order to protect their position in Aden. (Ibid.)