158. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

265734. Armed Opposition to PRSY. Jidda 5799.2

As result your effective approach to Acting MinState for Foreign Affairs and our comments to Saqqaf in Washington (State 264410)3 SAG should now have gotten message we have serious reservations re efficacy any military effort against PRSY from Najran. Whether Saudis [Page 326] will be importantly influenced by our comments is of course another question but point has been made.
Concur your comment reftel that we not seeking tell SAG what to do but rather offering best friendly advice we can on basis our admittedly limited knowledge situation in PRSY hinterland. We do not think it appropriate for us propose what SAG should do. However, in light Mas’ud’s comments (para three reftel), we would see no objection in course your continuing contacts with senior Saudi officials on this subject to putting forward counter-thesis to use of force for consideration by SAG. Thought would be that more flies might be caught with honey than vinegar and that instead of wasting time, effort and money in probable vain attempt get rid PRSY regime, SAG might seek develop position from which it could influence PRSYG toward more reasonable course. Thus, SAG willingness continue curb exile cross-border military activity and seek ways establish some quiet contact with NLF regime, perhaps ultimately leading to financial assistance along lines which Kuwaitis have in past contemplated, would seem to us approach best calculated strengthen hand “moderate” NLF wing. We have no illusions that results such approach would be attainable overnight, but gradual improvement SAG/PRSY ties leading hopefully to some degree financial reliance on SAG would seem best calculated contribute regional stability and limit opportunities for development major Communist positions of influence in fledgling South Arabian state.4
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 23-9 S YEMEN. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Brewer on November 1 and approved by Davies. Repeated to Aden, London, and Kuwait.
  2. In telegram 5799 from Jidda, October 31, Eilts reported that he had called on the Acting Foreign Minister and given him in strict confidence the Embassy’s assessment of the current strength of the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen. He emphasized that the U.S. Government was not speaking in support of the PRSY regime, but believed that the Saudi Government would want to weigh carefully such first-hand information before deciding on any actions in South Arabia that could boomerang and exacerbate the existing instability of the region. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated October 31. (Ibid., POL 7 SAUD)
  4. In telegram 5874 from Jidda, November 6, Eilts reported that Saudi Foreign Minister Sayyid Omar Saqqaf had told him that King Faisal was displeased at U.S. “advice” against a Saudi military venture in Southern Yemen and had asked if the U.S. Government was now supporting Communist regimes in the Arabian peninsula. Eilts responded that he had conveyed the Embassy’s assessment of Southern Yemen’s current strength in an informative rather than advisory context and that the U.S. action was not intended to endorse the PRSY Government, its policies or objectives. (Ibid., POL 23-9 S YEMEN)