171. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen1

30762. Subj: US–PRSY Relations.

PRSY UN Perm Rep Nu’man,2 who currently in Washington as PRSYG observer at INTELSAT Conference, had frank but cordial talk with ARP Country Director Brewer February 26.
In analyzing causes existing coolness in USGPRSYG relations, Ambassador Nu’man claimed USG failure offer substantial aid at time of independence and subsequent seizure of American arms with clasped hands insignia3 in possession of anti-PRSYG dissidents had led Aden to “natural” conclusion that USG distrusts PRSYG. He speculated this due to close US relationship with Saudis whom Nu’man alleged, somewhat vaguely, had privately conveyed threats to overthrow NLF regime, claiming USG support. Nu’man asserted PRSYG desired good relations with USG and hoped USG would reciprocate.
Recalling history of USG attempts to develop good relations with PRSYG, Brewer underlined our feeling it was PRSYG which had not reciprocated. He reviewed our position re non-interference PRSY internal affairs, regretting publicity anti-USG charges (e.g. re arms) without first seeking our explanation. Brewer noted USG seeks maintain friendly relations with Saudi Arabia as well as PRSYG but we not responsible for foreign policy of either.
Nu’man reiterated SAG responsible poor state Saudi-PRSY contacts. Brewer demurred, noting SAG had good reasons be concerned over hostile attitude PRSYG leaders. President al-Shaabi’s February 11 speech laying claim on behalf of greater Yemen to Jizan and Najran hardly likely provide reassurance.4 We hoped neighborly relations [Page 544] could in due course be established. For our part, budgetary stringencies limited our ability assist PRSYG but this represented no political decision or reflection our attitude towards new government. On contrary, USG continues hope for good relations with PRSYG. We welcomed PRSYG representative’s call and hoped this forecast more frequent contacts.
Ambassador Nu’man now scheduled see Asst Sec Sisco afternoon March 3.5
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL SYEMEN–US. Confidential. Drafted by Brewer and Wrampelmeier and approved by Brewer. It was repeated to Jidda, Addis Ababa, London, and USUN.
  2. Isma’il Sa’id Nu’man.
  3. The “clasped hands” insignia was stamped on boxes of U.S. AID material.
  4. Telegram 128 from Aden, February 12, relayed President Qahtan al-Shaabi’s February 11 speech. Al-Shaabi blasted American imperialism, identified an ongoing U.S. Saudi-Iranian anti-PRSY campaign, pledged support for those who fought against Israel, and stated a desire for unity with North Yemen, including claims to Jizan and to Najran, Kuria, and Muria Islands (currently held by Saudi Arabia). (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 SYEMEN)
  5. Nu’man and Sisco’s discussion focused on domestic PRSY needs and future development. Nu’man stated that his discussion with Brewer covered the main bilateral problems. (Memorandum of conversation, March 3; ibid., POL US–YEMEN)